Disagree with David Keranen

To the editor:

Another letter against the Bible came from David Keranen of California (DMG 9-4-13). He finds most of the Bible and the record of its deity either boring or repugnant. This calls to mind Alexander Pope’s couplet, “All seems infected that the infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundice eye.”

Not always but often, people who regard the Bible with apathy or antipathy have either lived an “I’m OK as I am” life so far, or have been embittered by great loss or trouble. But many millions with experiences both good and bad have found the Bible neither boring nor repugnant but precious and indispensable.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln turned often to his well-worn Bible for comfort and assurance, especially from the Psalms and the Old Testament prophets.

He called the Bible “the best gift God has given to man.” He told his old friend Joshua Speed, who was a skeptic, “You are wrong, Speed, take all of this book on reason that you can, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier and better man.” (For more, see the Pulitzer Prize biography “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald, 1995, pages 514-515.)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the foremost theologians of the early twentieth century, is still highly regarded and widely read.

He was not a merely academic theologian with no accountability for his students’ spiritual health and future.

He aimed to engage all who heard him with the living and active Word of God in the Bible.

He confessed that Word as the one word we have to heed, for it gives life to the dead and is centered in Christ, who died for all and rose again.

Bonhoeffer said that during his imprisonment by the Gestapo, his greatest comfort came from the Psalms and the sturdy Christian hymns by Paul Gerhardt. His last words when called out to be hung were, “This is the end, but for me the beginning of life.”

When I replied to a Gazette letter by Keranen several years ago, I referred him to what David said about God in his 23rd Psalm.

And I asked, “Who wouldn’t want a God like that?”

But Professor Keranen gave no heed to the beautiful content of that Psalm. Instead, he resorted to throwing stones at David. Now, I suppose, he will criticize Lincoln and Bonhoeffer.

Rev. Robert Paul