Deliberate Mistranslations – The Bible Used as a Weapon

ChristA recent article that I read pointed out that the word used to describe the Roman centurions companion was “pais”. Modern bible scholars translate this word as “servant”, jumping through all manner of hoops to reach that conclusion. Why? Because among the Roman legions, which prohibited heterosexual marriage while serving Rome, same sex relationships were extremely common and the word pais was almost always referring to a Roman centurion’s shield bearer who was also almost always his same sex lover.

So we have yet another verse, deliberately mistranslated, in which Christ himself encounters a same sex couple, heals one of them, and praises the faith of the elder of the two.

Modern Christian scholars deliberately ignore the cultural context of Roman soldiers. Aside from being banned from heterosexual marriages, bisexuality was the norm in ancient Mediterranean cultures. Greece, Assyria, Babylon, and even in Rome there was a longstanding tendency towards bisexual behavior. Wealthy men often had wives as well as male lovers. It was routine for victorious armies to subjugate and rape the males of the losing army (when not outright executed) and then take them as slaves.

It was extremely common for Roman soldiers, especially centurions to have same sex lovers because of those prohibitions on heterosexual marriage while serving as a soldier of Rome. And in all other known historical cases of ancient Greek about Roman soldiers, pais is used to designate same sex lover of such soldiers.

So this case is actually very strong in this situation that this is about a same sex lover for the centurion, which means the translation presented by modern biblical scholars amounts to a lie deliberately trying to obscure that truth. What better way to corrupt the church than to turn it into an organization of hatred, bigotry, discrimination, and torment? Who is the church really serving with its hateful, divisive, bigoted campaign against LGBT people while quietly ignoring adultery, divorce, and dozens of other sins?

Words like “zakhar” in Leviticus (zakhar is not ish and ish is ancient Aramaic generic “man”) mean that 18:22 and 20:13 do not say “a man shall not lie with a man in the bed of a woman”. What they say is a man (ish) shall not lie with zakhar in the bed of a woman. And zakhar is not ish. What is zakhar? Perhaps you should find out, but it is most definitely not ish.

Paul’s admonition in the new testament so translated so often as “homosexuals” is a Greek word that appears to have been coined by Paul himself to make a very precise description, not a generic one. What was Paul condemning? Upon analysis of context and the word that Paul created it appears that he was condemning pedophilia with underage male sex slaves and indeed just a few verses later, Paul condemns the slavers who create this condition for these young males.

Every single verse assumed to be translated as expressing against same sex relationships suffers from similar translation difficulties. Every single one. Then, in addition, modern translators ignore the relationship between David and Jonathan, which properly translated suggested that David loved Jonathan “as a man loves a woman”.

Modern scholars deliberately try to gloss over the relationship of Naomi and Ruth. Every indication was that Ruth and Naomi were lovers, and God approved.

When you begin digging, you discover this ugly deliberate campaign by the church to translate in the manner most allowing outright lies as a means of assaulting LGBT people throughout the second millennium of the church, yet we now know LGBT people are born as they are due to biological forces outside their control. That campaign of bigotry appears to have really taken off with archbishop Nicmar of Reims in the 8th century AD.

There is even archaeological evidence that the first and second century churches conducted same sex weddings.

Modern biblical scholars have set aside scholarly attention to detail in favor of centuries old deliberate manipulations and lies that were created for the sole purpose of persecuting LGBT people. Their assumption and that of so many other Christians is that these centuries old lies are the truth, so their first inclination is to defend that lie and they refuse to consider the alternative when the alternative runs counter to the propaganda with which they have been indoctrinated.

There are even openly anti-gay scholars who, in examining the passage about the centurion admit that the most likely meaning in this situation, given the nature and restrictions of Roman legions and cultural context, is that pais is the centurion’s same sex lover.

When I watch the mental gymnastics that Christians go through to butcher the ancient Greek and ancient Aramaic in order to maintain their hatred and ugly treatment of LGBT people, it is nothing short of astounding. And don’t give me the “hate the sin, love the sinner” nonsense – the treatment of the church of LGBT people is unique. Divorcees are not treated that way. Adulterers are not treated that way. Rapists are not treated that way. Pedophiles (like Josh Duggar) are not treated that way. Thieves, even murderers are not treated this way. Don’t try to cover hateful bigotry by trying to call it love. Because if that is what the church calls love, I do not want to see what they call hate.

Face it, the only reason so many Christians focus so much on LGBT people is this is the one thing they cannot see themselves committing so that excuses their full wrath, anger, and bigotry against LGBT people, while quietly accepting divorce, adultery, pedophilia, and so many other sins.

But the modern fundamentalist church is losing this discussion. Their viewpoint about LGBT people will soon pass into history as absurd as the church’s insistence that left handedness was a sign of demonic possession or that the “curse of Ham” was a valid biblical basis for racism (yes, the church argued that for centuries). Indeed, the 8+ year running trend of the Southern Baptist Convention of losing members, even while the US population is growing, means that organizations like this are being seen as more and more isolated, more and more irrelevant, and more and more in denial of modern medicine and science.

I have a saying I’ve used frequently before and it applies here – faith that denies science and reality is fantasy, and dangerous fantasy at that. Large segments of the modern church (not all but many) are largely engaged in one of the most hateful, cruel, and dangerous fantasies in history in its unjustified persecution of LGBT people. Within 50 years, our children’s children will look back and ask how anyone could have held and reconciled such beliefs. How will they remember you?

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4 thoughts on “Deliberate Mistranslations – The Bible Used as a Weapon

  1. *
    Where were you, Liz, 15 years ago (she good-humouredly asks)?

    I was attending a private Baptist university. One of my courses required us to analyse a book (or section of a book) of the Bible; I chose Ruth.

    It has been a while so I am now lost on many of the specifics; I do recall the elements of ‘wherever you go, I will go …’. Your blog lends a new perspective on this concept. Ruth, as spouse to Naomi, was following her to her ‘house’ in the same as there is that Christian concept that a woman leaves her ‘house’ to live at her husband’s ‘house’.

    I also recall a portion of the back-story had to do with a father who kidnapt his two daughters, took them to the desert, convinced them the world ended, and raped them using his excuse that he needed to re-start the human population. So much for prohibitions against paedophilia. Where was ‘traditional marriage’?

    Oh, if I could only have had your perspective to toss into my research, that would have shaken quite a few trees on that Baptist campus.

    By the way, I purposely attended that private Baptist university totally anonymously to prove that they would have no antipathy toward a transsexual if they knew me as ‘me’ and not as that transsexual. This school’s official policy still refuses admission to homosexuals, bi-sexuals, and transsexual.

    Frank Barnes, a fine friend of mine and who was also a co-worker at a TV station, posted my report to his Christian blog when he saw that my research and course grade was an ‘A’.

    You are quite accurate about Sparta. It was common that men and women lived separately and their intermingling was for procreative purposes, otherwise men had sex with men and women had sex with women. The adults taught their children – men to boys and women to girls – this was not paedophilia in their society. Sex segregation also limited the prospects of un-wanted pregnancy.

    *

  2. In both Ancient Greece and Sparta sexual congress with women was regarded as necessary only to perpetuate the species. It was believed that a soldier would fight that much harder when their lover fought at their side. That bond still holds true holds true today among soldiers without the sexual component necessarily being involved. That bond remains stronger for life than the bond between married soldiers and their spouses.

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