Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Destruction of Holy Books 

It isn't the medium, it's the message that's important. I get the same thrill reading the words of the Star Spangled Banner online as on paper. Thomas Paine's message that "These are the times that try men's souls" have the same rhythm and power in html as in print. The Song of Songs is just as profound. The gospels contain the same message in searchable, Microsoft Reader format as in a pink Precious Moments Bible.

The only interesting scene from the movie Day After Tomorrow (about the destruction of the world through a made-up global cooling storm) concerned an athiest gripping the Gutenburg Bible. The main characters are holed up in a library in New York, and they're burning books for warmth. This man has a death grip on one of Gutenburg's original Bibles, lest it be accidentally burned, because without what the book symbolized, without the printing press, man is nothing. And I could agree with him, to a point. And that point is death. If the question becomes death or the burning of a copy of the Gutenburg Bible, then I'd relutantly burn the Bible. However, if I thought that this was the only copy of the Bible left AT ALL - well, let's just say I don't ever want to make that choice.

A man whose blog I read destroyed a Koran. Actually, more than one. He videotaped shooting the books and posted it to his blog. Yes, he acted like as ass. He'd be the first to admit it. But he bought the books. And he didn't destroy the text - there are other Korans. The message still exists, even if those copies of the books don't.

Still, he got a fatwa called on him. For destroying paper. People want his head and his body in two separate piles.

I'm not worried about him. Well, I am, but I have faith in his training, his awareness, and his arsenal (I think he has more firearms than I have ammo for my Glock. And that both speaks well for him and poorly - I need more ammo). He can take care of himself and his family. I worry about the sanity of someone who would threaten to kill another for damaging paper, even if that paper symbolizes something greater than man.

Anyone who knows me knows I love America. I have pictures of flags in my office. I have all four verses of the Star Spangled Banner on my wall. I have a picture of St. Louis' cathedral in New Orleans. I have lots of pictures of my mixed race family. Destroy any one of those, or your own copies of any of them, and I'll get really pissed off. But unless you're burning the last Bible or destroying the Bamiyan statues or killing a person, I won't stop you. I won't advocate a law against you destroying what's yours.

Man cannot destroy the word of God. Man can only act like an ass. God can take care of Himself if He wants His words undamaged.

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