Monday, September 14, 2009

The Good Book

Today I was fired from Barnes and Noble because a customer complained that I had stocked Christian Bibles in the fiction section.

(reblogged from One Sentence archive - story #3286)

I've always felt that it's a big mistake on the part of the public school system not to make The Bible a part of the freshman year English curriculum, as they did at my non-denominational private school. Let's face it, those stories are the basis of most of Western literature and art. Sadly, I was bumped back into public school for 9th grade (that was a matter of denomination of the greenback variety), so I missed my Bible primer. Most of my intermittent exposure to Sunday School was spent at the Mormon church, where they focused more attention on a whole other book of mythology.

Which reminds me of a time when I was maybe eight and we were driving to a LDS summer camp. I was deeply engrossed in D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, which gave rise to great concern amongst the ladies in the VW Bus. They were very sweet about it, but oh what an uproar of ridiculous clucking! I endured their worries for my immortal soul, and somehow suppressed the impulse to roll my eyes. By the way, if any of you true believers out there have any ambitions for your children to attend a decent university, please don't deprive them of exposure to the classics and other belief systems. Keeping them ignorant of history will not assist them in pursuit of a Liberal Arts education.

In any case, I had to wait for Art History classes and Joseph Campbell to really start soaking up Angel Wrestling, Sacrifices of Beloved Sons, Decapitating Bitches, and Loaves and Fishes. Religion is, of course, a matter of faith for some and a matter of choice for others, but I think even many rational Christians can agree that there is some manner of literature on those hallowed pages. Whether God actually wrote it (which I seriously doubt, bereft as it is of consistent poetry, humor & joy), or it's the work of man, its value is not diminished. Whatever the case, B&N can suck it.


huckleberry said...

I'm pretty sure B&N has a designated "religion" section that would have covered it, but douchebag chick (it sounds like a chick, forgive me if I err) thought she was cute by making a point and got what she deserved, but of course it's some one else's fault, 10 Hail Marys and an act of contrition, or 'tis the Brimstone and Sulfur for ye, and yes, I HAVE been drinking, thank you for noticing...
What's up KFace?

bulletholes said...

Why is it so hard to keep the peace with a Christian?
I got a few that are flat wearin' me out.

Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

I have written a but load of criticism about the bibble. Heck, would priests would agree privately that it is not a historical record but a compendium of oral mythos. It Is fiction and the woman is right - but Corps are so sensitive to bad PR and hysterical customers and tend to clean the slate a t any sign of trouble. In my opinion, the woman is a martyr. I applaud her. maybe she can get a real job now. I read D'AULAIRES' BOOK OF GREEK MYTHS cover to cover many times as a child that I borrowed from the library at St. Marys Catholic School. It was the only time I learned anything about religion aside from the daily religion classes that was too busy drilling Catholic catechism into out little brains. Fortunately, I have been recovering from this for 30 years.

Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

Thanks for this post by the way. I think most people blindly follow their religion because it was what they know and most have never heard anyone say the the bible is a story book or that Jesus never existed. The legend was derived from that of Horus and Mithra. Those religious followers believed in these gods just as fervently as today's christians.

kissyface said...

Bulletholes - I don't think it's just Christians, I think it is anyone too fervently fixed in their beliefs - pro-lifers, pro-choicers, fashion whores, PETA members, denizens of sleeper cells, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, yoga junkies, me on occasion...

Rev. - I have no desire to mock anyone's religious beliefs or mythos or whatever, I just wish that EVERYONE could keep some perspective on it all. Can your faith be so shaken by the inclusion of The Bible in the literature section? Is that such an affront? Some would take it as a compliment. Some of the greatest things I've learned have come from there.

I do see Huck's point also. If the the clerk was making a snarky point, then he/she (not sure I buy your reasoning on the gender choice), lapsed into disrespect and lost some personal dignity. Certainly, it's no way to "school" others, but a firing seems ridiculous. I do think the book itself belongs both in religious study & lit. I'm sure other categories are arguable, as well.

Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

In a perfect world, we would all tolerate each other - but that's impossible and arguably against human nature for conflict is part of the fabric of existence. Mockery is one of the most effective tools left to the underdogs. When faith becomes overbearing and odious like it is with the Dominionists, ridicule is warranted and completely defensive.

GrizzBabe said...

It's taken me years to get here, but I've finally come to the conclusion that the bible is a human work. But the fact that it has the power to influence people in positive ways in spite of it's vast imperfections is nothing short of a miracle.

Rev. Barky said...

