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Quote# 83090

As I recall, in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow," a group of people is attempting to survive a period of intense cold in the NY Public Library. Naturally, they start burning books to keep warm. The atheist character ultimately consigns Nietzsche to the flames - perhaps the last surviving copies of Nietzsche's work. Shockingly, he retains a Gutenberg Bible - because it represents the dawn of the age of reason.

I think the point is obvious. If all of Western Civilization were to be suddenly destroyed, what ONE THING would you choose to save? With the Bible, you could rebuild all the rest.

The King James Bible stands as perhaps the most influential version of the Bible, and thus is one of the most important bases of Western Civ.

[In response to the comment "I'd save an Encyclopedia":]

An encyclopedia won't help you develop the belief that time is linear, that the universe was created by a rational being and therefore can be rationally studied, or that a man has unalienable rights. It also won't inspire Handel's Messiah or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The list goes on.

Plus, they won't let you bring the entire set of encylopedias on the evac helicopter!

Daniel Walker, WSJ 85 Comments [8/9/2011 9:17:12 AM]
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Lucifrix

But...why would we need to develop the belief that time is linear? We already know that.

This is just one big ball of "Huh?"

8/9/2011 9:30:02 AM

Power Skunk

Uhhh, but the atheist character didn't save the Bible because it brought in the age of YOUR kind of reason.
A history lesson, mainly about how books were handscribed, and expensive as all fucking hell, BEFORE Gutenberg's press, thus keeping books like the Bible out of the hands of the common man. Once the press made it much cheaper to print books, Joseph Clothsackfilledwithpastries could get his hands on books, and thus make his own interpretations of what they contained.
THAT is the age of reason the atheist was talking about, it took interpretation of the Bible out of the hands of the elite clergy caste, and put it into the hands of the laiety(sp?).
The Gutenberg press was a huge step out of the Christian Dark Ages. That's what that atheist fellow meant.
But do go ahead and read more information than was meant into it. It's not like you don't do that to every other fucking thing you read anyway.

8/9/2011 9:37:05 AM

beehummingbird

"As I recall, in the movie "The Day After Tomorrow," a group of people is attempting to survive a period of intense cold in the NY Public Library. Naturally, they start burning books to keep warm. The atheist character ultimately consigns Nietzsche to the flames - perhaps the last surviving copies of Nietzsche's work. Shockingly, he retains a Gutenberg Bible - because it represents the dawn of the age of reason.

I think the point is obvious. If all of Western Civilization were to be suddenly destroyed, what ONE THING would you choose to save? With the Bible, you could rebuild all the rest"

No. He wanted to save that copy of the Gutenberg Bible because it was one of the first books ever printed using a automated printing press, and he thought the invention of the printing press was the dawn of the age of reason. The fact that it happened to be a bible was irrelevant.

@Power Skunk You beat me to it :(

8/9/2011 9:37:50 AM



Completely missing the point. The whole point of saving a Gutenberg bible was that it was the first printed book, not that it was a bible in particular.

8/9/2011 9:41:29 AM

freako104

Ever read your Bible? Unbelievers in it didn't have many rights.

8/9/2011 9:42:42 AM

Berny

I wouldn't necessarily burn the Bible but not for the reasons you state, which are absolute nonsense. I would save it for the same reason I wouldn't burn "The Iliad."

8/9/2011 9:43:01 AM

N. De Plume

So the New York Public Library has the only copies of Nietzshe’s work?

I think not.

8/9/2011 9:44:01 AM

Papabear

Trust me, I would not be saving a Bible.

Those commissioned by the Church to create art for the Church will use whatever themes the Church would appreciate. You wouldn't paint crosses if you were being paid to paint a Jewish temple ceiling.

8/9/2011 9:44:47 AM

JohnTheAtheist

The belief that a Jewish man died for your sins would never be rediscovered upon an apocalyptic extinction level event.

You are a real dope.

8/9/2011 9:47:56 AM

Mister Spak

"An encyclopedia won't help you develop the belief that time is linear, that the universe was created by a rational being and therefore can be rationally studied, "

That's why I would save the encyclopedia, because I want to avoid belifs that will hinder the rise of a rational advanced society.

8/9/2011 9:52:06 AM

dionysus

If I had to save one book it wouldn't be the damn Bible. While I wouldn't have burned the Gutenberg Bible either (due to it being one of the first printed books, as everyone else here has mentioned), if I absolutely HAD to choose only one book to rescue from the destruction of all books it'd be a book about the scientific method. If I got to take four more somehow, I'd also take a book on agriculture, architecture, medicine, and civics.

