Page 10 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

Basic HTML Version

I .
The first book which I think is the most dangerous book ever
written in the history of human civilization is the Bible. The
Bible is the most dangerous book th a t has ever appeared upon
this earth. I f I were a dictator, I would gather every copy of the
Bible in the world in every language in which it has been published
and I would destroy th a t Book because th a t Book stands as an
eternal challenge against the civilizations of mankind.
I t is a lucky thing th a t people do not read the Bible. I t is very
fortunate th a t those who do read the Bible do not always under-
stand it. I t is most fortunate th a t for a long period of time the
Bible was written in languages th a t the common man could not
understand. Indeed, a t one time in the history of western Europe,
there were revolutions when men proposed to translate the Bible
into the common language of the people of the country.
The Bible has been a dangerous book because it was born in
the midst of a civilization which it determined to undermine and
destroy. The civilization in which the Bible was born was a civili-
zation which could be summed up in one word — idolatry. The
idolatry-system was the civilization th a t the Bible writers de-
termined to root out and u tterly destroy. Read through the pages
of the Bible and on almost every page you will read exhortations
against idols, idol worshippers, idolatry as a system of life.
Now, when we speak of idolatry and the worship of idols, re-
member the people who lived in th a t civilization were not different
from ourselves. They had a great deal of intelligence and they
had a large understanding of the world. But the idolatry-system
implied much more than people merely bowing before stone and
wooden images.
The idolatry-system involved a whole complex of institutions,
the outer garb of which was religion. There were, of course, the
great god Moloch and all the other gods of the ancient pagan
world. But the idolatry-system within its religious garb was also
an economic system; it was also a political system; it was also a
human system.
The idolatry-system implied the private ownership of land by
powerful individuals led by and protected by the king. The king
gave large portions of land to his nobles. The nobles let the people
within their power toil upon the land. The system was owned by
the king. The king was the ruler of it all; and not only was the
king the ruler of it all, bu t the king was a t times the god manifest
of the system.
Pharaoh was not simply the king of Egypt. He was its god. He