Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The NIV as a servant of Protestant theology

The "New International Version" translation of the Bible has been very widely adopted in Protestant circles but its claim to be a faithful rendering of the original texts is hollow. I am not alone in seeing it as the servant of Protestant theology, as the examples here show --but I thought it might be useful to add a couple of other examples which I regard as rather gross and which may be a bit clearer than the examples given in the link above.

In Genesis 2:4 the KJV refers to "the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens". That is of course a bit inconvenient -- did creation take one day or seven days? -- so my 1978 edition of the NIV simply replaces "the day that" with "when". That is a perfectly reasonable theological interpretation of the original text but it is not what the original text actually says. The Hebrew word concerned means simply "in the day". See here.

And the revised NIV issued last year seems to be even worse than my original 1978 edition. As soon as I heard that it featured "inclusive" language I resolved not to buy it. When political correctness steamrollers what the Bible writers actually wrote, we know we are in the Devil's hands. If they cannot translate pronouns accurately, what hope is there for accuracy in more difficult passages?

As it happens, however, a reader has sent me an excerpt, apparently from the new edition, which renders 1 Corinthians 20, 21 as:

"So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk".

But the word "private" is a complete interpolation that is not even in the 1978 NIV edition. There is no such word in the original Greek -- only the word "idion" (own). The point of the interpolation is an attempt to undermine the meaning of verse 20, which rather clearly denies that the communal meals of the early Christians constituted a celebration of the Lord's Supper -- as I pointed out on 17th..

So the NIV is thoroughly polluted. It is a work of theology as much as a translation and should be avoided by anyone interested in what the Bible writers actually said.

But not everybody can go back to the original languages so what translation do I recommend? Perverse as it undoubtedly seems, I use the original KJV version from the year 1611. It is actually a pretty literal translation. I think that they had more respect for what the Bible actually said back then.

The recensions of the original texts that they had back then -- such as "Stephanus" -- were undoubtedly inferior to modern recensions such as Nestle but all recensions are around 99% identical anyway. I wish I could say the same for translations.


If This Is Recovery, Who Needs Recession?

President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats meeting in Charlotte for their national convention danced around the answer to the question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

If they were dancing Friday, it was probably to a dirge.

Economists had been expecting 125,000 new jobs in the August jobs report. Friday’s report showed only 96,000 jobs created in August and an unemployment rate that dropped to 8.1 percent. But the real unemployment rate is in the double digits, because people are not included in the jobs stats if they’ve become so frustrated at failing to find a job they’ve stopped looking.

“The most important answer to the ‘better off’ question is this: Americans on the whole are better off than they would have been without the stimulus. But (yes, there’s always a but) many are worse off than they were four years ago, and that means more work needs to be done,” writes the editorial board of Bloomberg News in an editorial headlined, “Are You Better Off? There’s No Easy Answer.”

This, Dear Reader, is in an editorial defending the president’s record. It’s the meme adopted by Obama and his apologists.

Many of us can remember the 1970s economy and its recessions, Arab oil embargoes, and “stagflation”—a combination of economic stagnation and rapid price inflation. By the time of the 1980 presidential campaign between incumbent Jimmy Carter and challenger Ronald Reagan, the nation had double-digit interest and inflation rates and unemployment rates between 7.5 and 8 percent. This compares to the 7.8 percent rate in 2009, when Obama took office, and inflation rates of about 2 percent and interest rates that have been at or near record lows throughout his presidency.

Reagan won that election and took office early in 1981. The federal budget in 1981 was cut nearly 5 percent, the first of several cuts in tax rates occurred, and deregulation begun late in the Carter presidency continued. By November 1982 a strong recovery was underway.

Inflation, unemployment, and interest rates all fell to the single digits during Reagan’s reign. Real per-capita disposable income grew 18 percent from 1982 to 1989.

Contrast those results with the Obama regime’s record of more spending and regulation, calls for higher taxes on high-income earners, and new taxes in the Obamacare law:

* Median family income down approximately $4,000 and per-capita disposable income down from $33,229 during the 2008 campaign year to $32,677 in 2011. There was no growth in per-capita income during the first half of 2012, leaving it just $511 higher than the $32,166 when the so-called recovery began in 2009, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

* Nearly 12 million more people on food stamps.

* 43 months with official unemployment above 8 percent, the longest streak with such high unemployment since the Great Depression.

* More than 800,000 people added to the ranks of long-term unemployed since the start of the “recovery” in 2009.

