The cartoon illustrates that any compromise with modernist science or Darwin’s evolution theory leads to atheism. The fundamentalist stairway to hell goes like this: Christianity, Bible not infallible, man not made in God’s image, no miracles, no virgin birth, no Deity, no atonement, no resurrection, agnosticism, atheism.
An incident during a recent cult intervention near spurned me into this project to re-examine the King James Version of the Bible and its influence on behavior.
After the first day of intervention discussions with my client and her partner, a man in his thirties who converted one year ago to a fundamentalist church as a “born again” Christian, my client and I went to a café to eat and debrief. It was a tough session. We had talked with her partner for over six hours without any success to interest him in even addressing, much less changing his rigid views that for the past year had practically destroyed the couple’s eight-year relationship and deeply impacted whether their two young children will have a harmonious family life. This born again man even managed to irritate the public by posting scripture and warnings in large print on the rear of his automobile: Life is short; Eternity Isn’t. After Death, Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). Are You Ready To Meet God? (Revelation 20:15). Eternity? You Must Be Born Again. Jesus.
Motivation for a total born-again experience came to this man in what appears to be a genuine and deeply felt urge to turn his life around, to stop fornicating with strange women, and to face his flaws and change for the better. We should applaud him for choosing better behavior, but the result is similar to and maybe worse than the recovering alcoholic or former cigarette smoker that become hypersensitive to the bad habits of others. The result (fruits in Gospel terms) resembles anosognosia or someone who is unaware that he has a disorder or illness--many people with schizophrenia in the early stages deny that they have an illness and refuse treatment.
Being born-again is not an ephemeral “experience” to this man, rather an “act of God” that remains permanent. This man is no longer the old person he was but a “new creature in Christ” according to the Pauline interpretation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
But is he a new creature? From the points of view of an old friend and his partner, he has the same arrogant, narcissism in his personality that he had before Jesus came into his life, only now it is exacerbated by an “I am speaking for God” complex.
There was an elderly gentleman in that café sitting nearby me and my client. The elderly man apparently overheard some of our conversation. The conversation covered passages and terms in the old King James Version [KJV] of the Bible that are either poorly translated or mistranslated. The elderly gentleman came over to our table on his way out and said, “Here, it sounds like this might interest you in your philosophical discussion.”
He handed me a pamphlet by Carl Wieland titled Stones and Bones: Powerful Evidence against Evolution (3rd edition, 2006) published by Creation Ministries International in Australia. Then he walked out.
The uncanny coincidence was that the pamphlet’s author, Carl Wieland, a formerly practicing medical doctor, depends on the KJV translation to bolster his argument against evolution as a science. Wieland tries to demonstrate that evolution is really only a “belief.” My client’s partner believed that same thing.
We will ignore Wieland’s anti-evolution polemic because his religious approach has been readily dismissed as both mistaken and poorly researched by the courts based on actual scientific evidence: <http://ncse.com/taking-action/ten-major-court-cases-evolution-creationism>
In Stones and Bones page 31, Wieland tries to argue:
“The people who published this booklet are not interested in getting you to join a particular group or church denomination—they want you to face up to the evidence that the world was created by [italics in context] Jesus Christ and for His purposes (Colossians 1:16).”
Then (p 31), Wieland and company go on to “urge you” to repent and follow what is basically the born again formula for salvation, to say the “sinner’s prayer” and to fear eternal condemnation if you do not, citing John 3:18 that I will quote in the original English:
He that beleeueth on him, is not condemned: but hee that beleeueth not, is condemned already, because hee hath not beleeued in the Name of the onely begotten Sonne of God. (KJV, 1611)
We have three major problems here:
· Wieland is naïve and wrong about the theory of evolution as a mere belief.
· Wieland corrupts and violates the New Testament (Colossians 1:16) by stating that the world was created “by” Jesus.
· Wieland is misleading when he claims that he and others who published Stones and Bones “are not interested in getting you to join a particular group or church denomination.”
Let us start with the last statement.
