Bible Count May 6, 2008

Bible Count

I’m just going to rename this site “Things I Stole from Anne Jackson.”

She asks her readers this:

How many bibles do you have in your house?

By my count, I have 17.

(People like to give me Bibles…)

The real question:

Why do you have more than one, you godless heathen?

And what do you do with them if they’re not just gathering dust?

On a side note, the “Bible Printing Capital of the World” is set to open in a couple weeks in Nanjing, China — it has the potential to produce 23 Bibles a minute. (Thanks to David for the link!)

[tags]atheist, atheism, Christian[/tags]

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  • Siamang

    I have zero bibles in my house.

    I figure if I really need one, the Internet has plenty of searchable ones.

    It’s the same reason I don’t have an encyclopedia.

  • AMT

    I have 3. I used to have several more, but I cleaned out my bookshelves a couple years ago and as a symbol of my then-newfound atheism, gave the ones that weren’t family heirlooms to Goodwill. It was really liberating to get rid of Bibles and other religious books and not feel a shred of guilt about it.

  • Kate

    I have one. Erik’s mom gave it to me – she was aghast when she found out I didn’t have one. I um…hmm. I don’t use it much, since it’s one of those “life application” ones that tells you what everything means (from a conservative viewpoint) so it tends to raise my blood pressure.

  • I’ve got *counts* 5……
    1 children’s bible, I got from my pre-school.
    1 annoted bible, I use frequently to avoid getting more bibles.
    1 in russian, that I accidentally (No, really) stole from a hotel room.
    2 Bibles I got from my highschool. One when I started, one when I graduated. Which I use to keep my laptop higher from my desk, because they’re exactly the same tickness. The ‘Word of God’ is keeping my laptop cool)

    Also on my bookshelf:
    2 Baghavat Gitah (hindu), one in my native language, one in english
    1 Quran, in Arabic/english
    1 Book with the three Thripitaka (buddism)

    Working in a library does wonders for a bookshelf by the way 😉

  • chancelikely


    I have a Greek interlinear New Testament. Otherwise, internet.

    I also have three or four that are technically mine but are at my mother’s house.

  • Let’s see…I have a copy of the new testament somewhere in my dorm room, still wrapped in the plastic it was shipped in (though I do intend to read through it at some point). And my dad has a copy of the Torah back home–that’s part of the old testament. So that makes…some fraction of one bible. Yay.

  • 0.5, somewhere or other

    I’d quite happily have a bible in the house, but I’ve already read it through several times and don’t feel the need to have one in my hand again – if I need to find something I just look it up on the ‘net.

  • BZ

    I have one. I find it useful to study, even if I don’t believe it. I spend way too much time staring at a screen as it is so it is probably better that I use a text version rather than the internet.

    I currently have a Qur’an that I checked out from the library. Although it isn’t a permanent addition to my book collection I think that the library is starting to suspect that it is.

  • 1 much underlined, annoted and dog eared.

    Did have numerous pocket versions from christian youth group but threw them out.

  • We have two, so we can look up Bible verses and read them in context. It’s good to know ‘the enemy’ and be able to verify and counter a false theistic argument.

  • Xeonicus

    I’ve got 2… and a half… it’s not funny how you think it is, trust me.

    One is a student bible I got from a bible thumper club. I was explored Christianity for a year in 10th grade of high school. In retrospect, those people did a good job turning me off. They were really weird.

    The second is a bible I think I’ve had forever. I think it belonged to my mom or dad at some point in time. Somehow it worked its way into my bookshelf.

    The third isn’t really a bible, it’s “Reasoning from the Scriptures” which is some kind of Jehovah’s Witness literature. I don’t really know why I keep it, other than I don’t throw books away, so it takes up space on my shelf. I use to have a friend who was Jehovah’s Witness and he gave it to me. It’s like half? the size of a bible, if that… Plus it’s like, religious stuff, so I sorta count it like “half a bible”…. kind of….

  • I have three. I keep two of them because they are dated and mark important points in my life in terms of religious exposure.

    The third is a KJV from the LDS church. They give them away for free, and I couldn’t resist requesting one. I figured it would cost them just that little bit. This is why I also have three copies of the Qur’an.

