There's a big controversy blazing through the Internet this week, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out what the big deal is. Apparently a Costco store labeled their Bibles"fiction" and people got upset. So, um, it's not? Because this is news to me.
Oh calm down, I'm kidding. Of course I know many people of faith believe in the literal truth of the Bible. It was a pastor, Caleb Kaltenbach, who spotted the Bibles at a Costco in Simi Valley, California. He tweeted a photo of the Bible to spark a conversation. The store later apologized and said the placement was a mistake. The Bibles probably should have been labeled "religion." Whether or not you believe in the literal truthfulness of the Bible, that is certainly the genre most of us associate it with. But just to be certain, we reached out to Jesus Christ for a comment.
The Stir: Mr. Christ, what do you think about the Bible being labeled as fiction?
Jesus: Well, you know, I think it's an interesting question if you think about it. I mean, there is historical evidence of my existence. On the other hand, my story was written down a couple hundred years after my death. And the authors were working with an oral history of my life. You've played the game telephone?
The Stir: Lord, thou knowest I have. [LOLs from both of us, we high-five.] So you're saying maybe there have been some distortions along the way.
Jesus: Right. Don't even get me started on the translation issues. And then a lot of the Bible isn't actually narrative; it's preaching. It's polemic. So there's that. Plus a lot of mythology, Garden of Eden, flood, yada yada, similar to stories you'll see in a lot of other world religions. Are they true? Maybe, in a metaphorical sense. In the lessons they can teach us. But factually? Uh, I mean, come on ...
The Stir: So if you ran Costco --
The Stir: Okay, I know, that's ridiculous. But if you did, how would you classify the Bible?
Jesus: Well it kind of defies genre classification, if you really think about it. I mean, Moby Dick is considered fiction, but there are long passages that read more like nonfiction. The stories of the Bible figure prominently throughout literature, so I can see how it would make sense to put a few copies in the lit section, really. But yeah, clearly the Bible should have a "religion" tag. That's how most people see it, and I'm all about being accessible to as many people as possible.
The Stir: So I just have to ask, are you offended by Costco's mistake?
Jesus: Hah! It's me, Jesus Christ. Of course I'm not offended.
So there you have it. The word made flesh, or ... oh never mind. I'll just say one more thing, if you were offended by the idea of classifying the Bible as fiction, maybe you should remember you-know-who's admonition to turn the other cheek. I think it's enough that the error was brought to Costco's attention and they apologized for it.
Do you think very many people believe the Bible is literally true?
Image via Caleb Kaltenbach/Twitter