The booklet bases its argument about religion on an essentially denominational perspective, that of the fundamentalist wing of Baptist faith that readily admits to allowing “local churches” to operate independently of a central authority—the authority is “the Word” as in the KJV only and faith in that word. It is a sola scriptura denomination by any other name. This milieu of local churches is easily recognized by their adherence to five fundamentals of faith that they all share: Inerrancy of the KJV Bible, the virgin birth of Jesus, the cross as the atonement for sins, the real miracles of Jesus, and bodily resurrection. The KJV translation is a sacred book cult within this milieu.
Although the KJV cults can claim there is no episcopate or diocese above and around them, this does not dismiss the fact that this milieu qualifies as a sectarian movement or denomination based on the same ideas. Denomination means “a religious group,” which dismisses the KJV local church claims that they are not a denomination and do not practice a religion. By definition, each local church is a group and is religious no matter what convoluted things they say about being a non-denominational faith based on “the Word of God” only.
My client’s KJV cult partner stated, “We do not practice churchianity,” as if that dismisses the reality of another Christian church in action.
As to the second point that “Jesus is the Creator,” we have only to turn to the literal translation from the Greek. Whenever KJV states by Him, that actual Greek term is dia and it does not mean by. Dia means through or by means of and en is sometimes translated as in. The translation changes everything we say about Jesus’s relation to the Trinity of Christian doctrine and how Christians are to worship Jesus. Basically, the Father is the Creator, Jesus is the Mediator, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier as “three persons in one God.” Jesus is not the Creator, according to the actual Gospel.
I will quote extensively from website of thegospeltruth that does a good job with this translation error:
“The Bible never ever states that Jesus created anything. But it does say that God created through, or by means of, his Word and that Word became flesh, that is, Jesus. Because God created through His Word, just as we see in Genesis chapter 1, and that Word did become flesh, anyone could thereafter say about Jesus that all things were created through Jesus since that Word by which God created had now become that flesh named Jesus.
“Let us examine the passages which Trinitarians mistranslate and/or misinterpret to promote the idea that Jesus is the Creator followed by a literal translation of what the Greek really says.
1. John 1:3
“The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (KJV).
“The same was in the beginning with God. All things came to exist through (dia) the same and without the same not one thing came to exist that exists.
2. 1 Corinthians 8:6
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (KJV)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, out of whom are all things, and we of him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through (dia) whom are all things, and we through (dia) him.
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. (KJV)
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things through (dia) Jesus Christ. (some manuscripts also do not contain the phrase "through Jesus Christ" at all).
4. Colossians 1:16
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (KJV).
For in (en) him all things were created, things in heaven and upon earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things were created through him and unto1 (eis) him. And he is before all things, and in (en) him all things subsist.
5. Hebrews 1:2
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. (KJV)
God, who in many places and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers in (en) the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us in (en) a Son, whom he set heir of all things, through (dia) whom also he made the ages.”
According to Bart Ehrman in Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (2005):
“The King James version is filled with places in which the translators rendered a Greek text derived ultimately from Erasmus’s edition, which was based on a single twelfth-century manuscript that is one of the worst of the manuscripts that we now have available to us! It’s no wonder that modern translations often differ from the King James, and no wonder that some Bible-believing Christians prefer to pretend there’s never been a problem, since God inspired the King James Bible instead of the original Greek!” (p 209)
Thus, the absolute belief in KJV inerrancy falls flat on its human face.
But there is a more serious issue, one of idolatry of an image of Jesus in the mind of the believer or what Sir Francis Bacon called idola mentis or an Idol of the Mind.
The KJV only cult of worshipers tend to insist that Jesus is Lord by which they mean Jesus is God, the Creator. This KJV translation creates a divine idol of the same Jesus whom the Gospels say was fully human and born of a very young woman, yet adopted spiritually by the Jewish Father God as “My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). Jesus became “one” with God and the “image” of God (John 10:30). The Gospel did and does not erase the distinction between God and creature, between father God and human Son as the KJV cult would have you believe. This kind of fundamentalist idolatry of Jesus upsets Muslims and makes most mainline Christian theologians cringe. Ironically, Latter Day Saints accept the by Him translation as well. Like the KJV cult, LDS teaches that Jesus is Jehovah, the God of the Jews, the Creator.