  • Josha

    I have 4 Bibles and 2 Baltimore Catechisms (from Catholic school).

    One Bible is dog-eared and written all over. The second I accidentally stole from class (oops). The third was given to me when I was 9 by my family’s Baptist church so it has some history. The forth is my late grandmother’s with her writing in it (much different than my own) so it has sentimental value.

  • Mriana

    I have at least 6. I inhereted or was given all of them.

  • I have two. One Gideons from some motel somewhere, and one humongous “Family Bible” purchased from a thrift store recently as it was easier to read. I felt the need to read it after my recent flood of atheist book purchasing and reading, just to see the crap for myself.
    I started reading from the beginning and I can’t for the life of me figure why people should see this book as relevant to their morality/spirituality/beliefs at all. It’s a poorly written narrative, that’s it. I’m up to chapter 26 of Genesis and I’ve yet to find anything that would scream out to anyone “Hey! God wrote this!”. It’s too primitive.

  • Kori

    Personally, I own two: one “New Revised Standard” from the Methodist church, given to me by the church when I was eight, and one KJV, as suggested by an English teacher (just as a background for the other literature that we read, of course). My mother has… several. I’m not entirely sure. I know she has at least one or two in “modern” language, and I think she has one New Revised Standard and one or two others. She’s not a “devout” Catholic, but she goes to church regularly and participates in religion class, so she has reason. In addition to the fact that she went through catholic high school and college, of course.

    My sister also has the “New Revised Standard” which she got for the same reason and at the same time/age as myself.

    My dad has none. My dog has none. My cat has none. My frog has none.

    I suppose that totals to… 5 or more (don’t know exactly how many my mom has)

  • TheDeadEye

    I have one. I upgrade as I get a nicer one and burn the outgoing bible. Not in any sort of protest or “event”; we just burn all of our trash–it’s better than shreadding the junk mail.

  • Kathryn

    1.5 I think… Don’t know where the regular one went, but I loved this cartoon bible when I was younger. I got it along with similar cartoon versions of chinese, norse, and hindu myths… and look where I am now 🙂

  • Jen

    I have two. One from Youth Group, which I don’t particularly care about but can’t find, and one that I asked my now-deceased grandpa for when I was thirteen, which I can’t part with for that reason. And a Quran. I also have a few of those New Testaments they hand out on the street that I just threw somewhere and can’t find now.

    The real question: if someone no longer believes in the Bible as a sacred item, are they obligated to give extra Bibles a “proper burial”? Or should they feel fine with recycling it (atheists recycle)? Does the answer change if they SO TOTALLY WORSHIP Sam Harris and agree with him that religion is a problem, even in moderation, and thus they don’t want to donate it to the Goodwill?

  • Steelman

    A NIV from my church days as a young adult, the reading of which caused me to leave the faith. And an Oxford Annotated NRSV that I bought last year for atheist Bible study.

    I bought the second one after listening to Robert M. Price a number of times on the Infidel Guy podcast. There’s some really fascinating stuff in there. Fascinating in what it reveals about ancient myth and culture, and how people have managed to get thousands of different versions of Christianity out of one book, as well as two other major world religions (Mohammad kinda copied some ideas, you know?).

  • I think just 3, but 20 more or so are coming when mom moves in. 🙂

  • Grimalkin

    Two – one King James and one NRSV. I have more than one because the two editions are very different from one another. I wanted a “folk bible” to see what the masses are reading, and one real bible to see what the original intentions of the authors might have been.

    I’ve read both versions and I use them for reference (either in a debate, or when I am reading a novel, for example, and they mention a passage without quoting it – yeah, I’m one of those people who likes to hold reference works in her hands rather than just googling…).

    EDIT: Jen – I think that once you get over the whole “book with mystical properties” stuff, you can go ahead and recycle. That being said, however, some people are very offended. While I don’t think that we should go out of our way to accommodate theists in these matters, it would at the very least be respectful to do it discretely (rather than, say, walking out into a crowded street, shrieking about how you are an atheist and there is no god, setting your extra copy on fire, and then defecating on it – fun as that may be). Then again, as someone who values all books (even the crap ones, because sometimes you learn more from bad ideas than from good ones), I’d say find someone who is looking for an extra bible and give it to them. Barring that, maybe donate it to a charity like Salvation Army or something.

  • 19

    But I am a pastor after all. Plus a house church meets in our living room, so we tend to have a lot of Bible’s on hand for people to use in case they didn’t bring their own.

  • Richard Wade

    One and a half. Gramma and Grampa gave me the New Testament and Psalms for my 12th birthday, and the whole King James version for my high school graduation. Dear old Grams. They were so sweet…

    Thank God Mom and Dad weren’t into that stuff.

  • Shane

    2.5 – A catholic bible, the “Good News” bible, and a NIV new testament that Campus for Christ gave me. And 2 Korans.

    They’re on my shelf next to my other mythology books (Norse, Sumerian, Mayan, etc, etc.) and the gospel of the FSM. I do admit that Christian mythology is rather dry and I haven’t managed to read the whole thing yet, but I’m trying to get through the “Good News” bible because it is supposed to be a very loose, readable translation (which is why I have more than one, and they’re cheap–like $5).

    P.S. I guess technically we do have one other bible in the house. My brother’s friend is an ex-Pentecostal who was reading the bible and tearing out every page that had something offensive on it. Eventually the whole thing ended up torn to pieces in a clear plastic bag that she gave to my brother as a present. I think he keeps it in his closet because there are probably a few members of my family that wouldn’t be too thrilled to see that (not to mention our landlord). My mom (who is basically an atheist) strategically placed a towel over my bookshelf (God Delusion, God is not Great, Satanic Bible, etc…) when my aunt visited to avoid any potentially awkward moments… Because I wouldn’t care, but my mom still does.

  • Derek

    I’ve got 9, and 8 of them are Gideon. The Gideons are for a “Scripture Analysis” for a college atheist group as extras for people who show up and don’t have a copy. I also have a Quran, which I’m halfway through. It’s so short. And I have 2 copies of the Book of Mormon. I look forward to the day when I can surprise some missionaries by having them meet someone that has actually read their crazy book. I have yet to get a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, but I’m sure I will sometime. My real goal is to have read whatever religious text someone might use to convert me. It should be a lot easier to spurn their proselytizing.

  • tropp

    Several in different languagues, from kiddie bibles to late 1800s family heirloom one. The latter was the first one I read from end to end, partly because I loved reading blackletter (the hobbies children have…), and partly because good slasher fiction was a rarity in USSR.

    I also have different translations of Qur’an (didn’t get translated to my native languague until last year), some Hindu and Buddhist writings, LaVey’s, Book of Mormon, etc. The religion section in my bookcase gets rounded up nicely with the Little Red Book;)

  • Ian

    I have seventeen at the moment.

    one is my own, from when I was a christian – I hang onto it because it has lots of little notes as I started to ask questions.

    The other sixteen? Those are Gideon Bibles 😀

  • Three.

    A Revised Standard.

    A King James.

    And a gorgeous Revised Standard designed and illustrated by Barry Moser that Ingrid gave me for my birthday a few years back. (She also gave me a beautiful replica of an 18th-century duelling pistol that year. We always joke about how it was the year she gave me a gun and a Bible.)

    P.S. I thought I had a bunch of of other religious texts too, but now I can’t find them. Either they’re mis-filed (my books are kind of a mess), or I got rid of them when I moved. The only other one I can find is an I Ching.

  • Don’t have any, haven’t since I was about 12. At the moment a pile of computer books is raising my monitor to a more ergonomic position, so if I had a bunch of bibles that’s what I’d use them for.

  • I did have a bible once but I was half way through it when someone gave away the ending.


    One Good News Bible that Hil got at school.
    One Bible that was my mothers from her schooldays, I’m not sure which brand it is.
    One Children’s Bible that one of the great aunts gave to my eldest just after she was born. Packed away in a box at the bottom of a wardrobe till Beth reaches 21 and then she can have it, if she wants it.
    Two Bhagravit Ghitas, both paperback for easy reading. One is mine and one is my partner’s.
    Somewhere in my house is a copy of Dianetics, maybe in a box somewhere mouldering.
    No Qur’an though.
    I do tend to use on-line versions for speed though. The indexing is better too.

