PETA wants animal inclusive Bible

Let me just start by congratulating PETA for sinking to a new low with the name of their blog. The PETA files. Because we all think animal rights should be associated with child abuse, for the lols.

Then, let me move on to highlighting PETA’s latest ridiculous campaign.

“When PETA heard that the Committee on Bible Translation had revised the New International Version (NIV) of the Christian Bible to use gender-inclusive language, such as replacing “men” with “people,” we thought, wouldn’t it be great if the new NIV showed consideration for female (and male) animals too? So we wrote to the Committee on Bible Translation and asked them to use “he” or “she” rather than “it” to refer to animals in the next edition of the NIV.

“Language matters. Calling an animal ‘it’ denies them something,” PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich told CNN. “They are beloved by God. They glorify God.”

Since God loves all His creation (and if you’re not convinced of this, try reading Matthew 25:40, Isaiah 11:9, or Luke 6:36), it’s only fitting that humans do the same by showing respect to every living being. Maybe Psalm 50:11 says it best: “I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind.” Perhaps if we change the way we speak about animals, our thinking will follow.”

Here’s the CNN piece referred to in that post

There are some more stupid quotes from PETA in that article, here’s the meat of their argument.

“God’s covenant is with humans and animals. God cares about animals,” Friedrich said. “I would think that’s a rather unanimous opinion among biblical scholars today, where that might not have been the case 200 years ago.”

Now, I’m not sure that PETA has even a rudimentary knowledge of Greek or Hebrew – but they may be interested to learn that their beef is with the languages themselves, not with the Bible translators. Because the languages have male, female, and neuter nouns – and you’d have to bring gender to the table by your own agenda, to suggest that animals are anything other than an it. You’d have to create a bias in the text. Which is exactly what translators shouldn’t be doing.

David Berger, a Hebrew scholar lets them have it on this basis in that CNN article:

“In Hebrew all nouns are gender-specific. So the noun for chair is masculine and the noun for earth is feminine. There’s simply no such thing as a neutral noun,” Berger told CNN. “It’s unusual to have a noun that would indicate the sex of the animal.”

Another scholar, from Baylor University, David Lyle Jeffrey, disagreed with the rest of the nonsense from PETA’s suggestion…

“I agree with their contention that God cares for all of creation,” Jeffrey said. “It is true that we have a responsibility to reflect that affection.

“In gender-inclusive Bible translation the generic terms for humankind, let’s say, are then replaced with an emphasis on he or she. Instead of the generic he, you say he and she. I don’t quite see how that would work with animals,” Jeffery said.

“Do we need to know the gender of the lion Samson slew? What would it give us there?” he said. “You could try to specify that, but you would be doing so entirely inventively if you did. It’s not in the original language. … Nothing is made of it in the story.”

“When you get to the point when you say, ‘Don’t say it, say he or she’ when the text doesn’t, you’re both screwing up the text and missing the main point you addressed.”

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.