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A guy I work with is friends with a bunch of people who work at our local Half Price Books stores, and they gave him this astonishing statistic from the ABA:

The most frequently stolen book from booksellers is the Holy Bible.

Some stores don't even keep copies on the shelf, because it's guaranteed they'll be stolen; they keep it locked up in an office or behind a counter or something.

This totally fucking blows my mind (albeit while confirming a lot of the worst things I think about people), and here's why:

1. It means that people are stealing a book which explicitly states that it's a sin to steal. In a greater sense, it means that people who presumably think that the Bible is the unerring word of God (I mean, it can't be atheists or Satanists who are stealing Bibles, right?) are getting their copies by expressly disobeying its precepts.

2. It's not like it's hard to get a Bible, that people have to steal them. You can get a free one by checking into any hotel room in the English-speaking world from an organization that exists specifically to give out free Bibles. I don't know if this is still the case, but when I was a kid, there were tons of charities and religious organizations who would give you a free New Testament just for the asking. And anywhere in the Western world, any city or town anywhere, you can go into a church, and they will probably give you a free Bible, or at least let you stay there and study the Bible as long as you want. They'll even read the Bible to you and explain it. For nothing.

3. If the reading habits of most religious people I've met is any indication, this means that the only book these people own is stolen.

Man, I honestly can't articulate why, but this statistic just makes me think "Aw, fuck everybody" more than anything else I've heard lately.

Comments

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perich
May. 14th, 2009 01:21 pm (UTC)
You know what I blame this on the breakdown of? Society.
ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
You know what aspect of society upon which I blame this? Its breakdown.
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secondperiod
May. 14th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
"I mean, it can't be atheists...who are stealing Bibles, right?"

Wrong. My old roommate Steve had like 50 of 'em. His philosophy was "If I see one, I'm taking it." I'm not sure why, but this is what he did.

ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Well I be goddamn. To say the least..
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adam_0oo
May. 14th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Fascinating.
ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
I know! I don't know why I find this so interesting, but I do.
eatsoylentgreen
May. 14th, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
come on, how many bible readers do you know?
ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Besides myself? Just pretty much everyone in my family.
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vito_excalibur
May. 14th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
And for some reason, it makes me giggle madly.
ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
That's my favorite Doors song.
ounceofreason
May. 14th, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
When you think about it, those America-hating LIEberuls are just as bad, because most copies of "Please Steal This Book" are paid for with money.
faeriemuriel
May. 14th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
I've seen several types of books that recommend stealing them (that and the "This Book Will Change Your Life" stuff). I don't like to steal them from people who make their livelihood selling books because I don't want them to stop selling books. But I've stolen tons from my friends. = P I mean, they knew it was coming.
roseyv
May. 14th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
I think it might also be because people feel justified in stealing it. I mean, as you say there are places (not just hotel rooms, I'm guessign) where you can get them totally for free, so why should you have to pay for it just because you happen to be in a Barnes & Noble? It is GOD’s book. You don’t pay for the air and the water and the pretty flowers, which God has also given you. Or whatever.

Also, part of me wants to believe that at least some small percentage of those thefts are purely anarchic in nature. You know, like atheists stealing them just to make it that much harder for people to become bible-thumpers or something.
roseyv
May. 14th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
Also
"My old roommate Steve had like 50 of 'em. His philosophy was "If I see one, I'm taking it." I'm not sure why, but this is what he did."

See?
conrad_zaar
May. 14th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
The reason this distresses you so much might possibly be that you (like me) tend to take the view that even if Christians are wrong, they are at least sincere, and make their claims and arguments in good faith (no pun intended). To find out that many Christians steal copies of the Bible makes them not just wrong, but also makes them hypocrites, and therefore that much more distressing, offensive, and incomprehensible.
ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
Man, you nailed it. And I especially don't get it when people are hypocrites about something that they proselytize about. What's the fucking point? I don't care if someone has premarital sex; but why would they condemn me having premarital sex, and then do it themselves? It seems like we'd both be happier if we both did what we wanted, so why the pretense?

(Related, but not identical, I've never understood gay Christians who go through all sorts of theological convolutions to 'prove' that the Bible isn't anti-gay. I mean, I understand their desire to not be condemned by the religion they grew up with, but the Bible could not be more explicitly anti-gay, and if it's a choice between giving up your religion and thinking your entire existence condemns you to eternal flame, why not just pick another religion? It seems like they're arguing in bad faith too, albeit for a good reason.)
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fiberpunk
May. 14th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
But it says not to steal inside the book. Are you expecting them to get all the way through Exodus before they decide whether or not to take it?

Here's how I figure it goes: I am a Christian at the bookstore, but because Christianity has been corrupt since Boniface VII, my only religious instruction has been via the Bible verses they print on meth vials (2 Chronicles 36:19, usually), I'm a moral infant. There the Bible is, full of knowledge and wisdom and with the words of Jehoshaphat in bold red text, and I know simultaneously that it will tell me what to do, and that I don't know what it will tell me to do.

I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to say, "First, I'll get a job here working Sundays. Then, by the grace of merciful Hadad, I'm going to take this Bible, and after a tip of my hat to that idol of fucking Jesus over in the corner, I'm going to take it, murder any motherfucker who gets in my way, and beat my father to death with it. When the police come, I'll say that motherfucker next door did it, and when the cops haul him away I'll be drinking his liquor and tapping his wife's ass."

Then I get the thing home, and realize that there are a few holes in my plan.
ludickid
May. 14th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Man, now I feel cheated for having read the Bible at such a young age.
lester22
May. 14th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
From a purely logical perspective, it makes sense that the Bible is the most-stolen book, as it is probably the most-purchased book as well.
cheezaddict
May. 14th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
I was also going to say, isn't this like that statistic that Hondas are the most stolen vehicle? And that is because there are more Hondas than any other car. More bibles are probably stolen because it is the best selling book, it is probably the most printed and the highest volume.
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mckennl
May. 14th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah but they're saying they don't even put it on the shelves. Don't they put those wretched Twilight books on the shelves? Don't they put best-sellers on shelves?
threepunchstuff
May. 14th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC)
Second most frequently stolen: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Absolutely true.
bassman42
May. 14th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
I'd seen that little tidbit before. Makes you realize what a bunch of fucking jerks we as a species are, doesn't it?
kudaspeaks
May. 14th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile the Code of Hammurabi sits on the shelves openly, looking fat and sassy.
bassman42
May. 15th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
And never, ever stolen (well, except for once in a while by the odd History undergrad).
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