The indication or revelation that the creation appears through Jesus is a mystery of faith but one which allows for a way for the Creator to sanctify the creation as both “good” (Genesis) and save it from its “fallen” state. Jesus in one way of interpretation is God, the source of being in action sacrificing the “I Am that I Am” God of Moses so that love can exist: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…” (John 3: 16). Without relationship there is no love. Without self-sacrifice there is no love. God alone is in a sense nothing and cannot love. God sacrificed is “dead” and must be resurrected to remain God. If there were no resurrection, we would not exist. Jesus may have recognized this eternal mystery of life and took up the cross to teach mankind the true nature of God. To say that Jesus is the Creator destroys the relationship, destroys love, destroys the need for sacrifice, and destroys the living Word in the world, the Word in which Paul said “we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring’” (Acts 17:28).
Gnosticism, an old heresy to mainline Christianity, comes into play.
Confusing Jesus as Creator God occus in odd ways in Gnostic myth. One story from the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a second century Gnostic production, tells of Jesus making birds out of clay on the Sabbath. A Jewish cleric and Joseph revile him for "working" on the sacred day, but Jesus has a trick up his sleeve:
But Jesus, clapping his hands, commanded the birds with a shout in front of everyone and said, “Go, take flight, and remember me, living ones.” And the sparrows, taking flight, went away squawking.
The KJV cult also tends toward radical dualism between spirit and matter, the saved and the damned, and God as Lord of heaven and Satan the Lord of this world, as if they were opposites. Radical dualism with the tendency to devalue this material world was a hallmark of ancient Gnostic behavior. Some of these sects, primarily throughout the second and third centuries taught that Jesus as the Christ was actually a pure deity like God and never was human, that Christ merely inhabited the Jesus body for a time. The divine God Christ could never suffer death nor be crucified in much of Gnostic lore.
Now, I know this Gnostic myth does not square well with the KJV cult interpretation of Jesus, but the tendency to radically divide the good heaven from the bad life on earth coupled with knowing (gnosis) that one is certainly saved as a “born again” is clearly Gnostic in theme. And the tendency to devalue anyone not born-again into the KJV cult as “going to hell” is similar to the Gnostic idea that most human creatures have no divine spark, therefore will never regain gnosis of their true divine selves. These soulless hylics or mud people are doomed to return to the earth: Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Whereas, the unsaved to the KJV cult are doomed to burn forever in the Lake of Fire.
The merciful God that loves all His creation, has the capacity to forgive all creatures, and never gives up on the lost sheep is somehow lost in both the Gnostic and KJV cults.
From opiechowski.wordpress blog: “fundamentalism is an idolatry”
“When fundamentalism, the belief that every religious and spiritual statement must be factual descriptions,
becomes something upon which the fundamentalist depends for a sense of comfort, a sense of security, a sense
of safety; it is then that fundamentalism becomes an idolatry.”
“Interestingly, the fundamentalism which sometimes attends modern
evangelical Christianity, also bows at the altar of causality and truth as facticity. This is not surprising.
The reformation, from which modern evangelical Christianity arose, came into being at almost the same time
as the development of the scientific revolution of the post-medieval modernity.
The reformers were excited about the ability of modern scientific speech to speak so clearly and accurately about things.
The fundamentalist who believes that every word of Genesis is an historical fact and the scientist who believes
that the universe is the product of forces independent of any God are actually students of the same school.
They both bow to the altar of causality and facticity.”
Other rants against the KJV/Fundamentalist cult style comes from Frank Schaeffer:
The skinny: Ideological Totalism
What this KJV inspired religious cult boils down to is the ever glaring, opportunistic god of fascism
slouching throughout the American Bible Belt and camouflaged among otherwise well-meaning,
right wing Tea Party folk. That god of fascism wants to run the country in a way that every choice
must be an “act of God” based on a KJV preacher’s ideas. Insight comes from Robert Lifton’s always
interesting analysis of Totalism and Brainwashing. “Ideological totalism is the coming together
of immoderate ideology with equally immoderate character traits—an extremist meeting ground
between people and ideas.” (p. 419)
Lifton says, it is not so much that the totalist believes he is God, rather he believes that his ideas are
On page 455: “The second variety of religious totalism, that associated with revitalizing enthusiasm,
has been widespread enough: It can be found in the more extreme practices of early Lutheranism
and Calvinism, in the Chiastic sects of the Middle Ages and in many post-Reformation fundamentalist
and revivalist cults.”