The Bible: A Casualty of War

Radical, proud misinterpretations of the Book that created our nation and made it great are what destroyed it in the Civil War. That's the premise of Mark Noll's book "The Civil War as Theological Crisis".

The armies of the Civil War were the most religious armies in our history. Christianity and the Bible were not embraced by everyone, but were certainly respected by the overwhelming majority. But when the War ended, one of its casualties was the Bible. It had been so abused and misused by people on both sides that an underlying mistrust of the Bible itself began to seep into American life.

Some began to think the Bible could be used to prove anything. Others felt it was proven to be in error by how the War turned out. Radical Abolitionists debunked the Bible because it did not straightforwardly condemn slavery. Radical southerners defaced the Bible by using it to justify their horrible treatment of slaves. There were Bible students who advocated slow emancipation. Others encouraged colonization back to Africa. Some felt the answer was diffusion, letting slavery be in all the USA in order to let the slaves spread out and eventually slavery would die of its own weight. Through it all, almost no one ever supported Negro equality with Caucasians, and essentially everyone opposed interracial marriage.

In this cauldron of prideful and often erroneous use of the Bible, Holy Scripture took a beating. This reminds us; the Word is infallible, but we must ever remember that even our most cherished interpretation of it can be very wrong. Humility serves us well.

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