A repackaged Vogue style New Testament by the “not particularly religious” Swedish ad man, Dag Soderberg, is set to be released in the U.S. later this month. According to this article, The Book will include, among other things, images of Angelina Jolie, a shirtless male model, Mahatma Gandhi, a close-up of a couple about to kiss, and Bono of U2 fame. These celebrities were chosen after a referendum of sorts in which the Swedish public voted on which famous figures in modern times represented goodness and compassion. I’m not sure how the shirtless male model made the cut, but hey, the people have spoken.
Apparently, “the usual Bible format”, you know- “lots of words but somewhat lacking in celebrity portraits”—is a real turn off for most people and Soderberg’s repackaging is just what’s needed to make it “more accessible”. It really doesn’t matter that Mahatma Gandhi* was not a Christian, nor that both Angelina’s** and Bono’s*** religion seems to be squishy at best—the insertion of their images and popularity will, no doubt, lend God some much needed credibility. No word yet about how the picture of the shirtless male model contributes to this, but a little soft porn, especially among the female and gay demographic, can only help create “a version of the Bible that people want to pick up”.
Yessiree, Woodrow Kroll’s lament about the Bible being the “best-loved, never-read book of all time” is about to be a thing of the past. Whew! I was worried there for a while.
*Mahatma Gandhi’s view of Jesus: “I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material interpretation is quite unacceptable. Metaphorically we are all sons of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of God … God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus.” (Harijan: June 3, 1937 emphasis added)
**Angelina Jolie’s view of God: “There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.” (AV Club, September 6, 2000, emphasis added).
***Bono’s view of Christianity: “Be wary of people who think theirs is the only way. Unilateralism before God is dangerous.”