Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The 'Christian Academic' view is fatally stupid

In our last post here :Part II: The Modern Academic Position Examined, we saw that modern secular academics stubbornly cling to an unrealistic position, and ply their trade upon the NT with inadequate tools, in an obviously biased fashion. Like king Agrippa, they imagine they are still living in a pagan Roman world, and sit in judgment upon Paul and the Apostles, as if the Advent of Christianity never happened, and it can be safely ignored.

Now we wish to examine the "Christian Academic" position, a hopeless compromise, offering a watered-down gelded gospel of no potency to the world, a poison that drains faith and hope from its hearers. Its a sad case of co-dependency upon secular academia, a shameful addiction to what can only be called 'academic alcoholism'. Like the real alcoholic, Christian Academics constantly seek to proselytize others, drawing them into their weak-ass nonsense, a kind of agnostic purgatory.

Here we briefly recount from our first post on this,
the Christian Academic Compromise
(CAC - its the sound a cat makes when coughing out a disgusting furball):
(1) No important Christian doctrine is affected.

(2) The edited text is as good as the traditional text for salvation etc.

(3) The critical text is sufficient for all religious and doctrinal matters.

(4) The critical text is closer to the original autographs.

(5) Adopting the critical text makes no difference, for practical purposes.

The first thing to observe, is that all five points would simply be a truism for Christians, if only the critical Greek text we were talking about was the Traditional Text used by Christians for the last 1,500 years.

But of course its not. The critical text is a drastically truncated, mutilated text created by academics, using a crude bag of tools designed for and meant to apply to ordinary (secular) works. The approach resulted in what teens today call an "Epic Fail".

We'll get into why secular tools in the 19th century were ludicrously inadequate later. For now we want to focus on the planks in the Christian Academic Compromise (CAC) itself.

(1) No important Christian doctrine is affected...

Where did this absurd notion come from? It comes from the 'Father' of NT Criticism. To quote mr. Scrivener on TC-Alt-list:
"I have mentioned previously the famous 'bet' in which a 19th century
critic [Bentley, 1720] suggested that even if you took the worst possible text, all
the most extreme variants (within sensible reason... e.g., not
counting blank MSS) no fundamental Christian doctrine would be affected.

This bet appeared to have actually been taken up literally by
Westcott/SHort, who produced the world's shortest NT.

This was followed by a century of apologetic nonsense attempting to
prove that the NT text wasn't degraded, degenerated, corrupted by
following the new cropped Greek text."
(scrivener, TC-Alt-List, Yahoo Groups, Msg# 2428, Jan 21, 2009)

Mr. Scrivener actually quotes me, in an even earlier, and more informative post:
"It would be wrong to call these clownish attempts to 'dethrone' the traditional text the acts of 'enemies of the Gospel'. These men are actually better called 'pests of the Gospel'. How is it that their attacks, in spite of such enthusiasm, are so lame?

As Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers comedy would say,
"Mr. Editor, you are merely the 'diet-coke' of evil."

The answer is surprisingly more lame than could have been guessed. The critics are operating under self-contradictory impulses and restraints.

On the one hand, they are determined to remove every possible verse, phrase, or word that a scribe or early editor has inadvertantly or imprudently dropped in the history of copying. On the other, they are determined to *only* use 'legitimate' textual (manuscript) 'evidence' to mutilate the Holy Scriptures. What kind of evil genius ties his own shoes together before falling on his face on his way out of the starting gate?

Bentley's Wager!

The answer is here, in the 'Great Blueprint', the secret agenda of all the textual critics and editors of the Greek N.T.: Bentley's Wager:
'The oft-repeated dictum of Bentley is still valid that "the real text of the sacred writings is competently exact, nor is one article of faith or moral precept either perverted or lost, choose as awkwardly as you will, choose the worst by design, out of the whole lump of readings." '
(UBS text Intro.)

Here we can now see exactly what happened in the mind of Hort and his followers: They set out to actually PROVE that Bentley was right.

And the result is exactly as predicted: They produced a ludicrously inferior NT by choosing the worst readings by design, and have yet shown that even this monstrosity is only marginally heretical and just as vague from a doctrinally simplistic point of view as the Textus Receptus.

And how could it be otherwise? The errors at least, if not the deliberate mutilations, were hardly systematic.

For this incredible accomplishment we can now thank them. Yes even the worst manuscripts are not so substandard that they couldn't be usable on a desert island somewhere to save souls.

But can we please now go back to the traditional text? The point has now been beaten to death. We willingly concede that even the 'vile Codex Vaticanus' can be used to preach a limited form of Gospel, at least in Egypt, or if necessary, it can even be used to get a fire going literally."

( - Nazaroo, PA website article, quoted in Msg # 337, Sept 27 2006)

But why is Bentley's Wager actually wrong?

(1) Bentley's infamous claim was actually a sad and desperate act. It was meant to stave off a whole new round of witchhunts and Inquisition-like dramas. Academics were subjected to prosecution, job loss or worse, for voicing any dissent regarding current Christian views or doctrine in the early 18th century. While he had some good intentions, the proposal was doomed to failure for its ethical compromise, in the same way that Dietrich Bonhoeffer's attempted assassination of Hitler involved a catastrophic failure of ethics. Dishonest compromise cannot be fruitful in the long run.

(2) Secondly, the claim was methodologically fatally flawed. On its face, it is a fundamental claim about the quality of the "worst manuscript", one which was untested, unknown, and blatantly false from what was already known. Of course there were badly flawed copies of the NT books. Of course some copies, like Marcion's were significantly altered theologically. It is utterly foolish to think that the worst possible text one could construct out of existing materials will still be an adequate Gospel text. How patently absurd.

(3) One important doctrine, namely the reliability of the New Testament itself as an accurate message from God is viciously undermined, and so is the authority of the Bible as the revealed word of God. "one article of faith or moral precept is either perverted or lost", namely the doctrine of Divine Preservation of the Scriptures as we actually have them.

To pretend that such a stupid methodology could still result in an adequate text that could inspire any confidence in its contents is an immoral, dishonest farce.

It only remains to be shown whether the current critical Greek NT texts are significantly corrupt, and to all intents and purposes inadvertant fulfillments of Bentley's Wager.

Such a demonstration will in no way affect the quality of the Traditional Text, or the doctrine of Divine Inspiration and Preservation which is claimed for it. What academics print and publish is their own business, and only becomes the problem of Christians, when we naively buy into their weak nonsense, by adopting inferior versions of our own religious documents.

It goes without saying that since the very first plank #(1) of the Christian Academic Compromise (CAC) is an "Epic Fail", the other four planks collapse like the precariously posed house of cards that they are.


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