    Oh, I mustn’t forget that I have a copy of the atheist’s bible “The God Delusion” that we atheists pray to and worship each night over toasted baby sandwiches.

  • Eli

    None. I had a new-testament-only copy from communion, but I left it behind when I moved out.

  • Ubi Dubium

    Three regular ones. Two KJV, childhood presents from my grandmother and my husband’s grandmother. Mine is even personalized with my name, has a white leather cover, and pages the thickness of tissue paper. I don’t understand this. What is the point of giving a child a book they would damage if they tried to use, and that they would not be able to understand if they did manage to read it.
    Also – one Good News from my Youth Group days. I use that one when I am trying to explain Fundamentalist hooey to my kids.

    My favorite alternative – a Jefferson Bible – Jefferson’s re-edit of the Gospels with all the magic and hokum taken out.

    AND – one copy of the Nag Hammadi Library, one of The God Delusion, one of Cosmos. I’m still waiting for a hardback edition of the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • Corncob

    Lessee…Personally, I’ve got three or four, plus a Luther’s Small Catechism and some similar stuff – mostly gifts from relatives and people from church for various events. They’re pretty on a bookshelf, and fun to browse from time to time or compare with the other religious lit I’m starting to collect.

    A few other people mentioned getting bibles for high school graduation – I received one or two, but that was quite unusual among my friends; is it common in other areas?

  • TXatheist

    1 bible(wedding gift) and 1 koran(attended a free seminar)

  • i will need to post something about bananas so that you can steal it and prove to your readers that god is real.



  • Steven

    I have three bibles as far as I can recall. Two of them are King James version “children’s bibles” with colour illustrations which my sister and I received when we were baptised. I’m not sure why I have my sister’s copy since I’m the atheist and she still goes to church once a year or so. I also have my grandmother’s Welsh bible. Unfortunately, I can’t read a word of it but it has great sentimental value. I used to have a Good News bible but I think I returned it when my wife chased off the Jehovah Witnesses.

  • 48…and no two are the same. i live with a minister.

  • I was down to zero bibles, as I gave them to the Sal Army after I graduated and left town, but I’m back up to three now. Dad is moving so he has been cleaning out the basement, so I have my old children’s bible, complete with plenty of pictures of “surfer Jesus”, and 2 old bibles from my mothers side of the family.

  • Adrian

    I don’t have any, unless you count

  • I’m only seeing one. I know I used to have a lot more, maybe they are in the garage. But I also have copies the Mahabharata, several copies of the Bhagavad-gita and the Tao Te Ching, the Avestas, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Koran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon, the Golden Bough, Doctrine and Covenants, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair and Science and Health. Oh, and the Boomer Bible. I’ve read most of them but they mostly are collecting dust. If I need a reference I just to go Sacred Texts or the BLB for the Bible..

    In fact, I have an entire six foot bookshelf devoted to various mythologies and the debunking of Christianity. 😀

  • Polly

    I have many Bibles:

    Japanese-English dual language Bible
    Russian-English NT dual-lang
    Russian Bible
    3 Armenian Bibles
    Arabic BIBLE (I also have a Koran in Arabic and translation)
    Catholic Bible w/ Apocrypha
    Greek Dual lang NT
    3 or 4 NIVs
    Paraphrased Bible (from TBN)
    Miscellaneous mini-NTs with Psalms & Proverbs
    -Electronic Bible package including many English translations and many more languages including Swedish, Finnish, Korean, Chinese, and on and on…

    Multilanguage Bibles are a languge learning tool. It helps to have the same book in two languages and Bibles are easier to find than most other works (of fiction 🙂 ).

  • Polly

    I know I had a “Book of Mormon” for a while. Now, I don’t know if I still have it.

    My friend lent me his Russian translation of Mao’s Little Red Book to peruse.
    It was fun reading, even if a bit creepy. It really sounded more like religion than economics, going as far as to say that the “Revolution” should be more dear than life.

