Congressional Resolution Praises “Nonsectarian” Museum of the Bible

Nov 27, 2017

By Hemant Mehta

Of all the ways to describe the new Museum of the Bible that just opened in Washington, D.C. — thanks to $500 million from the family that owns Hobby Lobby — “nonsectarian” is probably the strangest. That’s because the museum very clearly pushes a Protestant view of the Bible, and the family has always made clear their ultimate goal is to bring people to Jesus even if the museum doesn’t always engage in outright proselytizing.

Writing for POLITICO, Candida Moss and Joel S. Baden say that there’s nothing neutral about this place:

After touring the site of the museum, visiting its traveling exhibit, and interviewing [Hobby Lobby CEO Steve] Green and others involved in the project, we have found that despite genuine efforts at nonsectarianism, the museum’s version of the Bible’s history remains beholden to the worldview of the Green family. The broader story it tells about the Bible, and especially the Bible’s place in American culture, is essentially a Protestant one, and it excludes other traditions when they might come into conflict with that basic story.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, especially when this is a privately funded museum. But if you’re looking for an objective look at the Bible, from a variety of perspectives, you’re not going to find it here. It’s the Bible as seen through a bunch of believers, who think the book has shaped the world in positive ways, and who aren’t interested in the views of scholars who take issue with traditional Christian interpretations of the book.

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3 comments on “Congressional Resolution Praises “Nonsectarian” Museum of the Bible

  • I’ve never has the privilege of visiting it, but I bet it leaves out any discussion of the manifold origins of the bible stories, how versions and forms of them appear over the entire Indo-European world – and beyond for all I know – how natural events explain some of the stories, and how others are rooted in primordial narratives, which have been modified and developed in line with the requirements of emerging civilisations. All narratives serve the societies in which they are generated, and the moral and “spiritual” insights of story-telling in one age, are rarely of use to subsequent ages.

    The problems start when someone writes down orally transmitted narrative, and it becomes fixed and ascribed to dictation by god, thus unchangeable and immutable.

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  • @OP – thanks to $500 million from the family that owns Hobby Lobby — “nonsectarian” is probably the strangest. That’s because the museum very clearly pushes a Protestant view of the Bible,

    Of course there was no “Protestant view of the bible or anything else, until recent centuries when Protestantism split from the Catholic establishment!

    Then there is the Split from OT Judaism, not to mention the numerous “gospels” which predate the 4th. century Roman editing of the NT Canonical gospels – followed by the mistranslations and fraudulent additions and changes over subsequent centuries!

    Of course the whole lot was pre-dated by Canaanite polytheism! – With the evolution of El, Yahweh, Jehova etc!

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