06 December 2007

Too Many Bibles

Wow, I haven't posted in a long, long time. I better get off my ass here.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), my wife dragged me to a Christian bookstore the other day, so I have something to talk about. My wife has a new Christian friend whose birthday is coming up. My wife wants to get her a bible with study guide as a gift; therefore, I had to go too.

I would like to give some observations on the bible-shopping experience:

1) There is a multitude of bibles you can buy.

For instance:

Bibles in so many translations I couldn't count them all, some of which I had never heard of before (see menu on left)
Bibles for new christians
Bibles with prayer guidance
Bibles with study guides
Bibles with archaeology guides
Bibles done textbook-style
Bibles with self-help notes
Bibles divided into 15 minute chunks read daily called One Year Bibles
Bibles presented chronologically
Bibles for people recovering from addiction
Bibles for athletes
Bibles for couples
Bibles for women (many different ones of these)
Bibles for "women of colour" (wtf?)
Bibles for men
Bibles for children - heavily illustrated
Bibles for teen girls
Bibles for teen boys

I actually have something to say about that last set of bibles aimed at teens, though it's really not just for bibles, but for all books written by uninspired adults aimed at teenagers. When you try to get teens interested in the book by using bright, fancy colours, funky fonts, hep language daddy-o!, lightning bolts, cars, and pop culture references, you come across as being incredibly lame. Highschool guidance counsellor lame. Marge Simpson lame.

Not that it isn't effective: First, other lame adults will think it's a great idea and buy it for their teenagers (who will in turn think it's lame, but the book's already been bought). Second, while teens think it's lame, preteens may very well think it's actually something cool that real teens like.

(Holy crap, I just found a bible aimed at teens that is illustrated by manga artists.)

One more thing: in the clearance annex, I was very impressed to find a tattered old bible in (what I presume) was Cyrillic. I couldn't read a damn word of it other than the publisher's email address (it's from Russia). They had bibles in a few other languages as well.

2) They are damned expensive.

Most cheaper bibles were ~$25, but the bigger, nicer, or special edition ones (with study guides, historical info, etc) were at least $35, and many were over $60. The really expensive ones were over $100.

I guess if you're the type of person who only owns one book, then it makes sense to spend a lot of money on it.

3) They are often expensive for a reason.

Christians appear to enjoy making their bibles really fancy if they can. Lots of leather/fake leather covers, fancy hard covers, fancy trim, full colour pages. Gone are the days when most bibles were small things with whispy-thin onion-skin paper like you'd steal from hotels.

Not only that, but publishers will produce several versions of the same bible but with wildly differing cover materials and colours. (I'd like a NIV Bible, with black leather, metallic red paint, nav system, 6-disc CD changer, and spoiler please.)

4) Chritstians love to buy protective carrying cases for their fancy, expensive bibles.

No joke. Many were sold in clear plastic protective cases. Some other hard plastic cases were of very high quality with a variety of fasteners, which would protect your bible in near-mint condition. You also have colourful vinyl cases, canvas cases, fake suede cases, and nylon cases, with buckles and zippers and all sorts of pewter ornaments like Jesus fish and crosses. Moving higher upscale, you can get really fancy leather carrying cases with metal crosses and logos and freakin' combination locks (my wife has one). It's crazy.

That said, I'll bet Carlo is interested in getting one of these carrying cases (if he doesn't have one already).

Labels: ,

17 Comments:

At December 06, 2007 7:04 PM, Blogger TheBrummell said...

What fraction of the store would you estimate was devoted to variations on the King James Bible? Sounds like more than half, but I'm now curious (without being curious enough to actually go into such a place) about what else a Christian Bookstore might sell.

What did your wife end up buying for her friend? (Please say Manga Bible)

 
At December 07, 2007 8:52 AM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

The King James wasn't more than half. The place looked to have more copies of the various NIV, NLT and other easier to read translations. Not that there still weren't a lot of King James ones, too.

You wouldn't believe all the other crap they had in there. Lots of faith-based self-help things. Childrens books, including tripe like Veggietales and Bibleman. Apologetics books. Hell, they even had a few cookbooks that had no apparent relation to religion in any way.

My wife was actually quite intrigued by the manga bible, but decided to stick to the original plan of a study guide bible.

 
At December 09, 2007 10:19 PM, Blogger langmann said...

Sure but I there is no doubt that if Jesus saw this store he'd turn over the money tables like he did ~2000 years ago. That's pretty clear.

However I agree with you about the bible stores, I too have seen the certain people treasure their bibles better than perhaps they should. It really amuses me also.

Mine happens to be a very rough sad looking thing that my mother gave me quite a few years ago. I have never felt the need to upgrade to a gold rimmed fancy machine either.

Still I find it amusing that you believe in Economic fairy tales (you said your economic thinking was 180' to mine). :)

 
At December 10, 2007 1:46 PM, Blogger Necator said...