  • P.S.

    Harper-Collins Study Bible (NRSV), five NIVs (two study versions, one regular, one read-through-the-year, and one chronologically arranged), New American, NASB, KJV, NKJV, TNIV, Recovery Version, Luther Bible (auf Deutsch), BHS and a Greek/seven-translation parallel NT.

    I think that’s about 14, then, sort of.

  • P.S.

    Sorry, double post…

  • Karen

    I have probably half a dozen, ranging from my grandmother’s KJV with some of her old apocalyptic tracts in it, to The Good News with tons of notes and highlights that I put in there as an enthusiastic youth group member, a red-letter RSV, an NIV and several childrens/teen bibles that my kids got in Sunday school.

  • I don’t have any, unless you count

    Yes, has more or less eliminated my need to accumulate multiple translations. Though I have noticed that they tend to only have the “evangelical” translations – i.e. they’re missing the NRSV, the Catholic Bible, etc.

  • Cade

    I’ve got 1 and a half. One I got in 3rd grade from my church, and the half was a New Testament (plus psalms and some other book…) Gideon Bible that was being handed out on campus.

    Now the real question:
    How many copies of The God Delusion do you have?

  • Siamang

    My mom (who is basically an atheist) strategically placed a towel over my bookshelf (God Delusion, God is not Great, Satanic Bible, etc…) when my aunt visited to avoid any potentially awkward moments.

    LOL!!!! The spines of the books on that shelf go toward the back when my parents visit!

  • Siamang

    Oh, I mustn’t forget that I have a copy of the atheist’s bible “The God Delusion” that we atheists pray to and worship each night over toasted baby sandwiches.

    Mine’s autographed by the Dark Lord himself.

    In baby’s blood.

  • Siamang

    Dang, reading how many bibles and holy books from traditions around the world, I realize that I’m not very well-read!

    I really, really would want a shelf or two like this in my home:

    …the Mahabharata, several copies of the Bhagavad-gita and the Tao Te Ching, the Avestas, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Koran, the Torah, the Book of Mormon…..

    But I’d just be a poseur. I wouldn’t read all that. But man, I’d like to look that awesome and impressive!

  • Nurse Ingrid

    I’ve got a Bartender’s Bible…does that count?

  • I wouldn’t read all that.

    I’m an insatiable omnivore of knowledge. Or I used to be. Now I play World of Warcraft. 😀

  • Russ

    My parents have one in their house because my (raised catholic, now atheist) dad promised if his “born-again” friend gave him a bible he would read it (he got one and read it.) I don’t live at home any more though, so I have to answer that I have no bibles in my apartment. Huzzah?

  • Milena

    1 Bible in Bulgarian, 1 in English and two copies of the New Testament in French.

    The Bulgarian one is sort of a family heirloom we brought with us when we immigrated, the English Bible was given to me by a coworker trying to convert me, and both New Testaments were given to my sister and I from when we were in Catholic elementary school. I’ll probably read the English Bible when I get around to it. I also wouldn’t mind reading a couple of other texts, like the Quran.

  • Spacesocks

    Technically, two. I was given a New Testament by the Gideons guys, but it made me a little uncomfortable to have just that. I mean, what’s the Old Testament, chopped liver? So I recently bought a Jewish Bible (JPS) to round out my Bible collection.

  • Karen

    Now I play World of Warcraft. 😀

    I know someone who is addicted to that. Seriously – like flunked out of two courses in college because of that game. He is now actually in therapy for it and he still can’t quit.

  • I have two. One of them is a King James Version, as well. I also have the Bagavad Gita and the Tibetan Book of the Dead sitting on the shelf right beside the Bibles. Haven’t read them, though. The last two, I mean. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover a couple of times.

  • I only have and only read the KJV. It’s the only one with any poetry. The stuff in the Bible just sounds stupid to me in modern translations.

  • I have three. They’re on the shelf next to Brunvand, Bulfinch, and Grimm. I have an interest in folklore and mythology because I think it reveals a lot of how humans like to think of themselves and the world, not necessarily how the world actually is.

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