The Bible Not Fit For Today (I)

My drive to work definitely isn't a boring experience, and this is not because of the brisk 6 o' clock traffic I must fight either. It is because I am a regular listener to The Michael Savage radio talk show, The Savage Nation. Savage is interesting, not because I sometimes agree with him (OK...I confess, I am a rather conservative atheist), but because he gets so easily bent out of shape and angry over the smallest things. I guess I'm one for drama. Savage is the oldest in talk radio, but because of his high energy level, he comes off a lot younger and more zealous than his fellow right-wingers. He is well known for tearing viciously into those people and issues he considers to be the biggest problems facing the world. The man, though often belligerent and rude to his callers and guests, is well read and holds a doctorate from Berkeley of California. His usual topics include welfare reform, illegal immigration, the evils of hollywood and the media, which he believes to be responsible for many of the woes of the world today, and "Islamofascism" and the war on terror. Other political hot topics run across his airwaves delivered at a much hotter tone than the usual conservative talk radio drekk that tends to bore me.

But that is not the purpose of my writing on this subject. As of last week, an even more interesting topic came up that Savage seldom touches on - evolution and the six day creation of Genesis. So you can see why I had to write about it!

As good as Savage can sometimes be presenting the facts of evolution (he believes a god made the world through evolution), he took on a subject that his ultra-conservative fundy audience just couldn't quite handle. I wasn't shocked when they called in opposing him instead of extending the usual subservient flattery of "you're so right, Dr. Savage."

I found myself chuckling when savage made the following remark...

"After millions of years of evolution. God put a soul in a ape, or excuse me, an ape evolved into a human, and God gave it a soul."

Let me stop here and say just how comical this is to me: a god taking an unprincipled, uncivilized, feces-throwing, tree-climbing beast, and transforming it into an image of himself! Educated, non-fundamentalist Savage had no problem saying it, but his audience sure did. Who is Savage's audience that he labors so hard to educate and enlighten? Fundamentalist, white, middle-class, Christians, who only care to be educated with books like the Bible. Savage's audience has no problem stating that the universe was created just 6,000 years ago, nor does his audience mind reading and accepting as truth, this archaic book with talking snakes, talking donkeys, and floating axeheads. His audience has an agenda, the agenda of maw and paw's book they were instructed with back when they were knee-high.

So forget trying to point out that there are trees on this planet now living as old as 6,000 years! Forget about geographical distribution, showing how, after a mountain pass or valley, different forms of life came and died out in the fossil record over long periods of time. Forget about similarity of structure between life forms. Forget about DNA testing. Forget about evidence of ice ages every 100,000 years, and you can sure as Hell forget about changes in magnetic polarity over time. Since a very old book, coming from a time drenched in superstition said it, that settles it. No possibility of error for them. Oppose the fundies and they'll attack you, just like they attack evolution. Einstein's equations are not biblical, but they don't get attacked, why? Because those numbers dared not oppose a wargod who demands 7 human sacrifices to end a famine (2 Samuel 21:1-9).

Caller after caller poured in their support for the old book...

Caller: "uhhh..yes...uh Dr. Savage. disagree with you here... I believe the earth is 6,000 years old, cause there was some trees found under Antarctica ice."

Savage: "[pause]....well, sir. I'm afraid you don't know enough of science to discuss this with me..."

One Jewish chemist who called in told us he believed the earth was "millions of years old". How generous of him! "In the beginning", said he, was not yet when God started counting time in the days of creation. So we are to believe that the earth is some unknown vast number of years old + 6 literal days! This taking of liberty by the creationists to insert huge chunks of unaccounted-for time is known as The Gap Theory, the usual way out for Jews and progressive Christians who try to finagle the findings of the sciences to fit scripture.

Finally, Savage seemed to get off the point because of the resistance of his audience. They just couldn't connect with him. But again, Savage made a concerted effort to show that the Bible cannot be "interpreted literally" and applied to today. The Bible teaches stoning adulterers, blasphemers, and witches...

Savage: "Do you want to do that today? Are you going to pick up a rock and smack someone with it? No, you're not. If we did that, we'd be like the Islamofascists and the Taliban."

True indeed. The Bible is on the same moral level with modern Iran. Savage has pointed this out repeatedly and it is a good thing.

The Bible is just not for today. To be made to fit a civilized society, it must be watered down, reinterpreted, and compromised. It fits neither the culture, nor the education levels of this generation, despite a growing number of exceptions who choose to remain ignorant and backwoods-ish by way of educational preference. Except among those who are stubbornly wound up in it as a belief system, the Bible has no appeal.