I just saw that the lovely folks who came up with the idea to do Conservapedia have now decided to do a conservative "translation" of the Bible.
As of 2009, there is no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines:
- Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias.
- Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity.
- Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level.
- Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
- Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots"; using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census.
- Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
- Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning.
- Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story.
- Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels.
- Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities.
In reading through these items, I can't help but be reminded of the principles of Newspeak set up in the book Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell (go take a look at the article if you don't know anything about the book).
Let's consider them here:
"The basic idea behind Newspeak is to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple dichotomies."
"The underlying theory of Newspeak is that if something can't be said, then it can't be thought."
In the book, the Party has invented a language called Newspeak, the aim of which is to reduce vocabulary to the point that nothing substantial that is opposed to the views of the Party could be expressed in language, and therefore could not be thought in any concrete manner by people who only spoke Newspeak. In the book, the Party combs through all existing literature, translating it thought by thought into Newspeak (since literal translation is impossible, they instead translate the original idea into one that fits within Newspeak), so that nothing can be read by the citizens which contradicts the views of the Party. This also has the effect of creating only strict dichotomies between things. If something is not in line with the Party, it is directly opposed. This is the only way of understanding things, and it is a great way of creating fear, tension, and setting up "us vs. them" situations with anyone it becomes convenient to alienate. After all, a common enemy unites, right?
Now, let's go back to the stated goals of this conservative Bible translation:
"Providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias."
Translate thought by thought into a language that allows room for one ideology.
"Using powerful new conservative terms as they develop; defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
Create new words and remove others until the language only expresses ideas which fit a single ideology.
"Explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning."
Writing your own interpretation into the text, so that only one meaning can be interpreted by the reader.
"Excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story."
If a passage cannot support our ideology, we will remove it.
"Preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities."
Reduce the vocabulary of the language and remove possible ambiguities so that only one meaning could be understood by the reader.
In general, this just got me thinking that if being conservative means stifling thought, dumbing down and restricting expression, and associating God with a political party and agenda, I'm happy to not be conservative.