Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On John Blake's "Actually, that's not in the Bible" Article



I just read a provocative article by John Blake at CNN.com, "Actually, that's not in the Bible," and I left a comment, but with 6,200 comments and rising, I doubt he or anyone else will read my thoughts there. (The article's been shared on Facebook nearly 46,000 times already) So, here is what I said:
I agree with this article, but have two considerations. I think the saying "This too shall pass" is a distillation of a concept in the Book of Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1-8 that begin. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." It's the idea that there is a season for trouble and and a season for peace and so troubling times don't last forever.

Also, while I agree completely that the saying "God helps those who help themselves" goes against a greater theme in the Bible that tells people to help the poor and needy, I also think that Ben Franklin extrapolated the idea of helping oneself from 2 Thessalonians 3: 10–"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

But we should remember that in the period in history in which this verse was written, society was still largely agrarian. People were not dealing with (the level of) poverty (we see today) and industrialization had not happened yet which contributes to people not being able to "work" for their food. Also the idea that faith in God is manifested through physical deeds is seen in the Book of James. The problem for many Americans is that they try to take concepts from the Bible, repurpose them for their own agendas, and then try to force them onto the country.
In addition to my comment, lots of people are sharing how other sayings have been extrapolated from other Bible passages, such as the idea that Satan is the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but the Genesis story does not actually mention Satan. I shrugged reading Blake's section on Eve and the serpent as one of the misquoted or misrepresented stories because last semester I had to read Cain by Lord Byron, and an objection to saying Satan was in the Garden is one of the foundation pillars of that play. Read Blake's piece at the CNN website.

1 comment:

Lea Sherry said...

Dear Mr. Blake,

Yesterday I read your piece on CNN about the disappearing Black men in Baltimore. Despite the merit that some of it deserves, the broader message reiterated warrants outrage and disgust. I am sick to death of White people, today, being implicated in a great conspiracy to hurt Black people. You have no idea how irresponsible you are to continue to perpetuate that idea. As someone who works in the public school system I can tell you that it's people like YOU, not me, who is hurting the Black community. Children are told that that they don't have to listen to white teachers or authority figures, that they can do what ever they want because our motivation behind asking them to sit down and stop being disruptive to the entire class is racism! Those same students don't know my first name, but they know my true feelings about a complex subject like race.

And its not just the students, its the parents, too, of course. The mothers of those students speak loud and dramatically, and intrude on the peace of others, then get defensive when those around them show annoyance. The same caliber of Black men play their stereos too loud in the wrong place and, again, take the defense when others are unhappy.

It's loud, inappropriate behavior at the wrong time that gets people, not just Black people, noticed negatively. The Black community wants concessions made for their culture and circumstances, instead of getting with the program and behaving "equally." You, and all of the other racist Black people want special rights, not equal rights. You want to keep demanding an apology from white people for what their ancestors did from the late 1400's to late 1800's. I actually had a student tell me I owed him an apology for slavery. My response to him was this: "Slavery, in North America ended in 1863, and I was born in 1969. I have never owned another human being, nor consciously been a part of an oppressive act that would deny someone their freedom."

By continuing to spread that evil garbage that white people are trying to destroy the Black community by getting rid of the Black men you, along with the rest of the ignorant influential Black people, are making our lives in America worse. Undoubtedly, there have been some good white people in your life that you are credit. Why don't you and the rest of the Black community try to repair our nation instead of driving the wedge deeper and seeking some unpayable reparation for the past? Write an article about how a White teacher works in an inner city school, risking her life to provide basic lessons on reading, writing and math.

We're not all bad, contrary to what you would have your followers believe. Like I tell students "We're in this boat together." You and your kind would have the young and ignorant believe that only the Black community is suffering in this country, that the Whites have it made. You could not be further from the "truth."

When America slips into a civil war fueled by race relations the blood will be on your hands because of your inflammatory, polarizing propaganda.