Archive for September, 2011


Quote Mining and the Bible

September 4, 2011

It always frustrates me when people take a quote out of context in order to make their point seem more valid.  The popular term for this is called “Quote Mining”.  Everybody does this to some extent, but some bring it to a deceitful level– possibly a criminal level.   There are countless examples of this including, but not limited to, the current presidential campaign speeches, the news media, young earth creationists, global warming deniers, etc.  When taken to the illogical extreme, quote mining can produce some very compelling quotes.  For example:

“There is no God” — Psalm 14:1

Of course, when put into context that passage really says:

“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” ” — Psalm 14:1

Of course, quote mining is most successful when applied to a large body of text that is difficult to interpret, has been translated from different languages, and is old.  Especially a text where people are reluctant to read it themselves.  I am, of course, referring to the Bible.  Although other texts are not immune to it as well.  The works of Nostradamus are very fertile soil for quote mining!

So the question I had was, “How easy is it to quote mine the bible?”  I decided to try an experiment.  I asked my friends on Facebook for some statements that were obviously false.  I didn’t tell them why I wanted the statements.  Once I got some, I picked one out and attempted to justify it using scripture from the Bible.  What follows is a complete work of fiction.  It is made up, using quote mining and other techniques to make sense out of an irrational position.  Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry ?