Leftist Author Thinks Bible Is ‘Badly Written’ – Is She Right?

Barb Wire

Uber-left wing columnist Valerie Tarico thinks the Bible is “badly written” because it was written by fallible men and was not “dictated by God,” as she mistakenly believes Christians think.

Ms. Tarico’s column on the subject was published on the Salon website, but Salon has already pulled it down. The reason? It apparently was more “badly written” than, well, the Bible.

Here’s the editorial explanation Salon gave for yanking it: “Upon further review, we determined that this article…did not meet our editorial standards.” Oops. (Her column can be found on her own website here.)

Washington Free Beacon writer F. Bill McMorris pointed that, among other grammatical and literary gaffes, Ms. Tarico uses three adverbs in one paragraph, makes rampant use of split infinitives, and misconstrues the word “ironically.” And that was just for starters.

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It is not necessary to deconstruct the column in any detail, since Salon did it for us, but it’s worth noting some of the glaring errors in her piece.

For one thing, despite her repeated insistence that Christians believe the Bible was “dictated by a deity,” no reputable biblical scholar believes this. The biblical view is that the books of the Bible were written by human beings who were indwelt by the Spirit of God, who brought God’s thoughts to their mind and helped them put his thoughts to paper in their own words. “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

So each book of the Bible represents God’s truth poured through human personality. This is why each author has a distinctive style and even vocabulary, and why there is such a rich diversity of literature in the Bible, from history (e.g., the Pentateuch), to poetry (e.g., Psalms), to wisdom literature (e.g., Proverbs), to biography (e.g., the gospels), to epistolary literature (e.g.,the letters of Paul), to prophetic literature (e.g., Daniel), and even apocalyptic literature (Revelation).

If Ms. Tarico wants to find a “holy book” dictated by a god, she’ll have to settle for the Qur’an, which Muslims believe was dictated word for word by Allah.

She makes the ludicrous claim that “nearly half the books of the New Testament make false authorship claims.” This despite the fact that modern scholarship has found ample reason to believe that the books were written by exactly the men to whom they are attributed. There is no good reason to doubt that Matthew was written by the disciple who also went by the name Levi, that Mark was written by the nephew of Barnabas, that Luke was written by the physician who accompanied Paul on two of his missionary journeys, and that the gospel of John was written by the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Great men down through history have acknowledged the Bible’s beauty and power. Napoleon said, “It is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades every thing that opposes its extension.” Isaac Newton said, “We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.” Immanuel Kant: “I believe that the existence of the Bible is the greatest benefit to the human race. Any attempt to belittle it, I believe, is a crime against humanity.” Victor Hugo, no slouch as an author: “England has two books; the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.” Charles Dickens: “The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.”

Shakespeare, than whom there is no whomer when it comes to literature, was so impressed by the Bible that his canon contains no less than 1307 allusions to Scripture.

All of which leads me to say, “Valerie who?”

If Ms. Tarico would like to learn what Christians think and know about how the Bible came to be written it would behoove her to get a copy of American Family Studio’s The God Who Speaks .

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Bryan Fischer
Bryan Fischer is the Director of Issue Analysis at the American Family Association. He has degrees from Stanford University and Dallas Theological Seminary. He pastored for 25 years in Idaho, where he served as the chaplain of the Idaho state senate and co-authored Idaho's marriage amendment. He came to AFA in 2009.

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