by John Q on May 13, 2007

I can’t resist following Conservapedia, the Tlön version of Wikipedia, in which the liberal, anti-American bias of the Earth version is replaced with virtue and apple pie. But where did this bias come from, and how is it so deeply rooted in our culture? The answer, it turns out is the Bible, not of course the true version held in the vaults of Uqbar, but the liberal Earth Bible known by such as names as the King James Version.

In the Uqbar version, as explained at Conservapedia, all sorts of politically correct liberalism is eliminated or glossed out of existence. Uqbar scholars have discovered that the soft-on-crime John 8:7 ‘”If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone” was inserted by time-travelling liberals some time around the 4th century. Naturally, Conservapedia says, Wikipedia sticks to the Earth version, though a check of the actual site suggests that the annoying liberal habit of looking at all the evidence is at work here as well.

Conservapedia has able assistance from other conservative sources. All that class warfare stuff about the rich not getting into heaven (Matthew 19:21-24) turns out to mean that if you want money, you should cut God (or his earthly representatives) a good share in advance. Other kinds of warfare are fine with the Prince of Peace, though. As for turning the other cheek ((Luke 6:27-31), it’s No More Christian Nice Guy.

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Allowance of the Day § Unqualified Offerings
05.14.07 at 2:18 am
Crooked Timber » » Origins of the lamppost joke
05.14.07 at 11:00 pm



togolosh 05.13.07 at 9:26 pm

I don’t suppose Conservapedia will mention that the earliest manuscripts do not mention Jesus’ earthly resurrection.


David 05.13.07 at 9:48 pm

This is bizarre. According to this piece, the religious right, which has relied heavily for its street cred on its defense of the authority of scripture, has now abandoned it–even to citing with approval such heretics [in fundamentalist eyes] as Bruce Metzger? Or is this yet another of those hoaxes that seem to teem on Conservapedia [e.g. the Pacific Northwest arboreal octopus]? Note, too, that the gospel of prosperity ain’t exactly good conservative Christian theology, either. Somebody’s having a lot of fun with this.


Mike Russo 05.13.07 at 10:15 pm

From the Conservapedia entry:

Bartleby’s quotations include its famous line, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”

You know, Bartleby in my recollection was kind of a one-phrase guy, and this wasn’t the phrase…

Yes, there’s something inherently funny about nit-picking some guy’s idiot typo in this particular context (i.e. relating a Biblical verse about not criticizing others when one lacks perfection oneself), but eh, it’s post-9/11, so irony is dead and it all evens out.


C 05.13.07 at 11:27 pm

Isn’t “gossip, obscenity and liberal opinion” already CT’s slogan?


Todd Larason 05.13.07 at 11:56 pm

David #2: Or is this yet another of those hoaxes that seem to teem on Conservapedia

The [[Essay:Adultress_Story]] entry was written by [[User:Aschlafly]]; that’s Andrew Schlafly, one of Phyllis’s non-gay sons, and the founder & head of Conservapedia. If it’s a hoax, the whole site is.

The [[Deceit]] article and its commentary page may also be of interest, in particular the repeated statement (backed by nothing other than discredited falsehoods) that Jack Abramoff isn’t a conservative. [[User:TK]] there is a sysop who has claimed to have been a speechwriter and/or intelligence agency employee who worked with Ed Meese, and to have at least a passing acquantanceship with both Abramoff and Phyllis Schlafly.

I’m [[User:Jtl]] there; anyone else here actually active at all there?


Jim Henley 05.14.07 at 12:06 am


John Quiggin 05.14.07 at 12:08 am

I tried to register, but couldn’t get in – maybe you have to have a US IP?


Todd Larason 05.14.07 at 12:12 am

You shouldn’t need a US IP address — I know there are users from Finland and Australia. There are lots of banned IP addresses, though, in an attempt to stop the vandalism; you may just be unlucky.

There have also been times when new-user registration was just turned off in general. It looks like it’s on right now.


Shane Taylor 05.14.07 at 12:12 am


DonBoy 05.14.07 at 3:06 am

This struck me from the Conservapedia “article”:

This story is not found anywhere else, and its claim of Jesus bending down “to write on the ground with his finger” is found nowhere else.

C.S. Lewis noted this detail, and took it as proof that the story was true – his logic being that the detail has no narrative point, and he was prepared to guarantee that it was impossible that it could be a bit of random fake-verisimilitude, because such things were unheard-of at that time, said he.

So — Ghost of C.S. Lewis vs. Andrew Schlafly cage match!


magistra 05.14.07 at 6:32 am

If that passage isn’t authentic, it’s also the end of one of the funnier Catholic jokes (which I learned from Ship of Fools):

Jesus came upon a small crowd who had surrounded a young woman they believed to be an adulteress. They were preparing to stone her to death.

