Here's a group of misguided morons. They're tearing pages from the Bible, obviously to get attention. As performance art, it ranks right up there with Yoko Ono's best bits, but it pretty much sucks as a first impression. To be sure, it's to be celebrated that we live in a country where you can turn the Bible into sausage and not get stoned. (These guys probably got stoned first.)
But ripping pages from the Bible is so declassé. This is somebody's scripture. The edge atheism has over it is a reflection of intellect, not physics. Atheists reject the Bible, not because they have the dexterity to rip and shred, but because they're capable of seeing it for what it is.
Thanks, guys, for drawing comparisons with book-burners. Thanks also for drawing comparisons with fraternity pranks. I'm sure Ashton Kutcher was impressed. Maybe Johnny Knox tuned in.
There's an old joke that says we know that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. How do we know? We've got the receipts.
When you destroy the Bible, you destroy the proof. In fact, the best way to teach atheism is to force a young person to read the Bible. Read without the spin, and examined without all of the social pressures and gimmicks that are used to get young people to "go along" with religion, the Bible easily reveals itself for what it is.
I read it every day. I consider it a fascinating puzzle. I come back to it again and again, trying to figure out what it really is, and what it was put together the way it was. Periodically, I trip over a seam, intellectual evidence of how the editorial process was completed.
It's not just a question of truth or falsity, but of meaning. Atheists should be Bible readers. They should be Bible literate. If they live in Muslim-dominated parts of the world, they should know their Qur'an. If they should crop up in a land where people worship Dr. Seuss, they should know their way around The Cat in the Hat.
We have nothing to fear.
So the next time one of your little buddies suggest tearing something in public, give some thought to what you shred. After all, there are just too many copies of Twilight running around. If you're going to make confetti, pick something less significant. We need to preserve the evidence.