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Studderd Kennedy om Bibeln i "The Hardest Part":
The Bible is a queer
Book, as queer as life itself. How about
myself ? I'm a parson, and I've studied
it, of course. I study it still ; but do I
love it ? Well, parts of it I do — revel in
them ; parts of it I don't. I get irritated
when I have to read out to people in church
some of the stories in the Old Testament.
I would not mind if they were read out as
legends not supposed to be true, though
even then some appear to be pointless
and not worth reading out. The worst of
it is that we have to read them out with-
out comment, as though we thought them
true and valuable. I don't believe that
Balaam's ass spoke, or that Jonah lived in
a whale's belly, or that the walls of Jericho
fell flat. I am bothered about the plagues
of Egypt and the passage of the Red Sea.
Then there are the really bad stories.
They are bad, because they give a false
idea of God, and so are really blasphemous
when read as real truth. God hardens
Pharaoh's heart and then destroys him
because his heart was hard. That is
frankly immoral. There is the man who
put out his hand to steady the Ark and
was struck dead by the hand of God.
What a God ! I love Elisha, but some of
the stories about him and Elijah are in-
credible and immoral. I think Elisha's
treatment of the children that called him
" bald pate " showed that he had no
sense of humour, and it's a positive dis-
grace to drag God into it, as if He hadn't
any sense of humour either, when He
made it. The children were rude and
they ought to have been smacked, but to
have them eaten up by bears is the limit.
I have heard that taken as a lesson in an
Infants' School. That is real blasphemy.
God is not a bogey-man. Elijah calls down
fire from heaven to burn up companies of
soldiers who were doing their duty. It is
impossible, and immoral as well. Of course
I don't believe in the truth of the six
days' creation or the Flood and Noah's ark ;
but then, I don't think those pretend to be
true : they are just splendid legends con-
taining great truths.
I don't wonder that the ordinary man
gets muddled about the Bible, yet I love
it, and I find within its covers the finest
things in life.
I love it, because for me it fulfils its
purpose, and that is how it must be judged
— upon the whole, like any other book.
What is the purpose of the Book ? Is it
a book at all ? Isn't it just a haphazard
collection of writings ? No ; it is a book.
That is one of the queerest parts about it.
It is a collection of writings by all sorts and
conditions of men at all sorts and con-
ditions of times, that, by some strange
process of natural or supernatural selection,
have got together and made a real Book.
There is something odd about the evolution
of the canon ; something odder, I mean,
than there is about the evolution of a cat.
Both, of course, are astounding and God
guided ; but if the one is called natural, I
should call the other supernatural. Yes, the
Bible is a book, because a single purpose
runs through it and makes it one. What is
that purpose ? I think it is to teach the
love of God.
That is the aim and object
of it all.