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TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2008Printer-Friendly
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The Manga Bible Mangles God’s Word
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Manga Bible Mangles God's Word
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

A Japanese who hopes to become an Anglican priest has priest has produced yet another version of the Scriptures. Well, not quite for it would be crazy to call the book that Doubleday has published as a version of the Bible. It is a perversion. It is a blasphemy. And yet it bears a blurb commending it from Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course, after Williams' recent blathering about the inevitability of Sharia law in Britain, his recommendation may be just what is needed to ensure the failure of the publication.

The writer of this latest parody of Scripture is Ajinbayo Akinsiku. He titles his book, "The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation" and in it he reduced the Bible to "a graphic novel." In this novel, according to Akinsiku, "Christ is a hard guy, seeking revolution and revolt, a tough guy." He stated bluntly, "We present things in a very brazen way."

The only thing that is brazen about this book and the entire attitude behind it is the hard-nosed rebellion of its author and his sponsors against God and His word. The New York Times shrewdly remarked:

 "Publishers with an eye for evangelism and for markets have long profited by directing Bibles at niche markets: just-married couples, teenage boys, teenage girls, recovering addicts. Often the lure is cosmetic, like a jazzy new cover. Sales of graphic novels, too, have grown by double digits in recent years. So it makes sense that a convergence is under way, as graphic novels take up stories from the Bible, often in startling ways. In the last year, several major religious and secular publishing houses have announced or released manga religious stories. The medium shapes the message. Manga often focuses on action and epic. Much of the Bible, as a result, ends up on the cutting room floor, and what remains is darker."

For example, though Akinsiku has room to let his imagination run riot to create stories about Noah and Abraham and a host of other Bible characters, he has no place for such things as the Sermon on the Mount. Yet the author hypocritically says he wants people to come to know the real Jesus. And, as I have noted, Rowan Williams uses his position as Archbishop of Canterbury to assure us that "it will convey the shock and freshness of the Bible in a unique way."

According to Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University, reworking Scripture in new ways, including manga "is the end of the Word as we know it, and the end of a certain cultural idea of the Scriptures as a book, as the Book. It opens up new ways of understanding Scripture and ends up breaking the idols a bit."

Don't you believe it! Foolish men have been predicting the death of God's Book for centuries and they have always been wrong. After it has conned a few gullible people into parting with their hard earned money, Akinsiku's blasphemy will soon be on the rubbish heap of history, where it belongs. And the Bible will still be standing, the living, infallible word of the eternal God. It always defeats its detractors and in this case will mortify its manglers.

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