Monday, May 21, 2012

Biblical Mistranslations

Love this article by Josh Gould: Who Says Homosexuality is a Sin?

It reminds me of another famous Biblical mistranslation:
"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

According to wikipedia's article on Witchcraft, the word often defined as "witch" in Exodus 22:18 is the Hebrew word, kashaph. 

In the Septuagint, this same word was translated to pharmakeia or pharmakous in Greek; then, translated from Greek into Vulgar Latin as veneficos, or "poisoner." So another translation of Exodus 22:18 is: "Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live."

Of course, ignorant Christians try to argue this by saying there is no word in Hebrew for poisoner. Yes, that's what happens when you have a language with only 80,000 words. That explains why some scholars argue that the word kashaph can be translated to "man of wrath/fury/rage." Which sort of ties in to those seven deadly sins, when you stop to think about it. 

The word kashaph came to be translated as witch because of that damn King James, who translated the Bible into English. He actually translated the word into "a woman who does evil magic." This is usually inferred to mean a "bad sorcerer or magician." James is one of the people responsible for giving Christians the idea that all witches are women who kidnap and eat babies while consorting with the devil.

I promise, I have never kidnapped or eaten a baby. I also haven't signed any pacts in blood. I acknowledge the devil as being an acceptable name for the destructive forces in the universe but I do not worship him. Why? Because that's not what witches do.

So ignorant Christians shun witches because they have been told to, on the basis of a mistranslation in a book penned by men. They have no idea what real witchcraft is - many would be surprised that it is a fundamental aspect of all religions. Think of it this way - religion is witchcraft evolved. Any prayer - any attempt to change forces found outside of the body - is witchcraft. The words "prayer" and "spell" are synonyms, not antonyms.

Let me try explaining it this way: It would be like me making the statement, all Christians are evil because a few Christians promote ill-will and violence.

Christians, would you be offended if I actually believed that statement was true? Please, don't turn around and do this same generalization to women, witches, Muslims, Jews, or homosexuals. It's just not cool. And doesn't your book say, do unto others as you would have them do unto you? 

I shouldn't have to point out the millions of people who died because of mistranslations when the church ruled during the Inquisitions (also check out this page on witch-hunts).

Witches (women, in general) were not the only ones slaughtered. Did you know that in 16th-century Spain, you could be burned at the stake for taking a bath on a regular basis? It was considered a sign that you were a Muslim heretic. You could also be burned at the stake for being circumcised because that meant you were a Jew (how many good ol' American Christian boys out there would be killed if magically transported back in time?). Those are examples of why we have this thing called the First Amendment of the United States Constitution that guarantees religious freedom.

I don't want another Inquisition but I fear we are headed there. Once you start persecuting the gays, you'll justify reasons to go after anyone who is different - be it Jews, Muslims, women, witches, Romany. You're just a hop-skip-and-jump away from repeating Germany's Nazi history.

Why is it so hard for these ignorant Christians to recognize hate? (Hint: the answer is found in the question). And even harder for them to remember which of their mythological beings is responsible for sowing hatred, fear, war, and chaos (do I seriously have to point this out)?