Salon recently decided to remove a post from their website which claimed that the Bible cannot have come from God because it was so “badly written.” The post originally appeared at the website of psychologist and writer Valerie Tarico, where it can still be found.
The author began her post by stating that millions of evangelicals hold a dictation theory of inspiration and says that they believe each phrase to be so perfect that it needs linguistic analysis to understand its meaning. Then she remarks, “If that were the case, one would have to conclude that God is a terrible writer. Many passages in the Bible would get kicked back by any competent editor or writing professor, kicked back with a lot of red ink. Mixed messages, repetition, bad fact checking, awkward constructions, inconsistent voice, weak character development, boring tangents, contradictions, passages where nobody can tell what the heck the writer meant to convey. . . . This doesn’t sound like a book that was dictated by a deity.”
Tarico, whose previous writings at Salon included “I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice,” makes her case against the Bible by arguing that it was written by too many people over too many centuries using too many different genres.
In addition, citing the work of Bart Ehrman, she alludes to the Bible’s “forgeries” and bad translations. Her case against the Bible includes the idea that modern readers will not find anything true or beautiful in Scripture. “As a modern person reading the Bible, one can’t help but think about how the pages might have been better filled. Could none of this have been pared away? Couldn’t the writers have made room instead for a few short sentences that might have changed history Wash your hands after you poop. Don’t have sex with someone who doesn’t want to. Witchcraft isn’t real. Slavery is forbidden. We are all God’s chosen people.”
After initially posting a link to the article on Twitter, Salon received many messages pushing back both on its content and style. One person even pointed out the grammatical errors in the post, noting the irony of their appearance in a post where the author complains that the Bible was poorly written.
Salon tweeted that they had retracted the post because it did not meet their editorial standards. They explained that the post came from a “partner site.”
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Tamara Menzi
Publication date: February 9, 2018