The Bible is archaic, convoluted and is often "interpreted" by someone who likes to tell others what to think. Folks are persuaded into thinking that it is a lexicon of supreme knowledge rather it is more mumbo jumbo. Since morality is largely self evident and people should read a wide range of material in order to grasp current meaning within their culture. Bible study is a way to keep people busy trying to figure out something that has little consensual meaning. It is a ritualistic device that is used to retain adherents. There is far more miracle involved when a person discovers a part of themselves through personal experience and observation instead of someone handing to you by the grace of peer pressure.

huckleberry said...

Since morality is largely self evident

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Thanks, I needed a good laugh...

Rev. Barking Nonsequitur said...

Good job huckle, practice makes perfect! Now, lets try typing a THREE (3) letter word 90 times without making a mistake. You can do it if you concentrate even harder than on the two letter ones. Good luck!

huckleberry said...

Your riposte would have been all the more endearing had you taken the six seconds necessary to accurately reflect the number of words repeated.
It was 96.
But I don't expect much from philosophic dilettantes these days anyhow.
Learn to count, cupcake...

kissyface said...

Boys, boys, boys, time out for you!

Rev. - I really don't agree about the Bible study. I do agree that much of it is archaic, but I think the central message of Christianity, as with all religions, is as relevant today as two thousand years ago. Love they neighbor as thyself, which is just the Golden Rule, which is the basic tenet of peace, which is what religions are largely after, really. At least I think it is. That's the morality that should be largely self evident and yet all of us fail to practice it on a daily, even hourly, basis.

I agree that the mythologies are time worn and in forms that few modern people can immediately relate to. Just the fact that you recognize the Sun God roots of the Christ story should be evidence that this storyline is one that gets recycled through the ages and probably isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Does it need a new suit? Probably. But that is what study is for, to ponder the metaphors and get at the heart of the matter. Not all Bible Study is dogmatic or hypnotic induction. There really are Christians out there why question and consider.

I'm not in Bible Study, but sometimes I wish I were, and not so I could become a Christian. My best friend is a total Bible thumper, this after full college hedonism, to which I was full witness. He's now hard core Covenant Church style, and we go round and round, because he really thinks that there is one way to go and it is Jesus. He also thinks that you don't go to heaven unless you let Christ into your life, and that merging cannot be merely the acceptance and practice of principles, one must obey the godhead itself. I ask him what sort of unloving and egoistic God keeps his righteous children from his Kingdom simply because they do not know his name, though they do his good works? For that matter, what kind of God withholds his bounty from any of his children.

He can't really answer this one, and that is where we diverge drastically.

So, while I get your pov, I also have to say there are many good, balanced people out there who follow doctrines, who don't lord it over the heads of others, who are thinking caring people, and their choice of a belief system and set of ground rules serves them well. Nothing is all bad or good. You know this. All religious discipline is intended to make you look within, like meditating on the mandala. But all systems, including secular schools, parenting, medicine, the courts, my blog, are vulnerable to agenda and abuse.

And if I understand Huckleberry correctly, I agree that rules of morality and comportment are clearly NOT obvious to all people. Some folks just weren't fetched up right. Human beings need both freedom and good boundaries. And you two snarkys are very funny in your snarkity snark, but maybe not very well behaved.

And I don't really care, go at each other if you must, but be respectful of people like GrizzBabe, who is very circumspect, sentient, loving and visibly evolving.

GrizzBabe - I agree with you. Absolutely, it is a miracle. It is "Wonderful." It's why we love literature so very much. Honestly, the magic of myth in metaphor is stronger when it exists outside of the realms of the "real" (whatever that is). It's something from the dream time, which tends to be read more potently anyway, because it is intended to be understood metaphysically.

Of course, I'm all for reading the signs in waking life too. I think it's all there if you are aware of it.

Ok, I'm going to take the steep and harrowing journey back down from my soap box now. Just remember, I love you all, so don't go away, but Jesus loves you more.

huckleberry said...

And you two snarkys are very funny in your snarkity snark, but maybe not very well behaved.

Of course not, I played hockey for god's sake.
Never the less, I obviously don't mean it personally, I'd happily buy the good, er, Reverend Bark a beer should I ever find myself in the same room as him. And you absolutely got my point, that morality is not now, nor has it ever been self-evident.
Not even close.
Despite our seeming differences (I live in the Valley, after all), you and I are remarkably similar in the way we choose to see the world.

kissyface said...

Hi Huck - Well, I take that as a compliment, though I think maybe you see that more clearly than I do. You've sort of explained that before, but maybe our tone differs so significantly from blog to blog (though curiously less so in your correspondence and comments here, and reactions to me there. Maybe sometime you'll illuminate me further. Until that time, I will continue to post Star Wars and other toys for your amusement. I do clearly register your sense of care, though it may wear a keratinated exoskeleton, not unlike a hockey player's plastic safeguard.

I suspect the Rev.'s Bark is worse than his bite. Where are you, Rev?