The title is a phonetic pronunciation of “Bible”, most often used by folks who believe that the Bible is the Word of God. This is a mistaken notion, most often perpetrated on people by pastors who want to manipulate them into mindless compliance with the pastors’ interpretation of how things ought to be. How things ought to be is most often that the people have the hell scared into them so that they keep returning and pouring money into the offering plate at an irresponsible rate in hopes of appeasing the fictional god of anger that the pastor postulates rather than the very real God of love that is actually reflected in the scripture. In actuality, you see, the Bible is a book, and Jesus is the Word.
As an aside, one of my many writers of hate mail regarding my “Back” post (most of whom, I am quite certain, come from one family and none of whom have the courage to sign their comments) accused me of breaking one of the Ten Commandments because I wrote the word “hell”. I can understand it from the author of this hate filled comment because s/he identified as being one third of my age, which would make her just under 13. The commandment I allegedly broke by using the word “hell” was taking the Lord’s name in vain.
This comment beautifully illustrates how much conservative pastors distort the Bible in their preaching and teaching because hell is a place. It happens to be a place that I don’t believe in, but it is nonetheless a place. God, being Spirit, is not a place – in fact God is everywhere at the same time, and everywhere God is is sanctified by the presence of God. If hell did exist, which I don’t believe it does, God by God’s very presence there would sanctify hell. Since God is by definition everywhere in that there is no place God cannot go, there can be no hell.
However, if you want to insist that there is a hell, it certainly isn’t a name for God. Taking the Lord’s name in vain has nothing to do with any place. What’s more, since the word “hell” has been used in translations of the Bible into English (even though the word hell does not exist in the original New Testament Greek), if “hell” is taking the Lord’s name in vain, then the Bible takes the Lord’s name in vain.
Stay with me here.
SOOOOO, if you argue that “hell” is taking the Lord’s Name in vain, since the English translations of the Bible use the word “hell”, the Bible itself breaks one of the Ten Commandments and therefore is sinful!!!
Hell, hell, hell, hell, hell, this is one hell of a mess we have ourselves in! We get into this mess when pastors teach us only to believe in them and what they say, when they fail to teach us to think for ourselves and thereby make us dependent upon them rather than on God (which, by the way, would be idolatry – another one of those pesky Ten Commandments). What a mess!
All of this so beautifully demonstrates why biblical literalism is bankrupt. In fact, biblical literalism has only existed for the last 200 years, and it is an error we need to repent of. Nowhere does the Bible claim for itself that it is top be literally understood. In this one example of the word “hell” we have seen what a conundrum we get into when literalistic power hungry pastors tell us what the Bible says. If find that tendency terribly curious, given that one of the fundamental tenets of Protestantism is that the believer can, for and by themselves, understand the Scriptures.