"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bible Replaced by "50 Shades of Grey"?

At one hotel, the hotel Bible has been replaced by the erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey. The Telegraph reports:
Mr Bartholomew, who runs the 40 bedroom Damson Dene Hotel, Crosthwaite, has placed the erotic best seller on the bedside cabinets of both male and female guests.
A copy of the Gideon Bible will be retained for those who want it - but they will have to request it at the reception desk.
His argument is that the Bible is also full of references to sex and violence and that the best seller is a much easier read.

Having to first state that I have not read 50 Shades of Grey, and do not intend to, I will state that the book has not received very favourable reviews from my friends. I have to also state the Bible is, itself, a tremendously important and, in my humble opinion, beautiful in some sense. Not the sense that devout or Fundamentalist Christians would mean; I do not find much -- if anything -- of spiritual value or moral guidance in any of its 66 books. Nor do I believe that any sort of deity or supernatural being had anything to do with its production.

But the Bible is a library of ancient thoughts, stitched together over a period spanning more than 1500 years. There are myriad and diverse voices screaming to be heard in the cacophony of its pages, generations of editors, copyists, and others vying for space. The Bible is beautiful precisely in its contradictions, because it is in those places that we see the faces of our ancestral ghosts. It is a tome of humanity, embedded with all of its flaws.

And, being a library, it contains many different kinds of things.

For example, Ecclesiastes reads more like something that a 19th century existentialist might have penned.

And, as another example, the Bible contains what might now be identified as literotica. Presumably, this is Mr Bartholomew's point.

Song of Solomon is a deeply sexual book. Examine its first paragraph:
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
Or Ezekiel 23:11-21:
11 “Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister. 12 She too lusted after the Assyrians—governors and commanders, warriors in full dress, mounted horsemen, all handsome young men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself; both of them went the same way.
14 “But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans[a] portrayed in red, 15 with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea.[b] 16 As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.[c]

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