Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Book-Burning News from Green Onion Falls

I want to thank the most faithful follower of my blog for calling my attention to the following news report from yesterday’s Green Onion Falls Herald-Exasperator. Since I think it may be of interest to readers of this blog, I reproduce it here:

Eastburro Congregants Burn Unknown Philosophy Book

by I.M. Fayke
Senior Staff Reporter

Apparently hoping to capitalize on the recent media attention garnered by a miniscule Florida congregation, Phred Fleps and the congregants of the equally miniscule Eastburro Church in central Kansas gathered on Wednesday for their own book-burning event. But rather than toast a holy book, Fleps chose to put to flame a little-known academic book by an Oklahoma philosopher.

The book, Is God a Delusion?, was written by a philosopher aptly described by at least one commenter on Richard Dawkins’ website as “a nobody.” According to the author’s facebook page, the book aims to respond to recent atheist bestsellers, such as Dawkins’ The God Delusion, by showing that “while often neither, religion can be both intellectually respectable and morally benign.”

So why burn a little-known book by an obscure Oklahoma academic that is actually a defense of religion? “This so-called book,” Fleps explains, “is not an innocent defense of religion. I mean, what about my faith? Don’t I have the God-given right to be a malign ignoramus in the name of God? Of course I do! But this guy seems to think that religious faith is acceptable only under certain conditions. And I mean, come on, look at the conditions he requires: Fallibilism? Respect for alternative worldviews? Religion based on hope rather than fear? The guy is defending religion by taking the religion out of it!”

“Besides, the book isn’t entirely unknown. It did get an award.”

When asked about the timing of the book-burning, Fleps denied charges that he was simply hoping to gain attention for himself and his church as Terry Jones had succeeded in doing with the recent Qur'an burning business in Gainesville. “It’s about time," Fleps said, "for right-wing religious extemists to stand up to the real threat to their faith: so-called moderate religion. All those angry atheist attacks on religion were a Godsend. What better way to fill our ranks than to have extremists on the other side frothing at the mouth and calling all religion evil? That’s the way to nurture the kind of us-versus-them polarization that helps put butts in our pews. These moderate, middle-ground types threaten all of that. I mean, the guy even claims that religious people can believe in evolution! This is dangerous stuff and it needs to be denounced.”

When asked if he was upset by the impending book-burning, the author of the targeted book replied, “Not at all. Before this happened sales of my book had completely flatlined. Of course it was never a hot seller. I knew its chances of doing well were doomed the minute I read the Publishers Weekly review. I mean, listen to this: ‘Neither polemical nor defensive, he writes primarily as a logician, rather than a believer.’ The reviewer might as well have written BORING all in capital letters! It’s like they wanted the book to fail! Anyway, like most second-tier authors I obsessively check my Amazon sales ranking, and it’s been plummeting steadily for weeks. Then, all of a sudden, it shoots up from about 1,000,000th in the rankings to 50,000th. Turns out it’s because Fleps bought 20 copies so that every member of his congregation could have their own book to burn. And who knows? Maybe the controversy will inspire a few dozen more sales.”

When confronted with the possibility that the book-burning might actually raise curiosity about the book, thereby increasing interest in the "rational middle ground" that Fleps and his congregation seek to repudiate, Fleps responded by sticking his fingers in his ears and loudly saying “Nyaa nyaa! I can’t hear you!”


  1. haha Wow

    Eric, I hope this does indeed increase your book sales (and the amount of people actually reading)!!