Destroyed Bibles Displayed for Art Exhibit

Deliberately burning or destroying a Bible to make an artistic or political statement is not novel in this more secular age. What’s so unusual about this exhibit is that the artist, Paul Roorda, isn’t burning Bibles to make a statement against the book or the religion. To destroy a Bible seems sacriligous in any context, but Roorda disagrees that what he is doing is an attack. What he does is to take old, no longer used Bibles (“The older and the more worn out, the more intriguing for me. That means it comes with a history.”) and “transform” them into symbols of power and health, so as to provide memorials over how much influence Scripture holds over us.(“I’m disposing of the Bible by taking elements of it and memorializing them in the form of an icon.”) Any outrage over the exhibit has been virtually nil, either because the exhibit is little known or because Christians follow the unique idea he was going for. Roorda’s ability to diffuse outrage from religious believers is certainly a stark contrast to Andres Serrano and his defenders’ failed attempts to pacify angry Christians at Piss Christ, even though destroying a Bible may technically be more blasphomous than a photograph. (While this isn’t an art crime, it certainly WAS a crime to desecrate a Bible in earlier times, even for benevolent purposes.)

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