Let me be blunt: revisions of religious texts, whether verbally or in print, are postmodern heresies. To which I say—Yes, indeed.
First off, languages and circumstances change. The lifestyle of today is not the lifestyle of yesterday. When attempting to apply religious texts in everyday life, those texts need to be adjusted to present day reality. We revise what we read in our heads, or in conversation, or through publication.
For example, in the Bible, we read that Moses told the children of Israel to bring offerings of animals or grain, to the Lord. The religious text has been revised dramatically. No longer do we insist on those offerings. Modern day society has shifted from an agrarian culture to one of industry and technology, diminishing access to animals and grain.
The old texts are revised because they violate our liberal mores. Society denounces as anti-Christian the slaughter of animals and the waste of grain. We instead offer the food to feed the starving. In other words, the revised version is heresy to the indigenous meaning.
Let me be clear: I am all for this heresy. But, let’s be honest about what we are doing. We can’t revise religious texts and believe or insist that that was their original intent. Revisions are designed to advance further the religious ideals that empower and train us to worship a God that promotes wisdom, justice, equality, and wellbeing.
Revisions do not replace the original. But we can submit to them to actualize the great and promising potential of religious texts.
This was originally posted on Beliefnet.com at Everyday Spirituality blog