Blind Faith and Expected Bliss

There are those religionists that take every word of their “scriptures” literally.  Inconsistencies and contradictory pronouncements are shrugged off as divine mystery when in truth such things attest to the ineptitude of the human schemers that wrote them.  Avoidance of critical perusal of claimed revealed wisdom does not logically stand as respect to god; in reality that approach to “faith” is simply devotion to brain idleness and the immature expectation that mental laziness will be rewarded with bliss.  Indeed, there is even a slogan for this: Ignorance is Bliss.

Blind faith seems never to be shy of certainty, however; it is too often like the squeaky hinge that demands one’s attention and gets rewarded with a relieving squirt of oil.  An example of priestly unhinged squeaking was provided in 1654 by Dr. John Lightfoot (1602-1675) who declared: “Heaven and earth, centre and circumference were made in the same  instance of time and clouds full of water and man was created by the Trinity on the 26th day of October, 4004 B.C., at 9 o’clock on a Friday morning.”  Another version says Creation took place at 9 o’clock in the  morning  of the 17th of September 4004 B.C., also a Friday.  What’s another month, more or less?  Anyway, Dr. Lightfoot was a member of the Westminster Assembly and was vice-chancellor of  Cambridge University from 1654.  He was also one of the scholars who assisted the noted English authority on the Bible, Brian Walton, in preparation of the six-volume Polyglot Bible (1654-1657).

The renowned Brian Walton, by the way, received his B.A. degree in 1620, his M.A. in 1623, and his D.D. in 1639.  He was ordained in the Church of England in 1623 and culminated his studies by being consecrated as bishop of Chester in December of 1660.  Some versions of his six-volume Polyglot Bible drawn from a Hebrew original of the Old Testament, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and interpretations from other language works are printed in seven languages.  Okay, so he wasn’t ignorant, just unquestioning in his pursuit of what ancient myth-spinners had composed.

Also in 1654 an Irish archbishop, James Ussher, had two volumes published, Annales Veteres et Novi Testamenti, in which he also fixed the date of Creation as having occurred in 4004 BCE.  He was also certain that the return of Christ was imminent.

Well, that was the seventeenth century: dare we say that religious understanding has evolved?

Unfortunately, there are still fundamentalists who insist that planet Earth is only a little over six thousand years old and is the center of the universe.  And it is holy truth to them that dinosaurs and humans romped together in Eden before being expelled for dietary no-no’s.  Never mind that dinosaurs are not mentioned in scriptures (but whales and fishes are).  Even a female senator from one of the southern states recently addressed the U.S. Senate referring to Creation as having occurred six thousand years ago!   Yes, the Bible told her so.

Let us remember a line from Shakespeare: “In religion what damned error but some  sober brow will bless it, and approve it with a text.”

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