Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lawrence O'Donnell and Glenn Beck

by Dick Mac

Buffoonery is one of my favorite traits in public figures and private leaders. In America, we have plenty of both and buffoonery is rampant.

My favorite spat between public figures today is the disagreement about the validity of the Book of Revelation, that section of the Bible that anti-semitic right-wing "christians" like to throw around as fact, whereas descendants of those who wrote it see it not as historic reality, but a tool for moral teaching.

Glenn Beck, a Mormon who claims to be religious, believes that Revelation is a road map; that it is the basis for piety and goodness, and its predictions that the world will end in your lifetime must be embraced word for word.

Lawrence O'Donnell, a Catholic who does not claim to be particularly religious but has twelve years of religious training under his belt, says it is a collection of stories from which readers can derive lessons, morality, and a sense of the awesome power of God.

I believe that most of the Bible, especially those chapters referred to by Christians as the Old Testament, is a collection of stories and anecdotes meant to challenge readers to become better people. I do not believe the Old Testament is a historical writing documenting the beginning and end of humanity. When Jesus speaks in the New Testament, in the Gospels, he speaks in parable. He tells stories meant to challenge the listener to think about right and wrong and make a decision based on good moral standing. I think most of the Bible should be taken in this manner.

Glenn Beck makes his money scaring people. He is very good at it. He scares people about socialism, and non-religious people, and blacks, and homosexuals, and the poor, and the sick, and the old, and the lazy, and the hard-working.

O'Donnell says that Revelation is not fact, that it is fiction. Beck says that makes O'Donnell's employer MSNBC the most anti-religious network on television.


Well, I read the Bible pretty regularly because it is quoted so often in modern political debate, usually by the enemies of America: the right-wing and their tea partiers.

I pretty much always disagree with the tea partiers' interpretation of biblical writings, because they use it to further campaigns of hate and intolerance (then they say those who reject their intolerance are intolerant), which I don't think was the intention of the writers.

Anyway, last night I stumbled on a rebroadcast of O'Donnell's show while channel surfing, just on time to see this:

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