Irrelativity: Pitting the Bible against less-divine sources
Like most of my ideas, this one started with a smart-ass comment.The Jehovahs Witnesses were at my doorstep, witnessing. I enjoy their visits, but not for the reasons theyd hope. I enjoy them because it reminds me of how grateful I am that I dont have any convictions that require me to get all dressed up and go door-to-door. Heck, my strongest conviction barely requires me to wear pants.So, were chatting away, and they ask me what I think of the Bible as a book of guidance. I say I think its probably fine, but then again, so is the phone book. And Im only half-joking, but they dont seem to think my half of the joke is funny. I try to explain that I believe guidance comes in many forms. If your toilet is stopped up, it could be that looking up Plumber in the Yellow Pages will be of more use to you than opening the Bible and flipping to the parable of The Wicked Husbandman.My example was not well received. They left without even giving me a Watchtower. Thats not good. This was a few years ago, and ever since then Ive repeatedly pondered this idea does guidance really come from everywhere? Ive written about it a few times, pitting the Bible against things like road signs, want ads and swimwear laundering advice tags, with some interesting results. However, some accused my comparisons of being unfair, due to my lack of knowledge of the Bible.And they have a point. However, Ive just discovered biblegateway.com, an online, keyword-searchable Bible. The entire Good Book is now at my fingertips, meaning todays comparisons will be fair and balanced.So, heres how it works: Ive posed a few common questions, then compared the guidance offered by the Bible as per an online search with the guidance found in other, potentially less divinely-inspired sources. Its an ongoing feature I like to call …
Question: Can I mail in my VISA bill without a stamp?Answer # 1 – Bible: Did a search for the word stamp and got This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Strike your hands together and STAMP your feet and cry out Alas! because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the house of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague. (Ezekiel 6:11)Answer # 2 Back of VISA return envelope: Dont forget to stamp this envelope. Under the new postal regulations, mail without a postage stamp will not be delivered.WINNER: VISA envelope.Q: When trimming my nose hairs, how far up my nose should I put my new electric nose hair trimmer?A # 1 Bible: No results for nose hair. Or electric. Trimmer returned many results, all on the same theme They also took away the pots, shovels, wick TRIMMERS, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. (2 Kings 25:14)A # 2 Included instructions in nose hair trimmer: Do not put trimmer more than 1/4 inch into nostril.WINNER: The trimmer instructions offer the clearest advice, though I have to say I kinda take it as a challenge. A quarter inch? I can double that, easily.Q: Are there places where, just out of politeness, I shouldnt use my cell phone?A # 1 Bible: Seems to have no opinion on this one. I searched for cell phone, phone, iPhone, wireless, Blackberry, Verizon and AT&T. Nothing.A # 2 Hand-written sign at local sandwich shop: Please refrain from using your cell phone in the vicinity of the front counter.WINNER: Well call this one a tie. I was searching the King James version of the Bible. Maybe the New American Standard translation offers advice on cell phone etiquette.Q: My dog just took a big dump on Barrys walkway not on his yard, but right there on the brick path that leads to his front door. Do I have to pick it up?A # 1 Bible: No results for my searches for dog poop, dog crap, or dog doodie. After several variations I was finally able to get a match, sort of … Remove from Shittim to the Jordan River. (Joshua 3:31)A # 2 Sign on downtown sidewalk: Curb and clean up after your dog.WINNER: The sign, of course. But someone in my neighborhood is continually siding with the Bible on this one … hey, wait a minute … are Jehovahs Witnesses allowed to have dogs?Read more from Barry Smith at http://www.barrysmith.com.
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