To calm the situation, Jesus said: “Whoever is without sin among you, let them cast the first stone.”

Suddenly, an old lady at the back of the crowd picked up a huge rock and lobbed it at the young woman, scoring a direct hit on her head. The unfortunate young lady collapsed dead on the spot.

Jesus looked over towards the old lady and said: “Do you know, Mother, sometimes you really piss me off.”


ejh 05.14.07 at 8:09 am

Talking of conservatives, I laughed at Pope condemns autocrats this morning. Strangely there was no comment from the opposition party in the Vatican.


abb1 05.14.07 at 8:34 am

Wow, I think he (the Pope) on that BBC’s photo looks scarier than Dick Cheney. That’s something.


Doctor Slack 05.14.07 at 9:34 am

That “cast the first stone” joke is awesome. In the spirit of Mullah Nasruddin.


abb1 05.14.07 at 9:46 am

Is he also known as Hodja Nasreddin?


Doctor Slack 05.14.07 at 9:50 am


John Quiggin 05.14.07 at 10:43 am

In the version I heard the punchline is “Mother! How often do I have to tell you not to interrupt me when I’m at work?”


Donna 05.14.07 at 11:08 am

oh those wacky, trouble making, time traveling liberals!
Ah gotta go, I hear there’s trouble in Boston 1927 — something about some dudes named Sacco and Venzetti.


abb1 05.14.07 at 12:55 pm

No, I think it should be “stop it, mother, you’re embarrassing me”. Sounds like some Woody Allen’s joke.


lemuel pitkin 05.14.07 at 1:55 pm

You really do have to check out the link. It’s every bit as insane — and depressing — as the post suggests.


wow 05.14.07 at 2:33 pm

If it is not a hoax, it really, really is troubling. I’m delighted to learn that there is a “conservative” (!?!) version of the bible that flags this bit of time-traveling liberalism. I’m normally quite critical of knee-jerk Euro-anti-Americanism, but here’s further proof that there is a segment of the U.S. population that is every bit as bonkers as the “euro-weenies” argue. Breathtaking, simply breathtaking…


greensmile 05.14.07 at 4:57 pm

The gleet-for-brains conservatives are going to get cramps from taking the shears to the KJV to get out all 36 variations of God’s instruction to refrain from oppressing the stranger.
I want to know if the Conservapedia version has the commandment “thou shalt buy thy preacher a television network”.


C. L. Ball 05.14.07 at 5:45 pm

Actually, “Earth Wiki” present a fair amount of evidence that the pericope de adultera indeed comes later, but certainly not definitive evidence.

The writing in dirt may be an indirect reference, one commentator noted, to the Old Testament “law of jealousy”. Jesus is writing the ‘curse’ or the passage in the sand.


Richard 05.14.07 at 7:17 pm

In Palestine I believe the Khoja Nasruddin attach to a character called Joha; perhaps we can introduce him into Conservapedia…


Jonathan Edelstein 05.15.07 at 12:08 am

Is Mullah Nasruddin one of the Wise Men of Chelm?


Rich B. 05.15.07 at 3:09 pm

Not really. The “Chelm” stories are really the equivalent of “Pollack jokes.” The make fun of the “wise men” without trying to reveal deeper truths.

As we stated in the other thread, the Jewish equivalent of Nusruddin is “Joha the Trickster.”


My Alter Ego 05.15.07 at 4:44 pm

I love the Examples of Bias in Wikipedia page. So many of the “examples of bias” are nothing of the sort, just random whining. #31 in particular is great:

“Wikipedia claims about 1.5 million articles, but what it does not say is that a large number of those articles have zero educational value. For example, Wikipedia has 1075 separate articles about “Moby” and “song”.[48] Many hundreds of thousands of Wikipedia articles — perhaps over half its website — are about music, Hollywood, and other topics beneath a regular encyclopedia. This reflects a bias towards popular gossip rather than helpful or enlightening information.”


James 05.15.07 at 8:44 pm

It’s perfectly true that the pericope is not represented in the earliest MSS of John, sometimes appears in some other places, and would generally be considered “inauthentic” by modern textual scholars as part of John. It would be considered a very strongly-attested example of the agrapha.

However, most conservative churches — like the Eastern Orthodox, say, or the RC’s as they were pre-Vatican II — don’t care. The text is part of what the Church made part of the canon, and as such is to be taken as canonical, regardless of fine details of authorship. Rather like the status of II Peter.

And, of course, concluding that it’s not part of the original text of John wouldn’t necessarily mean that the story was untrue; for that matter, it might be more reliable than John.

The article manages to see most of the trees, but then entirely miss the forest.


Todd Larason 05.16.07 at 10:53 pm

Well, I _was_ Jtl there. Today I was banned and called a terrorist, and I still don’t know why. Ahh, the joys of interacting with the paranoid.

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