When there’s an error or typo in a book you fix it and release a new edition. You rewrite the narrative and ensure that the error is amended. And just like any book the Bible is no exception to the rule.
For instance the King James Bible which is the most recent version of the Bible was first printed in 1611 in an effort for to reform the church by King James I in order to appease the Puritans and Calvinists. It was amended to suit a particular narrative.
Last week the narrative for the Catholic Church was tweaked ever so slightly when the Pope announced his position on same sex marriages. In the documentary film ‘Francesco’ he stated, “these are children of God, they have the right to a family”.
The statement comes after centuries of ridicule and exclusion that the Catholic Church has shown towards gay people and their rights to marriage, raising families and above all being homosexual.
Of course, the comment was an endorsement of civil unions and not of marriage in a church, however, the move has shown that a narrative such as the Bible and its teachings can be rewritten to include everyone regardless of race, gender and sexuality. After all we were fashioned in His (God) image, right?
What we forget is that The Bible- specifically the New Testament, was put together by a group of men (as they were the dominant sex , again demonstrating the writing of a sexist narrative to suit those in power, but that’s another argument for another time) and officially indoctrinated and used by the Church in 393 A.D at the council of Hippo .
This group of specially selected men chose the writings that formed a particular story that suited their agenda and their purpose. To add to this the bulk narrative of the bible encompasses a number of books that form the New Testament most of which were written decades after Christ’s death. The first gospel of Mark was written forty years after the death of Christ.
The only writings that were first-hand accounts- to an extent, were the Letters of Paul (the apostle).
Naturally, like every book there was some heavy editing and omitting of certain storylines. These stories that told of all the remarkable miracles and the life of Christ were not eyewitness accounts. So, if you think about it, some stories were passed down as ‘oral traditions’ and like all stories that are told over and over again their narrative diverges from the original – like Chinese whispers.
The handbook of Christianity (The Bible) has been fashioned through hearsay that eventually got written into books, and with that the moral codes on which most Christians pillar themselves on can be seen as mere guides and not rules to model oneself on. And so, if Christians have always been told to ‘love thy neighbour’, does that not mean respect those around you -even if they are gay?
Throughout the centuries Bible has had a few amendments to suit the position of the Church and their power play in politics and control of society. And like every business amends their handbook, the Church had to amend theirs- after all the last amendment was 1611 A.D.
In the 21st century, the Pope has seemed to move with the modern world. What should have been acceptable by society for hundreds of centuries, has now been accepted- to an extent, when the Pope made his statement in approving civil unions between gay people. Yes, it’s a long way from being recognised as a marriage under the Church, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Given the history of the Bible and the fact that it has been created and used by the church to narrate their own story in Christianity’s rise to popularity and its power play within politics, it’s fair to say that the foundations of the religion and it’s fundamental teachings have been moulded to a particular narrative spun to serve the purpose of a few- the Church.
This is not to say that people shouldn’t believe in the Church or God, but how much blind faith can one invest in a religion with ‘moral codes ‘that exclude minorities and has edited its own story several times?
Today with the bold move made by the Pontiff, the question remains, will the Church follow his lead and be more accepting of ALL with a new narrative written or will there will be backlash amongst those that hold power in the church and ultimately change will not follow?