The Belief Blog on CNN.com had a posting recently by someone who talked about how “dirty” Jesus was (apparently he’s written a book about this). The main point of the article was that Jesus lived like a person and gave a couple of examples:
He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.
To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.
What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.
The author then goes on to say:
…the Jesus of the Bible was more human than most people are conditioned to think.
I call this the dirty side of Jesus. He was grittier, and a lot more like us than maybe we believe, and that’s one of the reasons why so many thousands of people followed him so quickly.
They could relate to him.
I have no idea if Jesus had to go to the bathroom or if He ended up with diarhea. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that however He lived His life, he understands me. He somehow knows what I am going through. He feels my pain and knows how to relieve it. He can relate to me. I don’t know if I can relate to Him (His perfection, His knowledge), but I want to. I want to learn more about Him. I want to be more like Him.
The author closes with this:
He was the God who became dirty so that the world’s souls might be made clean.
A very nice thought!
I’m not sure where I first heard about this, but it’s cute. I guess it seemed funny to me since Mormons seem to focus so much on the length of hair of our young men:
A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said to him “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study your bible a little and get your hair cut, then we will talk about it”
A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said “Son, I’m real proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you’ve studied your bible diligently, but you didn’t get hair cut!”
The young man waited a moment and replied “You know dad, I’ve been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair and even Jesus had long hair.”
His father replied “Yes, son, and they walked everywhere they went!”
This fascinating chart I read about at FactoDesign shows contradictions between verses in the Bible. It is from Project Reason (“a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society”). The red lines are drawn between the verses that contradict each other.
My favourite part of the article I linked to is this line, “So to anyone who thinks the Bible’s the last word on anything, remember this: It isn’t even the last word on itself.”
I suppose that the source of the chart would make you think that they are trying to discredit the Bible. However, we Mormons might have a different view than most. We’ve always accepted the fact that the Bible is not perfect. After all, We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. So seeing something like this doesn’t bother me at all.
A few other thoughts/questions:
- It would be interesting to see the chart without links between the Old and New Testament (separating the old and new laws)
- Can the contradictions be ranked or categorized? A contradiction of an age by a few years, or a location by the next city over doesn’t seem like much of a contradiction.
- Do all the contradictions exist in all the “standard” (or popular) version of the Bible?
- It’d be neat to see this done for the Book of Mormon as well. Does it “hold up” better?
Ultimately, does this really matter at all? Sure, it is interesting to look at and think about, but does it really affect anyone’s faith or how they perceive the Bible? I suspect not. If you believe the Bible, you’ll still believe the Bible. If you don’t, then you still won’t.
Along with the announcement of the new Spanish version of the Bible, there is a new sub-domain. Visiting SantaBiblia.LDS.org takes you to a very nice section of the LDS.org web site that has a preview and explanations of the new features.
I’ve added this to the Official web sites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints page.