"he notes simultaneously that Americans are surprisingly ignorant of what is actually in it. “More than 80 percent of born-again or evangelical Christians believe that ‘God helps those who help themselves’ is a Bible verse,” he writes."
Add to that an ignorance about how tax money actually goes to help the poor in ways other than handouts, and you have a recipe for conservative polices that actually see the poor as responsible for their own poverty.
The book sounds interesting, however, beyond this particular issue. According to this review, it not only speaks to American ignorance about the text they claim to revere (same could be said about the Declaration and Constitution, btw), but it also speaks to something I have experienced first hand: struggling with being told that the Bible had all the answers when it often seemed confusing.
To Beal, the problem lies with the notion that the Bible is “a divine guidebook, a map for getting through the terra incognita of life.” For as soon as you open it and start reading, it becomes troublingly apparent that the Bible is no such thing. It does not offer answers to problems, especially not to twenty-first-century problems. Only in a few places does it even offer straightforward moral counsel. Depending on where you read in it, the Bible might give the impression that it is mainly composed of genealogies and agricultural regulations.All of this, according to the author, is an attempt to make the Bible do what it doesn't do well--speak with one clear voice. I have found that frustration when reading discussions about the Bible's take on everything from slavery to poverty and wealth.
The gulf between what readers expect to find in the Bible and what they are actually given produces a kind of paralysis, Beal explains. “For many Christians, this experience of feeling flummoxed by the Bible … [produces] not only frustration but also guilt for doubting the Bible’s integrity.” The Bible-publishing industry feeds on this anxiety, he argues, by endlessly repackaging the Biblical text in ever more watered-down and over-explained forms.
Anyway. Back to grading.