The great owner’s manual in the sky
Like most of the great discoveries of our time, this one started with a sarcastic comment.The Jehovah’s Witnesses had stopped by and I was having a chat with them, or vice versa. They were pleasant enough and I enjoyed listening to their point of view, as it was a nice reminder that there lots of different points of view just outside my door.The woman doing most of the talking asked me what I thought of the Bible as a tool for guidance. I answered, somewhat flippantly, that sure, I guess you could use that book for guidance, but if it wasn’t handy then you could just as effectively use the phone book, or any book, for that matter.She was obviously shocked, and asked me what the hell I meant, though not in those exact words.I explained that I thought that if you really have a burning, sincerequestion, then The Universe will provide you with the answer wherever you look; Bible, phone book, art supply catalog … didn’t really matter.They haven’t been back since. Not that that was my goal or anything.But as I closed the door on the JW’s, I started to wonder about thevalidity of my theory – how does the Bible really hold up against other, less holy publications when it comes to divine guidance?So, what follows is a head-to-head grudge match, the Holy Bible (King James Version) vs. other printed material I have around the house. I have posed a few BIG questions, opened the Bible to a random page and read where my eyes landed, then done the same with its competitor. I think you’ll be shocked by the results.Question One: What is the meaning of life?Bible: 1 Chronicles 14:3 – "And David took more wives at Jerusalem; and David begat more sons and daughters."Yellow Pages – "Air Duct Cleaning Center – Commercial and Residential – prompt, friendly service, ASCR Certified."Winner: The Bible takes this round, as polygamy is certainly a lot more fun than spring cleaning.Question Two: What happens after we die?Bible: Isaiah 57:17 – "For the iniquity of his covetousness was Iwroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on forwardly in the way of his heart."Uniden 900Mhz Cordless Phone Owner’s Manual:"When speaking on the handset – 1. Press SPEAKER on the base to join the 3-way conversation. 2. Press SPEAKER on the base to hang up. The handset will still be connected to the outline call."Winner: This one goes to the cordless phone instructions, handset down.All that iniquity and smoting just does not sound like the makings of a good afterlife, especially if the alternative is 3-way calling.Question Three: How can I deal with fear?Bible: Deuteronomy 32:37-38 – "And he shall say, where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection."The Encyclopedia of Bad Taste, by Jane and Michael Stern – Entry:"Epigrams" – "The large intestine is the mainspring of youth and beauty."Winner: I think these two are too complementary to even be considered competition. The message I’m getting is that lots of food and drink (and all that follows from such activities) are the way to deal with fear. Amen.Question Four: Must I suffer to get close to God?Bible: Proverbs 26:17 – "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strifebelonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears."Back of an album cover: "Let the cares and concerns of the day go tothe dickens! Drop them, and come on and visit another Dickens – ‘Little’ Jimmy Dickens – who’s giving a one man jamboree of his greatest hits."Winner: I’ve gotta go with "Little" Jimmy Dickens here. I’ve taken adog by the ears before, and even though a one man jamboree may not bring me closer to the divine, it requires substantially less rabies shots.(Next time: Barry, having misplaced his wallet, consults both the Bible and a box of Pop Tarts for clues. And you are there!)Barry Smith, an Aspen-based freelance writer, moves his lips while writing this column, and hopes you do the same while reading it. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web page at http://www.Irrelativity.com.
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