8/9/2011 9:54:24 AM

Whitecroc

I would've saved a copy of Planescape: Torment, in a format that would still be accessible after the end. Or maybe the collected works of Shakespeare. Well, assuming I wouldn't be restricted to books.

8/9/2011 10:02:10 AM

gravematter

"An encyclopedia won't help you develop the belief that time is linear"

- Yes it will.

"that the universe was created by a rational being and therefore can be rationally studied"

- One does not depend on the other.

"or that a man has unalienable rights."

- "Rights" are a man-made idea. The concept of "unalienable rights" is a necessary product of a workable society.

"It also won't inspire Handel's Messiah or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel."

- Handel or Michaelangelo would have been great artists without referencing god. There are as many great secular works of art as religious ones.

"Plus, they won't let you bring the entire set of encylopedias on the evac helicopter!"

- Thankfully, due to the dreaded science, we are able to store an entire encyclopedia on a memory stick.

And atheists don't necesserally respect Nietzche. Given a choice between saving a copy of Nietzche, and a Gutenberg bible, I'd probably choose the bible too. Gutenberg's printing press is a symbol of the dawn of the enlightenment. You know the enlightenment? That was, to a large extent, (in its scientific aspects at least), a product of people realising that blind faith wasn't good enough, and that going against the established beliefs, even at the risk of church persecution (Galileo etc), was the way to discover universal truths.

It's unbearable.




8/9/2011 10:03:29 AM

Murdin

"An encyclopedia won't help you develop the belief that time is linear, that the universe was created by a rational being and therefore can be rationally studied, or that a man has unalienable rights."

Neither will the Bible. The Bible says nothing about the nature of time, nowhere does it say that the Universe can and ought to be rationally studied, and that whole embarrassing slavery stuff kinda contradicts the idea of unalienable rights.

8/9/2011 10:03:42 AM

John

An encyclopedia won't help you develop the belief that time is linear, that the universe was created by a rational being and therefore can be rationally studied, or that a man has unalienable rights.

What "inalienable rights" did the God-fearing people at Beziers have when the Catholic church indiscriminately slaughtered everyone in the city in order to root out a handful of "heretics"? What copy of the Bible did Aristotle use?

8/9/2011 10:11:44 AM

pete

With a small group surviving the apocalypse it would only be a generation or two before reading probably becomes a lost art. Still, I would save the Boy Scout Handbook or some other book that contains survival skills.

8/9/2011 10:13:09 AM

StoneSpiral

I'm Neo-Pagan and I think I'd save the Gutenberg Bible too. Not because it's a bible but because it represents the crawling steps of technology that set the stage for the advancements we have now.

8/9/2011 10:19:04 AM

Lucilius

One of the many things of which Danny-boy here is obviously ignorant is that Gutenberg's first choice of books to print wasn't an act of reverence; it was an act of rebellion. Mass production of Bibles let people read it for themselves instead of relying on priests to tell them what was in it. Without the easy availability of Bibles to those who didn't have a vested interest in the religious status quo, would we have ever had the rise of Biblical criticism? And without that, would we yet know all the ways in which the Bible contradicts reality, if preachers could reply to every scientific discovery with "Oh, yeah, that's in there too. Trust me?"

8/9/2011 10:25:45 AM

Doubting Thomas

I seriously don't understand the love affair the fundies have with the King James version of the bible. Nothing like having a book to live your life by written in archaic English rather than easier to understand modern English. But, I've often believed that they like the harder to understand KJV because they can then use it to justify all their beliefs, and it's easier to come up with alternate translations of passages which are contradictory or factually wrong.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure the Gutenberg bible wasn't a King James version.

8/9/2011 10:44:35 AM

ME24601

The book they burned was clearly not the last surviving copy of Nietzsche's work...

8/9/2011 10:59:31 AM

N. De Plume

Originally posted by Lucilius

One of the many things of which Danny-boy here is obviously ignorant is that Gutenberg's first choice of books to print wasn't an act of reverence; it was an act of rebellion.

Indeed. That’s why it really is a symbol of reason!

8/9/2011 11:00:55 AM

John-in-Oz

I'd take "How things work"

8/9/2011 11:07:59 AM

Leenie

But everyone knows time's not linear; it's a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.

8/9/2011 11:16:02 AM

ChakatBlackstar

He saved it for the historical value...not the content.

8/9/2011 11:21:40 AM

Musicalbookworm

Well, I'd probably save the Gutenberg Bible as well, but then I'm a rare books librarian....I'd save whatever incunabula I could.

8/9/2011 11:26:10 AM
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