"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Peace On Earth For Believers Only?
I came across this fascinating snippet from Richard Carrier's excellent article on The Formation of the New Testament Canon:

"Scribal errors are also a problem little dealt-with by any church authority... Perhaps one of my favorite examples... is the famous King James line 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men' (Luke 2:14), which even still gets repeated in nativity plays, 'peace on earth, and good will toward men,' and is treated as an example of the ultimate moral nobility of Christianity. But not until recent times was it discovered that a scribe long ago had failed to record a single letter (a sigma, 's') at the end of this line. The Latin Vulgate Bible, translated late in the 4th century, copied from a correct edition and thus has also preserved the original meaning, which is now correctly reconstructed in more recent Bible translations: 'peace on earth toward men of goodwill,' which is not as noble--since it does not wish peace on anyone else--and it is perhaps even less noble still, since the same phrase more likely means 'peace on earth toward men [who enjoy God's] goodwill,' in other words peace only for those whom God likes. All from a single mistake of one letter. "
My experience from talking to Fundamentalists is most certainly that they treat "believers" differently from non-believers. The problem is deeper than mere prejudice, however. Fundamentalists exhibit a seemingly pathological disregard for evidence, facts and opinions which contradict their own pre-conceptions, as I've expored in previous posts...

Update: On this point, check out this fascinating article on The End of Christian Apologetics on freechristians.com.

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