Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Infallible Bible Translations

Over on my YouTube Page, where I have posted a short infomercial for the Librosario Bibles, I received this question from XIPEO2:
Greetings, doctor Stan:
I liked your infomercial, but I rather prefer the DOUAY-RHEIMS Bible, taken from the vulgate. It seems more accurate to me. I´d appreciate your input. Pax et Bonum.

For some reason I can't post comments on my own YouTube page, so here's my answer to XIPEO2.

Dear XIPEO2: Is that your real name? Just wondering. I can't for the life of me figure out why everyone on the web is afraid to use their own name, or at least a pronounceable alias. Alas. Hmmm, about how one translation "seems more accurate to me."

I'm not the one to ask about what translation is more accurate. I know the rules many Bible scholars use to determine such things... remember I was raised as a Bible thumping, Sola Scriptura, Evangelical. But for all that I was taught about how translators did their work, the Evangelical theologians, who supposedly used such translator's efforts as a basis, sure did get some fundamental things wrong, and continue to this day to disagree with EACH OTHER.

Nonetheless, being in love with my own pontifications, here's what I do know (or think I do). First, none of the translations of the Bible any of us use, or any theologians have access to, in any language is infallible, and therefore, as some level inaccurate.

Now before you pull the HERESY ALARM recognize that the term infallibility applies to the original manuscripts, not to translations. A good (accurate) translation will reflect as accurately as possible the original, and there are many techniques available to scholars to determine VERY closely what the original read like. Bible scholars suggest that we truly do know, with 99+% accuracy what those originals said in the original language. But that knowledge is not perfect, and there is still a fair amount of debate on how many passages should be translated. The reasons are many, and some I discuss below.

Second, is this lovely tidbit. Translations are DIFFERENT from the originals by "virtue" of different culture, different time, different language, different translation method, different literary style decisions, and the different life experiences and knowledge of the translator and editors. WHOA! That is a lot of stuff.

As a result of this very significant "problem" with translations and their "accuracy" to the original, you have a host of different Bibles to choose from... even versions approved by the Church with an Imprimatur. And remember we're not just talking about a few different approved translations into English, or Latin. You also have to count the translations into hundreds of different languages for cultures all over the world -- and then there are Bibles for teens.

But just in English you have translations that are based on a different set of older translations. Some like the King James Version (KJV) were based on the Vulgate and not the more recent discoveries of older manuscripts. Also the KJV was translated so that it would sound good and lyrical when read aloud. Remember back in the 1600's most people could not read, and even if they could their income did not allow the ownership of Bibles which were expensive to produce, so "hearing" the word on Sunday was all they had. John Wesley and his Bible studies hadn't been invented yet. Then there are those translations that are based on the literal translations of words, or others on the phrases, or even longer language structures like sentences. Each striving for accuracy, but each different form the original in myriad of ways. Then you have versions that were "translated" as "paraphrases" so that they are EASY to understand (like Kenneth Taylor's
The Living Bible, the Good News for Modern Man, Peterson's The Message, or Walter Wangerin, Jr.'s attempt to make a novel out of the Bible with The Book of God.)

My preference for the Bible as literature is
The Jerusalem Bible. My choice for a Bible to hold in my hand and use daily for devotions is the Librosario Bibles from Fireside (New American Bible translation), not just because of the binding, but because it's the English translation approved for Mass by the bishops...I guess they should have a say in all this. Although, it should be noted, that the Catechism uses the RSV and the NEW RSV. (I guess there's a difference.) Many of my apologist friends use the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) as opposed to the RSV. (This is getting confusing.)

And finally, or THIRD I should say, there are copyright issues. Ah, yes, money rears its ugly head. Did you ever notice what translation the Gideon Bibles in most hotel rooms are? My guess is you've never heard of it. It's the
Berkley translation. The reason I was told by my long time Gideon father, was that the copyright was cheap. You see, in addition to printing costs, the Gideon organization has to pay the copyright owners their mechanical license for every copy printed. This isn't a matter of greed, it's a matter of paying the bills. Translators, editors, publishers, truck drivers, and bookstore owners have to eat, too.

But, to be fair, the Gideons were not just concerned with the cost of the Bibles they distributed. Doctrine was also an issue, at least doctrine as the various Board of Directors understood it. Consequently, as the board changed, so did the translations of the Bibles which the Gideon's purchased and distributed. They switched often. Originally there was the KJV, then the Berkley, then the NEW Berkley, then the NEW KJV, then the New International Version (NIV -- owned by Zondervan Publishing), each being accepted and then rejected for a variety of emphasis of doctrine issues. Whew! (I even read where if you were Catholic or Morman you can't be a Gideon.)