I think what amuses me most is that I thought the bible is supposed to be self-evident. I suppose with all the different translations, apocrypha, etc., what's a good fundie to do?! Get a guide to the word of god - oh right!

Whether the historical Jesus actually toppled the trade stalls, who knows, but it seems likely he was a little busy trying to bring the heavenly kingdom to Earth - in the literal sense.

As for economic fairy-tales, after a recent conversation with an economist, the economists seem to believe in a lot of their own fairy-tales. It seems like they're great theoreticians but when it comes to making useful predictions and falsifiable claims with scientific precision (ie beyond common sense), their a little less capable. But I guess, being a lay-person, I can't really say for certain.

 
At December 10, 2007 9:17 PM, Blogger langmann said...

But I guess, being a lay-person, I can't really say for certain.

That's probably the only completely true thing you said. In regards to the other stuff, the same thing can be said for medicine, like any other science involving humans as the subjects its hard to do the kinds of things one can do in a petri-dish. They generally object to being ground up or having genes inserted into their progeny.

Thus, its not easy to make perfect predictions because testing is difficult. But there are some things that have been tested quite a few times and come as close to providing proof to theory as best science ever can do. Sadly for the most part economics tells us what we should not do and is a useful tool to explain human behaviour.

That being said, the common average layperson in the guise of the politician usually supported by a load of ignorant voters will quickly try all sorts of "common sense" economics that they make up from whatever logic skills they posses. These generally lead to their own destruction.

 
At December 10, 2007 10:04 PM, Blogger BigHeathenMike said...

"I'd like a NIV Bible, with black leather, metallic red paint, nav system, 6-disc CD changer, and spoiler please."

That's some of the funniest shit I've read in a long time.

 
At December 10, 2007 10:47 PM, Blogger Carlo said...

Oh dear Dog! I'm sorry I've been so slow in replying.

I've been trying to buy a new leather-bound Bible for about a year now. My gf keeps telling me not to though. It's weird, but I haven't had a hard time finding fairly decent Bibles for cheap (~$15 - $20) - and I want a nice indestructible one because Biblical wisdom is useful in many random situations.

For example, when I was living in Vancouver and reading my way through the KJV on the SkyTrain, I had a few people comment on the gloriousness of my piety. Little did they know I was reading it more as a precautionary exercise. I think it's a bit irresponsible not to know about a book that's influenced the lives of so many.

That being said, the teen Bibles are rather scary. I saw one at Chapters that went on and on about why I should feel bad about getting 'boners' when hot girls walk by. It was pretty awesome, actually. Totally along the line of, when I see a good looking girl, I should start thinking of something else immediately... Like the glory of Jesus Christ. If I'm penitant enough, maybe I could get nailed too! Wait...

 
At December 11, 2007 3:18 PM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

langmann, I'm starting to regret saying the whole 180 degrees thing because I didn't really make myself clear about it. There are many issues that I feel we're on opposite sides of (mainly universal health care) but in general we're in rough agreement. To clarify, I am not, nor have I ever been, a communist. Nor have I ever voted for the NDP. While I don't think minimum wage should be eliminated, I think it should be quite a bit lower than it is now. Happy?

Necator: it's supposed to be self-evident, yet still require lots of learned study and spoon-fed interpretation from your pastor/priest, and still be vague and resolutionless, require faith, and somehow result in a gazillion sects of people who don't quite see eye to eye. But, don't get me wrong, it's infallible and perfect ;-)

Langmann's right about economics being more of a complex "organic" system than a set of individual, testable principles.

Mike, while my wife is dreaming about upgrading her bible, I'm dreaming of upgrading our car (my wife really only wants the NAV system - she sucks at directions). Have to buy a house first though.

 
At December 11, 2007 3:25 PM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

Carlo:

"Totally along the line of, when I see a good looking girl, I should start thinking of something else immediately... Like the glory of Jesus Christ. If I'm penitant enough, maybe I could get nailed too! Wait..."

That is hilarious. "Like the glory of Jesus Christ" is exactly the thing they would say. It's not even funny anymore, really.

And re: reading KJV in Vancouver - due to fearmongering from various pastors about Christian persecution at the hands of secularists, my wife was a little fearful about reading her bible in public. Much more likely is your result of random people coming to talk to you about your piety.

Sounds like you do need a protective bible carrying case. I thought as much.

"I think it's a bit irresponsible not to know about a book that's influenced the lives of so many."

I feel the same way, but haven't read more than a few chapters here and there. My wife wants me to read it (and I'm not really averse to reading it) but I've got so many other (better) books to read first.

 
At December 11, 2007 8:26 PM, Blogger langmann said...

@ King,

Point taken. While you still have some delusional thought content, I'm glad you're not completely faith based. ;)

 
At December 12, 2007 12:55 AM, Blogger Necator said...

KA said: "Langmann's right about economics being more of a complex "organic" system than a set of individual, testable principles."

