Former President Jimmy Carter is featured in an interview over at Huffington Post, occasioned by his new book NIV Lessons From Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter. As you may remember, President Carter has for many years taught a Sunday School class at his church in Plains, Georgia, and this book brings his observations and reflections together with the Bible text. (Yet another tactic for marketing additional copies of the best-selling book of all time, as Timothy Beal has noted in The Rise and Fall of the Bible, but that’s a topic for another time.)
I’ve always appreciated Jimmy Carter’s honesty and forthrightness, and he offers some thoughtful responses to what have now sadly become common questions about the Bible- did God write it? How can you read Genesis and believe in science? What about women, and gays, and exclusivist faith?
There are many verses in the Bible that you could interpret very rigidly and that makes you ultimately into a fundamentalist. When you think you are better than anybody else — that you are closer to God than other people, and therefore they are inferior to you and subhuman — that leads to conflict and hatred and dissonance among people when we should be working for peace.
It’s well worth a look.