This is not to suggest Reagan (and the Congresses he worked with) did everything right, or that government can start and stop an economy like a machine. The national economy is made up of hundreds of millions of persons making billions of decisions and interacting with billions of others around the world. People don’t necessarily act the way governments want or expect.

But experience shows lower taxes and less regulation make for happier people and better economic performance. For you anti-Reagan scoffers, remember the Kennedy tax cuts that helped boost the economy in the 1960s.

Sharp tax increases loom beginning January 1 if Congress allows the tax cuts of the early 2000s to expire. Financial and health care industry laws passed during the Obama presidency cover thousands of pages each, with thousands more pages of regulations to be written. The national debt has virtually tripled in the last 10 years. And whether we go with the Romney-Ryan budget projections or the Obama-Biden projections, trillions more dollars of debt will be added.

People have good reason to feel pessimistic—and very good reason to doubt more spending, regulation, and “monetary stimulus” will make things better.



Obama leaves the rule of law in tatters

If he's reelected, the 2,000-year-old ideal will be pushed beyond the tipping point.

Whether you are 21 or 81, or whether you work on the factory floor or in the front office, you know something is fundamentally wrong with our great country. Today, we live in a society where uncertainty and economic stagnation are off the charts, causing financial pain for just about everyone. How did we descend to such depths? What can we do to right this great ship called America?

Don’t look for answers in the latest poll, but in the Obama administration's relentless attack on this country's DNA: the rule of law. Before Election Day, we need to know why a Obama second term will be the tipping point for the rule of law, and why its destruction will take your wallet and personal freedom down with it.

The rule of law, which is the cornerstone of our Constitution, has over 2,000 years of history behind it. This cherished ideal stands for the proposition that a free and prosperous society must be based on “a government of laws and not men.” Instead of nurturing this time-tested ideal, President Obama has acted as if the rule of law is an impediment to be dispensed with at will.

Since this nation’s founding, the formal rule of law ideal in the U.S. means that laws are supreme and apply both to the rulers and the ruled. As a safeguard to protect the ideal, all laws and lawmakers should meet constitutional safeguards at a minimum. To prevent politicians from picking winners and losers, laws should have the stabilizing attributes of “generality,” “certainty” and “equality of application.”

What most people do not know is that Barack Obama learned how to undermine the traditional rule of law ideal at Harvard. His march to undermine the rule of law – which has brought with it the uncertainty and stagnation we now take for granted in our personal or business decisions – has been on full display for the last four years. If he’s reelected, it will only get worse.

Obamacare is a glaring example. This law makes end runs around the rule of law with draconian cradle-to-grave domination and increased costs and taxes built on a class-warfare foundation. The adminstration's virtual takeover of the auto industry, which arbitrarily pushed aside its bondholders in favor of the United Auto Workers, adds to the narrative of a government that mocks the laws of bankruptcy. And think of the presidential fiat that deep-sixed the Keystone XL pipeline, resulting in potentially thousands of lost jobs. Think also of Obama’s National Labor Relations Board that arbitrarily blocked Boeing from building a plant in South Carolina, a “right to work” state. Also, Obama simply ignored federal immigration law when he used executive authority in June to defer deportation of up to 1.7 million young illegal immigrants, effectively passing the DREAM Act, which had failed in Congress.

Without question, your wallet will lose in an Obama second term. Our national debt is now over $16 trillion and climbing. The confiscatory taxation that goes along with picking winners and losers in a rule-of-law-challenged welfare state will surely grind our country’s economy to a near halt before 2016. As MIT researchers have found, based on a panel of over 80 countries, this is the prescription for becoming a second-class nation. On government policies, MIT’s research proves that Obama could not be more wrong. Contrary to Obama’s view, the MIT data concluded that “Better maintenance of the rule of law … and less government spending and the associated taxation … are key determinants of economic growth.”

The Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom study unequivocally confirms the MIT findings. As Heritage tells us, “the “rule of law” and “limited government” are key components of economic growth and prosperity.

Finally, we can only conclude that America's seemingly unsolvable problems – skyrocketing debt, high unemployment, tax class-warfare, and a pitiful housing market – have either been caused or exacerbated by Obama's disregard for the rule of law. When Obama no longer has to worry about reelection, things will only get worse in a second term.

If voters choose to once again make this country a “government of laws” over the cult of personality, all is not lost. Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan showed us that limited government based on rule of law principles can make a sick economy thrive again.



How republics fall

The Fourth Estate’s degrading hero worship trivializes an election

The weird ecstasy of the media-political complex at the convention in Charlotte last month was the first sign that its attachment to President Obama, always fawning, had become morbid.

