January 21, 2010

Two Birds with one Stone

Just a brief missive in order to make up for my recent absence. I’d been preparing to deploy for some duty in Haiti, but due to the security (or lack thereof) situation, my team is on standby. Therefore, I have a few moments to post the gist of a recent, interesting conversation with a friend.

We began talking about books, which is one of or regular topics, when she mentioned that she was re-reading a tome by Dr. Andrew Weil. The author’s name tickled my CRS memory, but I couldn’t quite connect the dots. Then she mentioned the title, Health and Healing (Houghton Mifflin, 1983).

Weil is, apparently, a proponent of alternative medicine (he calls it integrative medicine), and is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. There is, as one might expect, much controversy with Weil’s theories.

My friend is more open to alternative medical theories than I, so the conversation got a bit heated, but in the end both she and I picked up on a quite interesting quote from the book. Weil cited the Bible, Isaiah 45:6—7, and noted that God is the creator of all evil in the world.

In addition to being a nut about alternative medicine, my friend is somewhat of the Biblical scholar. She admitted that the chapter and verses cited by Weil were unfamiliar to her, but that she would research. Later that day I received the following email…

“After reading that surprising passage in Weil’s book, I first consulted my copy of The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text, published by The Jewish Publication Society of America, showing copyright dates of 1917, 1945, and 1955. In the JPS scriptures, Isaiah 45:6—7 reads thus:

I am the Lord; and there is none else; I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I am the Lord, that doeth all these things.

Next I looked up the same scripture reference in my copy of the Protestant world’s chief standby, the Authorized King James Version, which reads almost identically:

I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

Then, just because it struck my fancy, I checked on how a couple of more modern translations of Isaiah handled this passage. You might find them interesting also. Check these out.

Revised Standard Version (1952):

I am the Lord and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, who do all these things.

The New English Bible (1971):

I am the Lord, there is no other; I make the light, I create darkness, author alike of prosperity and trouble. I, the Lord, do all these things.

New American Standard Bible (1973):

I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

So, we translate ‘evil’ as woe, trouble, and calamity, watering it down a little. But look who is causing it, no matter how you name it.”

We may not agree on alternative medicine, but my friend and I certainly agree on the interesting inconsistencies that can be found between the god of the old testament and the one praised by modern xtians as the “god of love”.

Does this mean Pat Robertson is correct… at least partially… that god is the source of the misery in Haiti…



Rogue Medic said...

For Pat Robertson® to be not wrong, which is not the same as correct, he would need to be interrupted before he makes one of his gaffes. As an alternative, by remaining silent, he would not be wrong.

Andrew Weil does promote a healthy lifestyle, which all doctors should promote. When he wanders into the witchcraft of integrative medicine, rather than medicine, he only makes a fool of himself.