I once got into an argument with an American Christian that was alternately amusing and exasperating (violence is okay, perfectly natural in fact, but sex is evil and corrupting). At some point he claimed that a “secular mind” couldn’t possibly comprehend how important the Bible is.
Which is bollocks. The Bible is a big book of allegories and fables that are best understood as such rather than taken as historical truth. Which is where Douglas Rushkoff is coming from with his new comic from DC- Testament.
As I’ve always understood them, and as I try to convey them in my comic book, the stories in the Bible are less significant because they happened at some moment in history than because their underlying dynamics seem to be happening in all moments. We are all Cain, struggling with our feelings about a sibling who seems to be more blessed than we are. We are always escaping the enslaved mentality of Egypt and the idolatry we practiced there. We are all Mordechai, bristling against the pressure to bow in subservience to our bosses.
But true believers don’t have this freedom. Whether it’s because they need the Bible to prove a real estate claim in the Middle East, because they don’t know how to relate something that didn’t really happen, or because they require the threat of an angry super-being who sees all in order behave like good children, true believers – what we now call fundamentalists – are not in a position to appreciate the truth and beauty of the Holy Scriptures. No, the multi-dimensional document we call the Bible is not available to them because, for them, all those stories have to be accepted as historical truth.