In spite of the anemic economy and a real unemployment rate above 11 percent, the high priests of pontificating liberalism were giddy with euphoria. The Democrats “put on a nearly flawless convention,” Paul Begala opined, and it was soon all but incontrovertibly established that, come November, the president — beautiful, magical, and lovable as he was — would vanquish his boring opponent.

The media savants sympathized with the delirium of Charlotte because they worship at the same altar and feed at the same trough. Two and a half centuries ago Edmund Burke said the reporters’ gallery in Parliament was an estate “more important far than” the other three put together. Today America’s Fourth Estate is not merely predisposed, as it has been for generations, to favor a particular political party: It is deeply engaged in the hero worship of a particular political leader.

The closeness of mainstream journalists to President Obama has debauched their integrity. Some of them give the White House veto authority over their stories. Others look to be rewarded with plum jobs or stimulus-funded ads. This abasement before power presages a return to a time when political writers, among them Swift and Defoe, were the professed protégés of statesmen and relied on Whig or Tory patronage for their bread; it also leaves the country vulnerable to the distortions of ostensibly neutral journalists who are too fervently committed to the leader to tell the truth about him.

Obama worship, once the quaint foible of Grub Street liberalism, has become its opium, perhaps its bath salts. The unhinged quality of its analysis was painfully evident during the interval of bounce-talk that followed Charlotte. When, after days of media cheerleading, Obama rose modestly in the polls, the acolytes instantly sounded the death knell for Romney. The election was all but over, the princes of palaver declared. Time’s Mark Halperin spoke of the Romney campaign’s “death stench,” and MSNBC’s Steve Benan said that the president was now “exactly where he wants to be.”

Would a less prejudiced observer claim that the president was exactly where he wanted to be in early September, with a credit downgrade looming, a miserable jobs report on the wires, and a strike by Chicago schoolteachers trash-talking the generous, even lavish deal they had been offered, the kind of deluxe package that induced liberal Wisconsin to rise in revolt against public-sector irresponsibility?

Then came Cairo and, still more terribly, Benghazi. The “Gang of 500,” as Halperin styles the bigwigs with whom he shares the liberal soapbox, was duly outraged . . . by Mitt Romney. The Republican nominee had the lèse-majesté to criticize Obama’s foreign policy.

The president’s own statement on Benghazi, which he delivered in the Rose Garden before departing for a campaign event in Las Vegas, went largely unscrutinized by the media gang: “Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.”

The president’s air of certainty contrasted sharply with the reticence of his underlings. The State Department has consistently said it does not know what happened to Ambassador Stevens that night, and grim photographs cast doubt on the notion that he had been innocently conveyed from the bloody scene.

The Beltway clerisy failed to ask the obvious question: Was the president’s version of his emissary’s death a self-serving attempt to salvage a failing foreign policy? Three years ago Obama went to Cairo “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” Should we learn that the men in the Benghazi photographs were not good Samaritans generously carrying an American to safety but thugs snapping trophy pictures of a Yankee infidel, Obama’s “new beginning,” if it came at all, will not have made much of a difference. The “new” Middle East in which American diplomats are abused and murdered and black flags fly over American embassies may prove to look a lot like the Old Middle East.

Which raises another question: If the administration’s Islamic policy has failed to pacify Islam and “make us safer,” why didn’t the president act forcefully in the months preceding the tragedy to protect American diplomats? Yet other than the British Independent and Matt Drudge, no big journalistic enterprise pressed for an explanation. Rather than probe the most devastating assault on the diplomatic corps since 1979, the media-political complex blithely turned its collective attention to happier matters, among them the president’s rising poll numbers in the swing states.

Like the decadents of France’s ancien régime, the liberal literati of mainstream journalism are convinced that the party will go on forever. Islamic zealots can be talked out of making nuclear bombs; stagnant growth and high unemployment can be counteracted with a Caesarian policy of bread and shows, free food and even free cell phones; a moribund economy can be propped up with the saline drip of Ben Bernanke’s liquidity transfusions.

As detached from reality as Marie Antoinette milking cows with Sèvres buckets, liberal journalists fail to grapple in any serious way with the “crisis of liberalism” at home and abroad, preferring instead to compose billets-doux to Barack praising his basketball prowess and panegyrics on Michelle’s dexterity as a horticulturalist....



My identity: jonjayray. I have deleted my old Facebook page as I rarely accessed it. For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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