Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Smoking Books?

Some Brisbane atheist has made himself a minor celebrity by smoking homemade cigarettes using pages from the Bible and the Koran as the rolling papers (link to article).

It seems like a dumb and unhealthy move. It is also a violation of the 3rd commandment to show a lack of reverence for God's word. Obviously, I'm opposed to his actions.

I wonder whether Christians agree with me? Is it no big deal, or is this something that we should be upset about? Also, for those upset that Christians were going to burn Korans, does this atheist's actions also fall within your criticism (he's not trying to evangelize the Muslims, after all - so are his actions indifferent)?

- TurretinFan


wtanksley said...

I am upset at the Christians burning Korans. I'm not particularly upset at this atheist.

The difference is that the Christians are doing that "in my name" -- they claim to be doing it as Christians when they are actually not acting in any Christian way.

Furthermore, this atheist doesn't need to merely stop burning Bibles; he needs to repent from the sin of rejecting God.

Due to Islamic beliefs, burning a Koran has to be considered as though it were an act of war -- much like telling someone that their mother is fat (I don't know, but that may be a compliment in some less well off society). And as an act of war, it fails Christian Just War theory in that it contains absolutely no chance of success -- it's a useless gesture, not an actually tactical attack. As part of a strategy it could imaginably be honorable (so long as the other conditions of Just War were fulfilled), but the pastor here is not engaging in a Just War; rather, he's just throwing out the gesture and letting other people handle the cleanup for him.

Coram Deo said...


In your opinion considering the recent discussions surrounding the proper interpretation and application of the 2nd Commandment as it relates to human beings attempting to image any of the three Persons of God, could the same (or similar) types of arguments as were deployed against "anti-imagists" also be deployed against the subject act being a violation of the 3rd Commandment?

Perhaps this is overly simplistic, but as I understood the crux of the pro-image position (or anti anti-image position if you prefer) the answer to the question depends upon the heart motivation(s) of the individual(s) involved in the allegedly antinomian activity.

What say you?

In Him,

Lockheed said...

smoking ink isnt smart.

Fredericka said...

As to burning the Bible, the atheist is the one who should be upset, because he is multiplying his condemnation as did Jehoiakim: "And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth." (Jeremiah 36:23-30). We should warn him of the consequences of his actions, in a friendly way. As to the Koran, it's just paper. We are all learning how to be dhimmis by showing alarm.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I am not "for" burning Qur'ans since it does not advance the gospel; indeed, it hinders the Christian witness and book burning is idiotic anyway. Muslims regard each individual copy of the Qur'an as sacred unto itself rather than copies of a master original.

On the other hand, I am not bothered by this atheist burning a Bible. Go ahead. We'll make more. But from the standpoint of his own condemnation before God because of his heart's evil intent, I would rather he not do it. Other than that I can't say it "bothers me" in the slightest.

Now if they come for my Bible, or to confiscate another believer's, that's a different matter.

Anonymous said...


my thoughts precisely! And a dumb thing to do, besides the theological issues raised!

Anonymous said...

Assuming he is an atheist, the Scripture has nothing good for him so it makes sense he would do that.

I would not know this without "first" having the Gift of Faith to know that there is nothing good for him.

Since we were all atheist before the Law came alive and we too, died, the Gift of Faith given, I am not discouraged to say he is a fool according to the Scriptures because he is smoking homemade cigarettes using pages from the Bible and the Koran to smoke.

Job 5:1 "Call now; is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?
Job 5:2 Surely vexation kills the fool, and jealousy slays the simple.
Job 5:3 I have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling.
Job 5:4 His children are far from safety; they are crushed in the gate, and there is no one to deliver them.

Rev 20:9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,
Rev 20:10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Rev 20:14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Rev 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

steve said...

Those who burn the word of God in this life will find the God of the word burning them in the next life.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Oooh. Well said, brother.

Fredericka said...

A conundrum:
Rabbi Tarfon taught it was a religious obligation to burn certain books, say for example the New Testament: "It was stated in the text: The blank spaces and the Books of the Minim, we may not save them from a fire. . .R. Tarfon said: May I bury my son if I would not burn them together with their Divine Names if they came to my hand." (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbath 116a). When Rabbi Tarfon says, "if they came to my hand," I suppose he means via some legitimate route such as purchase versus snatching them out of the owner's hand by robbery. Rabbi Tarfon's right to "the free exercise" of his religion is guaranteed by the First Amendment (other than the fact that he's long dead and didn't live here). If Rabbi Tarfon is not allowed to burn the books he believes he is required by his religion to burn, owing to pressure and threats from on high, has his First Amendment right to the free exercise of his religion been safeguarded or trashed?

Strong Tower said...

"Due to Islamic beliefs, burning a Koran has to be considered as though it were an act of war"

Depends, if it is not an authorized Arabic editition, the orthodox Muslim would want them destroyed. So, any one burning alternative to the Arabic would be doing a service to the Muslim community, no? We might even be come their allies...

As to burning bibles. I can't count the numbers of used and abused copies of the bible I have seen and destroyed. Paper is not sacred, nor the printed word. We take more care in burning the flag than in destroying the words written upon a page. Beside, the neglect of reading the Bible, is by far a greater insult to the grace which delivered it to us, isn't it?

The bible is not the Word, it is just a copy of it. Sound familiar? That is the Islamic belief, but it is ours likewise. What someone wants to do with the bible is their concern. My concern is the attitude that they are doing it in. If it is meant to be blasphemy, it would be blasphemy if it was balogna out of which he was making cigars as a sign of disrespect for God.

I suppose there are a myriad of issues we could get our knickers in a knot over, like Sunday football, but come on, the substance of the Day is not bound up in the day. Likewise, the substance of the Word is not bound up in the printed page.

Let's see, can we eat the word? I am thinking, there is precedence in Scripture that would make that okay, isn't there?

"Now if they come for my Bible, or to confiscate another believer's, that's a different matter."

May I suggest that the Bible makes an excellent weapon. Hard cover is best, but if you have one of those extra large editions, the little place keeper strings... make a great garrote.

Is using the Bible as a weapon adiaphora?