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Monday, June 21, 2010

How Many Bibles Do You Own?

If you're like most people, you probably own several. I can't even guess how many I own. I think I may go and count them later just out of curiosity. But, if I had to guess I would say at least 30! I know even several of my atheist, Buddhist and Muslim friends own Bibles. There is clearly an abundance of Bibles in America. Anyone who wants one can have on, even those who don't want one can easily get one and usually for FREE!!

We watched The Book Of Eli last night. Without giving away the whole plot for those who haven't seen it, let me just say it is basically a battle between good and evil for the last remaining copy of the Bible. Both sides understand the power of the Book. Of course the evil side wants to use it to control people. The lengths both sides will go through to obtain and keep this Book that we just take for granted really makes you stop and think. At least it did me.

It isn't just this fictional movie, but there are plenty of real life examples of people groups who valued this book both in the not so long ago past and even now today who would do just about anything for their very own copy of the Bible.

I saw a movie several years ago based on fact about the illegal printing of Bibles in the former Soviet Union. These people literally risked their lives to assure there would be Bibles for those who wanted them. It showed how people would share one stapled together copy of the Gospel of John. People would risk everything for this book. This was not very long ago, and probably still happens in several places around the world.

Not too long ago our church participated in putting together copies of the New Testament for a native tribe in Papa New Guinea. These people were so excited to get a copy of the Bible in their own language that they walked several miles, some with bare feet, all with smiles on their faces to receive their own copy, which they paid for with what little money they had. Several tribes came just to see and share the joy even though it wasn't in their language, they knew that soon it would be. Can you imagine a scene like this taking place in America? I sure can't.

Here in America most church goers don't even take one of their 30 or so Bibles to church anymore. When I grew up, we all took our Bibles to church, and used them. Even the children. There was hardly a person under the age of 10 that couldn't locate the chapter and verse the pastor was teaching from. Today I am surprised when I see adults my age and older who can't quickly locate a chapter, or aren't even sure if the chapter they're looking for is in the New or Old Testament.

Yet in places where the Bible is so precious, whole entire books of the Bible are memorized. Many here in America don't know more than one or two verses by heart!

Many like to claim America is a Christian nation, and of course the other side likes to argue that it isn't. Looking at the evidence which side do you agree with?

I can't help but wonder what happened? I don't think it was always like this. I know it wasn't. If you look at school texts from less than even 100 years ago, it is clear that Christianity was alive and well in America. I don't mean just the superficial signs of Christianity such as owning a Bible or going to church, but actually LIVED and PRACTICED. Today the Bible or any mention of the contents of isn't even allowed in the government schools.

If Christianity was based on how many Bibles we owned, or how often we went to church we might win the argument that America is a Christian nation. If it is judged on how much of the Bible we actually know or how much we cherish it or the lengths we'd go through to protect it.....I am not so sure.

As one of my good friends email siggy says so well: "going to church makes you a Christian no more than standing in a garage makes you a car."

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