The liberal-leaning outlet Salon has retracted an opinion piece on the Christian Bible that concluded the religious book was poorly written. The article drew intense backlash from conservatives and evangelicals on social media.
On Jan. 31, psychologist Valerie Tarico of Seattle proposed in the piece that the Bible could not have originated from a God because it was, in her view, a bad piece of literature.
“Millions of evangelicals and other Christian fundamentalists believe that the Bible was dictated by God to men who acted essentially as human transcriptionists,” Tarico wrote on Alternet. “If that were the case, one would have to conclude that God is a terrible writer.”
Tarico asserted that the Bible was not well-written because it contained “[m]ixed messages, repetition, bad fact-checking, awkward constructions, inconsistent voice, weak character development, boring tangents, contradictions, passages where nobody can tell what the heck the writer meant to convey.”
The author postulated that the religious book was a compromised piece of literary work because it was authored by several people over centuries and had undergone numerous translations.
Tarico concluded that a divine being could not have authored the Bible or any other holy books because they were all, in her view, imperfect.
“We humans may yearn for advice that is ‘god-breathed,’ but in reality, our sacred texts were written by fallible human beings, who try as they might, fell short of perfection in the ways we all do,” Tarico wrote.
On Feb. 8, Salon published Tarico’s opinion piece and shared the link on social media. The piece drew a bevy of negative comments from social media users, according to The Daily Wire.
“Your article decrying a ‘badly written’ book can’t even bother to quote or cite any scholarly evangelical definitions or defenders of inerrancy or inspiration,” tweeted one reader.
“Was this article written by a fifteen year old who just discovered atheism?” tweeted another.
One reader asserted that the Bible’s longevity justified its stature as a worthwhile literary work.
“The fact that it is still amongst us after almost 3000 years shows it has the relevance of Shakespeare and all the other things,” the reader tweeted. “How many thousands of religious texts have been lost? Yet, the Bible remains. And will long after the factually laughable writing of Salon dies.”
Conservative author Matt Walsh criticized Tarico herself, tweeting that her criticism of the Bible was “like Miley Cyrus calling Pavarotti a poor singer.”
Hours later, Salon announced that it had taken Tarico’s piece down.
“Thank you for your feedback,” the outlet tweeted out. “We heard you. Upon further review, we determined that this article, which was republished to Salon from a partner website, did not meet our editorial standards.”
On Feb. 9, Hemant Mehta of Patheos blasted Salon’s decision to take down the article, accusing the outlet of denigrating Tarico to appease right-wing websites and social media users.
“Other right-wing commenters are now blasting Salon for taking down the piece,” Mehta wrote. “They weren’t happy when it was up. They’re critical now that it’s down. And nobody at Salon has explained what Tarico said that was unpublishable. What a cowardly move on their part.”