In the end of all this, when someone claims one version seems to be more accurate than the next, all I can assume is that God, in his soverginity uses all of these different Bibles to speak his Word to the particular person in their time, place, and culture. If having an infallible translation was important, God would have provided for it. Obviously, it wasn't. What was important to God seems to be an infallible Church. Because with all these Bibles, who knows what to believe.

Thank God.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Proposal 2 Lies

The Michigan ballot Proposal 2 (Nov 2008) that claims it will

...ensure that Michigan citizens have access to stem cell therapies and cures, and to ensure that physicians and researchers can conduct the MOST PROMISING FORMS of medical research in this state, and that all such research is CONDUCTED SAFELY AND ETHICALLY, any research permitted under federal law on human embryos may be conducted in Michigan, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:
This proposal lies in two ways (see HIGHLIGHTS):

a. The most promising forms of stem cell research involve ADULT stem cells. Such research is legal everywhere, and has produced over 100 beneficial therapies. This proposal, however, asks for the right to use EMBRYONIC stems cells, for which there are NO beneficial therapies, and it is considered by many, including the Catholic Church to be a moral eveil to kill a human being (an embyo) for any reason.

b. It's not safe or ethical (unless your evil) to kill human beings or unborn children.


Child Protective Services With Too Much Autonomy

I've been on the fringe of a Gestapo-styled Child Protective Services (CPS) case for the past year, and I've been told by someone who should know that my name is probably listed on a "Child Abuse" list somewhere. I've been advised to sue the state over it, if I can discover the list.

[An aside: Jon Stewart makes a good case for NOT calling people Hitler-like, or Gestapo-ish, or invoking Nazis in this very good piece. Hitler's References. But what does that leave us - "Marxist Tendencies?" I do think, as good a piece as Jon's is, that he's probably never seen police detectives or CPS workers harass citizens like I have, even to the point that a very good friend of mine felt the need to commit suicide last summer to escape the horror of seeing his livihood and family destroyed. I pray that his widow and kids see the authorities sued, put out of their jobs and hopefully put in prison for a spell, and be reimbursed financially for the wreckless abuse they suffered. When I see the incessive lies on court petitions put their by over zealous CPS investigators and prosecutors, and the autonomy they have to destroy families, and even indirectly cause of deaths of children and parents -- Gestapo-like and Nazi-like is appropriate. And the judges that sign these petitions are guilty, too.]

What concerns me more (than my name being on the SS's list) is the rampant abuse that CPS inflicts on families under the color of law, without a court hearing. And when there are hearings the judge usually only hears from the CPS workers, who's job appears to be the prosecution of easy marks—poor persons and the uneducated.

I am quickly coming to a point of hating how my country works because of the evil that is done in name of justice and protection. Good families are destroyed, and the unborn are killed. This morning I discovered I am far from being alone. There are thousands out there fighting CPS. Google "CPS ABUSE". Here are a few of the top links, which include frighting videos of Kidnapping by the government.

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

Over 100 links to CPS Abuse pages:

Kidjacked - check out the T-shirts

Reform CPS Now

Fight CPS (contains videos)

Fight CPS Packet Info

And these books:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eduardo Verastegui's Dura Realidad (Hard Truth)

Movie star Eduardo Verástegui has recorded a message in Spanish for Latinos about how they are being targeted for minimizing their numbers through abortion. This is the same argument I use about African Americans. Eduardo has a version of his message on YouTube without the gruesome abortion motion footage. If you have the guts and want to see a real abortion click on the title above.

The YouTube version has English Subtitles, the Dura Realidad site has no subtitles.

An article about the video is on the Catholic News Agency HERE.

The Bible Catholic

I read where the Synod of Bishops is meeting in October 2008 to discuss the Bible, and try to come up with some ideas on how to get more Catholics to read and study it. I've made some suggestions along this line before and received a bit of flack from some well meaning Catholics over it. One such post, which I also sent out as an e-blast to my Nineveh's Crossing list, was not appreciated by all -- although many loved the idea. The objections I received back from my OPEN YOUR BIBLES PLEASE post were amazing. Not one objection made any real sense, nor did the objections agree with any teaching of the Church. Some of the objections were from minor Catholic leaders and one from a nun. At some point I knew I had to answer these objections, which in my mind were right from the heart of Satan --- he would hate to see more Catholics reading their Bibles.

So, when I heard about this Synod I decided I was arrogant enough to write a white paper, and share the many successful ideas for inculcating Bible use in Evangelicalism.

If you know how to get this paper to the Bishops, please do. I'm trying to go through some contacts and the Archdiocese of Detroit, but who knows if anything but going to the Vatican next month and leafleting the Bishops' mopeds will work.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Roland S. Martin's Shameful Action

I will be the first white person to cast a vote for an African American politician who supports their race and doesn't try to kill it off.

Roland S. Martin, the black, Christian CNN communist is voting for Obama. Or so says the introductory note to his on-line CNN column. See it HERE.

In the article referenced he calls it shameful that Christian bookstores in the South are moving off the shelf the recent edition of GospelToday magazine because it features an article about women pastors.

Roland, how can you call that shameful when you support a political policy that kills black babies in the tens of thousands, by "virtue" of your vote for Obama? You are the one engaging in a shameful action.

It is amazing to me, as I've stated many times before, that American blacks would vote for any candidate for any elected office that supports a policy that supports the genocide of their race, especially when race has been and continues to be such a big factor in society. Abortion and contraception are slowly eliminating blacks in America. Abortion kills more black life than anything else, and more than any other ethnic segment. Yet blacks want to vote for Obama, who is one of the most prolific supporters of abortion on the political landscape, and thanks Planned Parenthood "for all you do for our communities" (like helping us kill our babies).

See http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/06/billboard_will.html

See http://www.blackgenocide.org/
From this last website comes this:

Although black women constitute only 6% of the population, they comprise 36% of the abortion industry’s clientele. The leading abortion providers have chosen to exploit blacks by locating 94% of their abortuaries in urban neighborhoods with high black populations.
This high rate of abortion has decimated the black family and destroyed black neighborhoods to the detriment of society at large.

Between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 Blacks were lynched in the U.S. That number is surpassed in less than 3 days by abortion.

1,452 African-American children are killed each day by the heinous act of abortion.

What that can only mean is that blacks for Obama are voting primary for reasons of race. Now that makes perfect sense to me, and I think they should, except that his policies support the killing of Americans, and significantly black Americans. How can I fight for the rights of African Americans, when they support policies that decimate their race?

Roland Martin's support of Obama is also stupefying because Roland claims to be a Christian. Am I some kind of nut that believes that supporting a policy that allows parents to murder children is not something a Christian can support and still be called a Christian? As a conscious, informed position, supporting abortion and calling yourself a Christian is indefensible. Roland Martin, if this is what he supports, because he is supporting Obama, is not a Christian. He is a liar and a hypocrite. And so is Obama, who also, laughably calls himself a Christian.

Race should not be an issue. But blacks who vote in favor of killing off their race by voting for politicians who support abortion, are voting purely on race, and little else. As one black woman (who also claims to be a Christian) wrote to me, "I trust Obama implicitly." In other words, I'm voting purely here on race... or else, I just love to see my race lose votes, lose influence and lose it's life.

Please send Roland an email and challenge him at this address: roland@rolandsmartin.com

I wrote Roland the following.


I was surprised to read you're voting for Obama.

Now, as a black man, that makes sense, if everything else was morally equal. I look forward to the day when we have a black president.

But there are two issues about abortion that I can't understand why a black Christian would vote for Obama.

a. Abortion was conceived, along with Planned Parenthood and the contraception pill, to slowly eliminate "weeds" as Margaret Sanger called African Americans, from society. Abortion and contraception continue to keep the black population at bay. By a huge margin more black babies are killed through abortion than any other segment of American society. So, a vote for Obama marginalizes and minimizes the black population. It's called by some blacks the Black Genocide.

b. As a Christian, life is more important than any other political issue, because all the other policy-issues require a LIFE to benefit. Without life nothing else matters. So, how can you, as supposedly a Christian, vote for a candidate who supports murder?

These are two issues that totally befuddle me. Except they can only be explained that you're voting for Obama for one primary reason. He is black.

Is that true? Is the color of your skin what determines your values? Or is it Christian teaching?

Stan Williams

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Catholic Vote Video by Grassroots Prompts Criticism

I just watched the Catholic Vote video that Grassroots did (CLICK ON PICTURE). I know Joe Campo and the guys in Brooklyn, and respect them a lot. I'm not sure who was behind the script for this Catholic Vote video, but I just sent off a pretty dissatisfied email to Joe. The video builds and builds and builds and ends on "Vote your Conscience."


It might as well say "Vote your own truth." "Vote Moral Relativism."

"Vote your conscience" is an oft used comment that relates to the significant section in the catechism on Human Dignity, particularly sections 1776-1802. But the problem, at least in the U.S., is not a conscience that is properly formed, but a "will" that is mistakenly taken for conscience. A properly formed conscience is only the first half of the trick. The second half is discerning between what you want, and what the church teaches. Your conscience should be driven by what the church teaches, not by what you want.

