George Davis | The Pope agrees with George Davis
On November 2 last year, I wrote a column titled 'Deliver me from evil'. In it, I took issue with a segment of the most popular benediction in Christianity, the Lord's Prayer.
I wrote that having examined the entreaty, as taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in 1662, I had concluded that the line "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" makes no sense. I reasoned: "As I understand it, faith is a journey. You embark on a journey with God to deepen your spirituality and build your faith. At a certain point in the journey, after you've built your faith, you move to fortify that faith, strong in the knowledge that you are at a point where you can withstand the allure and pull of the sins of the world.
"You start from zero and build your faith to a point of strength as you get deeper into your relationship with the Lord. I believe that to ask God not to lead you into temptation is cowardly and foolish, precisely because of how much effort you would have invested in building that faith."
I continued, "To compound my problem with the Lord's Prayer is the other part of the extract, which says, 'deliver us from evil'. In effect, you are asking God not to allow you to be tempted or tested and then wanting to be delivered from your non-test! It doesn't make sense!"
Who told me to write that? Persons who know the Bible, and a few who only claim to, were scornful in their criticism. One lady assailed me inside a supermarket, saying that she had lost regard for me, having been led to believe from my time in radio that I was sensible!
Another lady I met at a cash register in a pharmacy maintained a sour disposition as she grumbled that I was using the benefit of education and reading to write garbage. She also cursed The Gleaner, asking if the paper had nothing better to publish. One response beneath the column wondered whether I had been drinking something that I clearly could not manage. Leave it to the national road safety champion, Dr Lucien Jones, to critique my arguments with class and civility as he attempted to answer a question that many Bible-thumpers wouldn't even entertain.
So why am I grinning broadly and recalling all this? Simple. On Friday last, the Guardian newspaper in London published an article titled 'Lead us not into mistranslation; Pope wants Lord's Prayer changed'. That headline almost made me wet myself. Recall, my problem with the prayer concerns the part about 'lead us not into temptation'.
Well, according to the article, the head of the global Catholic Church, the most senior Christian in the world, told Italian broadcasters he believed the wording should be altered to better reflect that it was not God who led humans to sin. He told the TV2000 channel: "It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation." He added: "I am the one who falls. it's not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen.
"A father doesn't do that. a father helps you to get up immediately. It's Satan who leads us into temptation. that's his department."
Say what? You mean the Pope at the Vatican, the real Pope, agrees with the reasoning of a youth who was educated at Jonathan Grant High and UTech? The article continued, "The 80-year-old also highlighted that the Catholic Church in France had adapted the prayer and uses the phrase 'do not let us fall into temptation' instead."
In essence, the article is saying that the translation of the Lord's Prayer from its original language into English, where it concerns the line about temptation, has effectively caused us to be praying nonsense for centuries. It's as simple as that.
I know many persons were dismissive of my enquiry because in their minds, they know more about matters of the Bible and of God than I do. Fair enough. But how many of you are foolish enough to continue dismissing the issues I raised even after the Pope supported me so decisively as if he were on my payroll?