GQ Slams ‘Overrated’ Bible, But Writes About It All the Time

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While editors of one popular men’s magazine slam the “overrated” Bible, they’re forgetting their own website refers to the Scriptures regularly.

On April 21, GQ magazine tweeted out a list, compiled by its editors, of the “21 most overrated books ever” alongside “21 books to read instead.” For No. 12, they listed the best-selling book of all time: The Holy Bible.

“[W]e realized that not all the Great Books have aged well,” GQ argued in the story. “So we—and a group of un-boring writers—give you permission to strike these books from the canon.”

Yes, that’s right. According to GQ, a 2,000-year-old book that continues to be purchased by millions hasn’t “aged well.”

But the editors (yes, the editors) didn’t stop at naming the “overrated” books. They insulted each and every one. For the Bible, they featured a blurb by Census author Jesse Ball, who wanted to replace the Good Book with The Notebook by Agota Kristof. After all, he argued, Christians don’t even read it.

“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it,” Kristof insisted. (Obviously, it’s not rated highly by people who read it but don’t live by it. While Ball’s father was a former seminarian and his mother considered the religious life, he was raised as an atheist.)

While Ball admitted “there are some good parts” in the Bible, he found it “not the finest thing that man has ever produced” because it’s “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.”

In contrast, he called Kristof’s book a “marvelous tale of two brothers,” complete with “subtlety and cruelty.”

But if the Bible is “overrated,” then GQ is guilty of participating in the trend. The magazine for “Men’s Fashion, Style, Grooming, Fitness, Lifestyle, News & Politics” routinely refers to the Bible. Or at least writes the word.

If GQ readers type “Bible” into GQ’s search bar at the top of its site, 350 results pop up. There are 646 results for “Jesus.” 732 for “Christian.” 241 for “Catholic.” 102 for “biblical.”

That might be because there are 2.2 billion Christians in the world, according to Pew Research Center, including 1.2 billion Catholics. According to the Guinness World Records, a Bible Society survey found that “around 2.5 billion copies” of the Bible “were printed between 1815 and 1975, but more recent estimates put the number at more than 5 billion.”

And, as Fox News religion contributor Father Jonathan Morris recently pointed out, 3.9 billion Bibles “have been published” in the past 50 years.

According to the American Bible Society’s 2017 State of the Bible report, 1 in 10 Americans purchased a Bible in 2016 and half of Americans are “Bible users” for “reading, listening to or praying with the Bible on their own at least three to four times a year.”

Just last year, the Bible made headlines in a new way with the opening of the Washington, D.C. Bible Museum. The museum houses everything from a page of the Gutenberg Bible to Bibles owned by former American presidents, athletes, and singers.  

Following a November 2017 media preview, Steve Green, who serves as chairman of the board and president of Hobby Lobby, spoke on the Bible’s relevance for today’s Americans.

“There are many principles this nation was built on that many people today may not even understand,” he said in an interview with the MRC. “The idea that all men are created equal, that is where our Founders got that. So our freedoms, our economic system, our political system, many of those are built and influenced by the Bible and many people today don’t know that. And we want people to understand that.”

And that’s just America. If anything, GQ should deem the Bible underrated.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Katie Yoder serves as the associate culture editor at NewsBusters and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. She is also the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow for the Media Research Center’s culture division. Follow her on Twitter @k_yoder.

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