‘sigh’

Economists themselves can’t seem t decide what is the best economic model for prosperity. 95% of economists couldn’t predict the recession in 2001 despite it being underway (Economist, 2007). So what then? How useful is this ‘science’ if it fails to predict events with any given certainty. As my economist friend said, economics seems to be based on a number of false assumptions based on bad data – though the math seems sound and makes some nice graphs.

Maybe he’s a pinko – let’s get out our tin foil hats.

As for the infallibility of scripture - read some Bart Ehrmann.

 
At December 12, 2007 1:11 AM, Blogger Necator said...

Addendum:

Medicine is not a science. Though it is based on science, I doubt that one does carefully controlled experiments every time one encounters someone with COPD, osteomyelitis, or mono. In this case it is more like being an engineer where one applies scientific principles to a given case to solve a given problem. There is of course medical science, (epidemiology for example) but that is not what we’re talking about.

 
At December 12, 2007 12:04 PM, Blogger langmann said...

@ necator: I doubt King wants this to turn into the all economics page. You should discuss this on my website if you want to go into it further. I will leave you with these thoughts:

A) If economics is junk then we should probably stop all social programs including welfare, minimum wage, public health care, government transfers. Taxes, monetary policy etc. because since we have no idea what we are doing its better to do nothing as we have no idea the harms we are causing. Instead you seem to support social programs.

B) Medicine is very much a science. I do what I cal mini-experiments every time I treat COPD or a variety of other diseases. On a more scientific note I do restrospective studies on acetaminophen toxicity using laboratory data from thousands of patients. What I am doing involves biochemical calculations of rate constants, decay, and ROC curves to determine predictive basis of certain laboratory results and potential hepatic disfunction on the cellular level. Anyway doctors are probably a waste of time too, since we obviously don't know everything like I did when I was in natural sciences.

 
At December 12, 2007 1:50 PM, Blogger Necator said...

Don't get your knickers in a twist. I apologize for the vigor with which I expressed myself. It was too hasty – it was late and I couldn't sleep. However, I never said economics was junk. I'm relaying an opinion relayed to me by an economist. His opinion was that economics is not as precise as it's often portrayed to be, nor is there consensus among economists about which theories are best applied. His belief (one also apparently shared by the editor of the Economist) is that the dismal science has been rather dismal in its ability to predict. As you expressed earlier, it's multifactorial in nature and therefore more unpredictable. As you are fond of criticising the IPCC for poor modeling, or too many assumptions, so too one could criticize economic modeling for the same reasons. Are economists and economics important? Of course they are – I just don't think its the be-all and end-all science you often make it out to be.

As for medicine, don’t be so melodramatic. I certainly meant no disrespect and hold (most) physicians in high regard. I’m sure I’d rather have you as a doctor than the myriad of others I’ve had over the years. It appears that you, along with our orthopod do do some science in the sense that you perform your retroactive studies etc. He runs healing trials. That is science indeed, as are your acetometaphine studies. Many of my physician friends do not do that however. They run family practices where they use their hard-earned expertise and experience to diagnose and treat illness. This is not any less noble, just not science, but the application of science. You of course are particularly well suited to doing science since you have a background in both experimental (biochemical) and theoretical sciences. As for “Anyway doctors are probably a waste of time too, since we obviously don't know everything like I did when I was in natural sciences.” Perhaps I should quote you from a previous blog entry and just say, “Don’t be lame.” No one ever said doctors weren’t important – least of whom me, especially considering the recent events in my life.
Aardvark. Sorry about these entries – that’ll be my last post on this topic.

PS. I also have high regard for engineers.

 
At December 12, 2007 3:05 PM, Blogger King Aardvark said...

Woooweee, I'm glad I don't run an economics blog. This stuff gets out of control quickly...

Honestly, thanks for keeping it civil, guys. I've seen much much worse on other blogs.

Re: economics, medicine, engineering, even science - I think we can safely say that none of these things are as cut-and-dry as people like to imagine.

 
At December 14, 2007 12:26 PM, Blogger TheBrummell said...

Carlo, I find it interesting that people were willing to comment on your apparent (and illusory) 'piety' when you read KJV on the skytrain in Vancouver. I was reading Why Globalization Works every day on the bus for about three weeks, and despite being deliberately conspicuous with my book, nobody said a damn thing. I was so disappointed that no left-wing nutters tried to argue with me.

Also, has anyone said anything about "the devil can quote scripture" to you, yet?

 
At December 14, 2007 12:47 PM, Blogger langmann said...

Why Globalization Works every day on the bus for about three weeks, and despite being deliberately conspicuous with my book, nobody said a damn thing. I was so disappointed that no left-wing nutters tried to argue with me.

Were you trolling for socialists? Behave.

I have actually found that things like that bring the exact opposite nutters that you're trying to attract. I remember reading some history book on Hitler's scientists and getting approached by some arabic nutter who wanted to discuss the Jewish problem and ow hitler was a visionary for both cultural, economic and political reasons. That was really edgy... I must say.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home