GQ Says the Bible Isn’t an Essential Read, and Christians Are Shocked, Shocked!

GQ magazine took a critical look at the hallowed halls of literature and identified 21 famous books that are so flawed that you should probably skip them, including… the Bible.

“21 Books You Don’t Have to Read,” says the headline, and clearly it’s just a recommendation. No one should have to read any book, ever. Except that lots of Christians apparently think that not only must you devour their good book, you must adore it. They need fainting couches and smelling salts when someone, somewhere, shrugs and smiles and offers a different opinion.

The novelist Jesse Ball, who penned the GQ entry about the Bible not being a truly vital book, had about a 70-word limit in which to make his case. Here’s what he wrote:

The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.

Ball recommends ditching the Bible for The Notebook, a 1986 novel by Agota Kristof.

Religious offense-takers came out in droves, and some promptly violated the Ninth Commandment — the one against bearing false witness.

Take Fr. Jonathan Morris, the priest who is a regular on FOX & Friends. Before he’d even opened his mouth, Fox had begun dutifully chumming the waters with a chyron that read

GQ: IS BIBLE MOST OVERRATED BOOK OF ALL TIME?

But the GQ piece neither asked that question nor made that claim.

When Morris spoke, he soon erected an even bigger strawman, asserting falsely that GQ had said that the Bible and the other books on the list should be

“… digitally burned, which doesn’t sound like a very hip thing.”

In truth, the magazine article said precisely nothing about actual or digital book-burning. Anything to stoke the persecution narrative, I guess.

On Facebook, the evangelist Franklin Graham was also in a snit, suggesting

Maybe the GQ editors need to read it again. The subject of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is Jesus Christ. And one day soon, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.

Uh-huh. “One day soon.”

A Twitter user named David Evenson shared the hurt and anger, voicing the sentiments of many Christians by pointing out that

The Bible is the all time best seller the most reprinted book ever.

And? That always makes me think of 50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong. Of course they can. Fallacies, like that hoary argumentum ad populum, convince no one who thinks about it for more than a second.

For what it’s worth, like Richard Dawkins, I think the Bible is an important book like no other, on account of its unparalleled foundational influence on Western culture. I’d recommend reading it in its entirety, if only to get the full effect of its immorality and irrationality.

We know for a fact that, as Ball alleged, the vast majority of Christians have done no such thing, leading honest Jesus fans to concede

“Even among worship attendees less than half read the Bible daily. The only time most Americans hear from the Bible is when someone else is reading it.”

Still, that fact doesn’t stop virtue-signaling non-readers of the Bible from springing to the holy book’s defense every chance they get. It makes for a slightly embarrassing but always entertaining performance.

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