Thursday, November 03, 2011

Twelve Passages from the Book of Jeremiah

Inspirational Christian images are very, very common.  You have almost certainly seen them all your life, with or without noticing.  They consist of a short biblical verse printed over a photograph that may be thematically linked to the quotation, or may just be a sunset, a rainbow, or some similar attractive scene.

In addition to their substantial brick-and-mortar presence, these images are also widely displayed, offered, and sold (!) here online.  I run into them constantly when I am working on MRtB, and over time I have come to find them a little troubling.  So I thought I would make a little game.

What follows are:

Six typical inspirational religious images based on quotes from the first half of Jeremiah, found randomly on the internet.

Six additional images, also based on quotes from the first half of Jeremiah, that I assembled myself (I used one a few posts back).
And the three questions, if you are playing the game, are: "Can you tell the difference? How? and What, if any, are the implications?"














Anonymous said...

hello, its good to see you start back on the project. i think yours are 2,3,6,7,10,12. the easy answer concerning the implications of this is to say that there is extensive bowdlerization of holy books amongst the fundamentalist faithful, but then realizing that i was unsure of number 8, i think the answer may be more complex. i believe that the faithful may have a curious way of using some exegetical,hermeunetical,or cognitive gymnastics to ignore such plain language. when a verse from the bible appears to be divisive,hateful,irrational,intolerant,violent etc. they can simply not recognize as being such. even so i guess they recognize it enough not to put it on a poster.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon here randomly, but wanted to let you know that this is one of most clever things I've seen done with Bible verses in a long time. I really appreciate your criticism of typical Christian glorification of all the "nice" and "pretty" passages, but not taking seriously the harsher ones. Thanks!

Michael5000 said...

Hi, anonymous people! A belated hanks for your comments as I get this project rolling again.

I have shown these images in other forums, and everyone always knows instantly which are the "real" ones and the "fake" ones, except for #8 -- the most ambiguous "real" one I was able to find.

I always feel a little bad now when I see this kind of Bible image. On one hand, someone is presumably trying to put together a word and image that will inspire them and help them face the day with courage and cheer. I don't like to be the guy who hates on that, but at the same time I've really come to see this use of Biblical quotation to be a subtle but powerful means of refusing to engage with the Bible as it really is.