Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A fully conservative translation of the Ten Commandments

Perhaps you have heard about the Conservative Bible Project. According to those involved in the project, "Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations." What is urgently needed is a translation of the Bible that accords with certain conservative principles, such as the following:
  • Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
  • Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
  • Express Free Market Parables: explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
  • Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."
Fortunately, the translation is coming along. In fact, I have been able to obtain a conservative translation of Exodus 20:1-17, wherein the Ten Commandments are set out. Here it is, without any liberal bias:
1 Then God spoke all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 You shall have no other gods before Me—except, perhaps, the Almighty Dollar, as the profit motive should alone govern the affairs of society.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth—except, of course, those which may be sold in stores for profit.
5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, which is completely above reproach according to Me, in spite of the fact that none of you can make any sense of this,
6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments, so that you may be more effectively manipulated into loving Me, in spite of the fact that such manipulation of you makes your love and worship of Me seem inappropriate, a fact which, like many facts about this here religion, is celebrated as being utterly inexplicable and something with which you can only deal at some risk to your psychological and emotional well-being;
7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain—except those who profess to love Me, such as those who call themselves fundamentalist Christians and conservatives.
8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy—except when a profit can be made by failing to keep it holy, which would thereby be holy, for no one in the land should be safe from manipulative marketing designed to undercut autonomous decision-making, such activity being useful to increase profits.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, with the goal of increasing profit only, either your own, or even better, that of the corporation that hired you and which can also switch you out at will like an interchangeable part,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you—except for profit, as I have already made abundantly clear.
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day, for He saw that, because of His awesomeness, six days was all he needed to do this thing, and thus no profit was to be had in a seventh day of work, whereas those of us who aren’t nearly as awesome would surely need more time; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy, but recognized the need for a seventh day of profit-taking for loathsome, purely self-interested but criminally inefficient human filth, the love of which the LORD yet so puzzlingly desires, but never mind that.
12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you—unless, of course, your father or mother are for some reason unworthy or undesirable, e.g., they are atheists, or Muslims, or lawbreakers, or democrats, or communists, or socialists, or liberals, or persons who dare not to share unthinkingly your opinion on any matter of religion or politics, or persons whose characters it would be politically expedient for you to assassinate.
13 You shall not murder—unless, of course, your target is a lawbreaker, or a Muslim, or someone unfortunate enough to be collateral damage in a pre-emptive war you have initiated, or an abortion-provider, or a person suspected of terrorism though not necessarily guilty of being a terrorist, as long as that terrorist or alleged terrorist is not himself a Christian, in which case nothing shall be done to impede, question, investigate, second-guess, punish, or emasculate him (emasculation being something we are especially concerned with here), he being absolutely above reproach.
14 You shall not commit adultery—unless you are a conservative Christian, in which case there must be extenuating or mitigating circumstances, which we can certainly work with.
15 You shall not steal—unless, of course, you have "discovered" that of which you take possession, e.g., a continent or its inhabitants who may be suitable for enslavement.
16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor—unless, of course, doing so helps you achieve your political goals, in which case you are free to say absolutely anything you like, so long as those goals are endorsed by those who call themselves conservative Christians.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor—unless, of course, you are stronger than the owner of what you covet, in which case it would be expedient and appropriate to use violence to obtain the thing in question, be it oil, or land, or what have you, so long as you call yourself a conservative Christian.
17.5 Bonus Commandment! You shall root out and eliminate liberal bias, wherever it may be, for a liberal rejects logical and biblical standards, often for self-centered reasons, and has no coherent liberal standards of his own, and craves attention, and uses many words to say nothing, and hopes to dumb down the scriptures and besmirch them with liberal wordiness, and refuses to use powerful new conservative terms as they develop, and does not recognize the full free-market meaning of certain parables in the scriptures, where “free” is understood to be compatible with deception and coercion, which often flourish with deregulation of the markets, which of course the LORD your God can certainly get behind, as it increases profits quite nicely.

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson