Why I had to abandon the Bible and pick up a book about puppies.

May 11, 2009

Cain & Abel -Even for kids it’s still murder.

As most of you know, I recently wrote a novel about God and advertising. Maybe you’ve read The Happy Soul Industry; thank you very much. For those that haven’t -What are you waiting for -hell to freeze over? (Forgive that cliche’, however appropriate.)

So I was reading to my little girls last night before bed. We chose the Illustrated Children’s Bible, a text that was given to them last week at Sunday school.

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth,” reads that most famous of opening lines. A few more sentences in, “God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Have all of you read the Bible? The opening copy is pretty terrific. Unfortunately, the text grows clunky and wearisome and, almost as if to alleviate the boredom, horrifyingly violent. Within four pages, Cain murders his only brother, his “blood staining the earth.”

Dull and/or horrifying does not a good bedtime story make. I made an executive decision and switched from The Children’s Illustrated Bible to a book about dogs. This the children sparked to. Plus, I was reasonably sure a cavalcade of preening puppies would not give my children nightmares…not like that scary Bible.

In The Happy Soul Industry, God reasons the Bible too old fashioned and violent, which inspires Her (in my novel God is a She) to seek out an advertising agency ostensibly for new copy. That, more or less, is the premise of The Happy Soul Industry. It was odd, then, to experience my own children recoiling from the Bible. The God in my novel is right! The Old Testament is archaic. If God and Heaven are to be considered by new generations then a new campaign is in order.

Anyway, file this under art imitating life. And while you’re at it why not drag a copy of the novel in your Amazon shopping cart? The link is below.
God bless!

Happy Soul Industry Amazon link


5 Responses to “Why I had to abandon the Bible and pick up a book about puppies.”

  1. I’m not sure why, but you remind me of a parallel story, something far afield from religion. In the world of crossword puzzles (I’ll try to make the connection in a second), the previous long-time New York Times editor of this daily feature, Eugene Maleska, presided over this corner of the paper with a iron-fist and classical outlook. The clues and solutions followed a rigid, archaic pattern, with everyday events and colloquial phrases largely disallowed. None of this was surprising, given Maleska’s background as a Latin teacher. Crossword puzzlers, in turn, became older as the pursuit was increasingly less relevant to younger readers and generations. That is, until Will Shortz was named the new editor about 15 years ago. Shortz said anything which might make the pages of the paper–i.e., current events–should be fair game for the puzzle, and with that pronouncement, a huge veil was lifted, and popularity re-ignited. The biggest proof is that the five-time world’s champion is a 24-year-old (!) Chicagoan, Tyler Hinman, who lives in a Wrigleyville flat with a bunch of his buddies. Will Shortz hasn’t totally solved the perception problem, though: when Hinman and his roommates go bar-hopping, one of the gang will try to get him hooked up with an available young lady by telling her about Hinman’s world wide puzzling prowess. The typical response:
    “Crosswords? Oh yeah, my grandmother does those.”

  2. Andrew said

    A sage CD will tell you that advertising and marketing have concerned themselves with discovering new ways to tell the same stories, so that “nothing is new under the sun.” The same is true of the 66-book compilation we call the Bible.

    The bloody narratives, the rape and incest and everything else point towards authenticity– after all, could a historian ever write “secular” history without a certain serving of evil? But who is evil– God or us?

    J.B. Phillips wrote, after translating and paraphrasing the Gospels, “I have read, in Greek and Latin, scores of myths, but I did not find the slightest flavour of myth here…. No man could have set down such artless and vulnerable accounts as these unless some real Event lay behind them.”

    Increasingly, people put more pressure on the Christians to change their message, to “tone it down,” but we cannot, because the Torah, the Law and the Prophets were good enough for Jesus. So they must work for us as well.

  3. SRP said

    wonderful and insightful comments…
    I love the argument that only the truth could be so blunt and bloody. I’d never thought of it that way. And Bill-
    I’ve heard about the NY Times Crossword guy. I believe he (and his anal shtick) was even parodied on the Simpsons!

  4. Though I have a fondness for Christianity and the concept of Jesus, I am highly suspect of regarding the Bible as the authentic and complete message of God and Christ.

    Remember, the highly dysfunctional and blatantly authoritarian Holy Roman Catholic Church had centuries of dominance over the Bible’s content.

    I recommend that a person complement their Biblical studies with a study of the Nag Hammadi texts, and the Apocrypha. Gives a whole new perspective on Christ and the actual teachings of the early church.

    God doesn’t have to write a new Bible, we just need to restore the teachings that have been hidden.

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