Too many Catholics falsely claim they are following their conscience when they vote for a pro-abortion candidate, claiming there are other issues. But our church leaders, as well as simple logic, explain that without LIFE none of the other issues matter. Therefore, stopping abortion becomes the most important issue. The Catechism has this to say about such erroneous judgment: "A mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, [and] rejection of the Church's authority and her teaching...can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct." (CCC 1792)

I think the video should have ended with a call to correctly form your moral conscience around what the church teaches. By simply ending with "Vote Your Conscience" nothing is challenged. And in today's politically equivocal climate for too many Catholics, the term "conscience" means the same thing as "whatever you want."

But, yes, Grassroots does a terrific job, and the video otherwise is great.

That is the problem with many "Catholics" in America. They want to believe whatever they want. They want to hold up their presumed conscience as truth. Sorry. God may judge you on your "true" conscience, but I'm willing to bet that what too many Catholics (and Christians) say their voting their conscience when in fact it's a poor rationalization to vote for a political agenda and toss truth to the wind.

Indeed LIFE is in the balance, and you can be sure that if Obama is elected more blacks than ever before will be killed in the abortion mills of this country. Go figure! Why would an African American run on a pro abortion ticket? More black babies have been killed in America over the past 20 years than any other race -- just as the founders of Planned Parenthood had planned. And Obama is willing to say "That's alright!" And he's willing to "THANK" Planned Parenthood for "all you do for our community."

And then, Catholic Vote comes out and says "Vote your Conscience."


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catholicism, Other Dimensions, & the LHC

Who hasn't found interest in such science "fiction" things like other dimensions, black homes, time-travel, and worm holes? As a kid science was right up there with my interested in spiritual things. Little did I realize then, as I do now, that the spiritual realm and the realm of physics probably have a lot in common. That science and Christianity are opposed to each other has never made much sense to me. We know so little about science and physical natural laws, and the spiritual realm has always seemed to me to one in the same, with its mystery and attempt to explain why and what we're all about. I guess centuries ago Philosophy include Physical Science. Rightfully so.

When I became Catholic I saw the Mass in such terms as the other dimensions of the universe which we cannot perceive. Such other dimensions, in which God "frolics" on a "daily" basis, explain the miracles of the Bible, and why Christ could walk through walls. It's not science fiction, it's very easy to contemplate if you just allow for one more dimension of space. The Christian concept of eternity, in fact, is very much a part of the other dimensions of space and time that cosmology has always been about.

Some of this came to me in an essay I wrote, which was published in England some years ago. A later illustrated version is here: MASS DIMENSIONS.

I don't think many people took my speculative theology very serious (in that essay), but they might now -- with the latest attempts of natural science to look for those other dimensions in CERN's Large Hadron Colllider experiment firing up this month.

If you want to know more about it all, thank YouTube and the Internet. Here are some linksthat will help you understand CERN (The European Center of Nuclear Research, who invented the Internet in 1970 in order to share data, and now has "invented" the GRID), LHC, ATLAS (which is one of the experiments at LHC), and the wonderfully entertaining and educational LHC Rap from science writer and Michigan State University science/journalism graduate Kate McAlpine.

Space-time, other dimensions, string theory, Higgs particles, worm-holes, time travel -- hey it's just the beginning of bringing science and Christianity together once again.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Open Your Bibles...Please

I am proposing a change to the Mass, specifically the Liturgy of the Word. This is related to my series on the Best Practices of Faith Formation. If Catholic leaders are serious about teaching people to read their Bible, then a little obvious role modeling is in order. In fact, I think this change can be implemented without Vatican approval. But I'm serious about mounting a PR campaign to Pope Benedict to this end. If you agree, let me know, and I'll get a petition or whatever such things require. Here's what I suggest... it's what most Evangelical Churches do, and it does get people to read their Bibles... or in Catholic cases BUY them in the first place.

I suggest that whenever the lector or priest gets up to read Scripture they begin this way:
Lector: A reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Open your Bibles, please -- to the book of Acts, chapter 25. (pause) We will be reading from verses 13 through 21. That's Acts 25 verses 13-21. (pause while people turn to that in their Bibles...then read.)

Now, I know, what most of you are going to say, "Duh, that's dumb, Stan. Catholics don't carry Bibles to Mass." And when I ask why not? You'll tell me, "Because there's no room for the fork-lift trucks to carry their Family Bibles to the pews." Or, you'll say, "They don't have companion Bibles they can carry." Well, folks, those are sorry excuses, and NO WONDER CATHOLICS DON'T READ THEIR BIBLES and many Protestants do. So, what are priests and lectors, and bishops going to do about it? They can start with these simple words during the Mass whenever Scripture is read (even in the middle of a homily.) "Open Your Bibles, Please....and if you don't have one, Stan will be in the lobby afterwards to sell you one."

...or go to his website and buy one: Here's the link: Nineveh's Crossing Bible Page. There's even a YouTube video linked at that website that we shot to promote these great Bible editions.