One step closer to having religion in the fiction section of the bookstore

A great little discount bookstore in downtown Toronto impressed me yesterday when I saw where they placed their books on religion.

religion-myth-2.jpg

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What bookstore is this?

Since I posted this picture, a few people have inquired as to the identity of the bookstore (so that they may shop there). I had initially withheld the identity as I wanted to get clearance from the owner before publicizing it. Well, I’ve received clearance. The bookstore is BMV. BMV has a few locations, all in Toronto.

The location at which the photo was taken is, to my knowledge, the first ever BMV. It is located at 10 Edward Street, next to The World’s Biggest Bookstore.

BMV is also at 2289 Yonge Street. They also have a two or three storey superstore at 471 Bloor St.

I highly recommend checking it out, and not simply because you like the way it categorizes certain books. It really is a great chain of stores at which you can get books, magazines, DVDs and videos at amazing prices (e.g., pick up a used but mint condition copy of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel for $12, marked down from somewhere around $30).

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Comments
48 Responses to “One step closer to having religion in the fiction section of the bookstore”
  1. ~The Nut Cracker~ says:

    Well,first it’s good to see something like this.But,do you think they did this on purpose?I mean,it could be coinsidence!!!Anyway credit to you for bringing this to light.
    But I would like to focus your attention on something more obvious.
    You go to a store,pull out your wallet,pull a bill,pay go.
    Ordinary scene you may say.
    But did you notice the bold statement that stares at you which goes “In God We Trust”.Do you honestly???Well if no(which is the likely answer),did you ever bother to think why your government would waste your tax money,to imprint a statement that you do not believe in???
    Read more about this on:

    http://mithilaum.wordpress.com/2007/12/26/in-god-we-trustbut-pay-cash-here-benjamin-said-lincoln/

    I like your blog!!!
    Keep up the good work.
    ~The Nut Cracker~
    (Finding nemo….finding….finding….not found-existence error!!!)

  2. amazonratz says:

    how completely appropriate.

  3. barud45 says:

    It is indeed impressive. As an agnostic Indian it saddens me when I hear of religion based violence and disgustingly narrow-minded fundamentalism and it gives me hope when I see something like this. Kudos to the bookstore owner(s) for having the courage to do something like this.

  4. TRO says:

    I wish I were so easily impressed. I guess it goes along with being easily amused.

  5. Tom says:

    HA, thats just great… the Bible in the Myth section (its about time) unless they made a BS section!

  6. Jim Baerg says:

    Re: Nutcrackers comment
    Since it’s a Toronto bookstore, anyone shopping there would be paying with Canadian money. I just checked my wallet & confirmed that there is no mention of god on Canadian money.

  7. Yaksman says:

    Which store was this? I feel a need to spend money there.

  8. karen says:

    “The Nut Cracker”, you’re apparently unaware that the writer of this blog lives in Toronto; Canadian currency doesn’t bear any religious slogans.

  9. ronbrown says:

    Yaksman:

    It’s a great store! And I’ve thought this for years, well before noticing this signage. Lots of good cheap books. They had Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel for $12!!! I think it was regularly like $26 or 30. I believe it was used, but in very good condition.

    As for the store’s identity, I deliberately left it out of the post. The reason being that I love this store and respect it for having this signage and don’t want to risk losing it business by posting its identity and possibly leading to some sort of encouraged boycott by offended religious organizations.

    However, I will be calling the store’s owner on Wednesday (I just tried calling a little while ago and was told that he’d be around then). I’m calling for a few reasons. Firstly, to commend him on a great store and for his religion/myth combination. Secondly, to tell him what a big hit the picture has been—e.g., how Pharyngula, one of the world’s biggest science blogs, is running the pic, and the pic is impressing many many people. Thirdly, I’m going to ask him if he would mind if I revealed the store’s identity or if he’d prefer I not, given the possibility of religious organizations encouraging boycotts—though I imagine that nonbelievers would visit in increasing numbers. I’ll write a post here after I find out what he would prefer.

  10. I took this picture with a Canon Powershot SD750 buy yours at Best Buy or Future Shop.

  11. ronbrown says:

    Sandy: AHAHAHAHAHAAH!

  12. Chris­™ says:

    Haha, just amazing. It would make my day to walk into a bookstore and see a copy of the Bible stacked next to “A Collection of Roman Mythology” or something of the like.

    Thanks for this.

  13. Anya says:

    LOL! I enjoy reading some religious-themed books such as the old testament and Greek ‘myths’. They’re great fiction stories. I’m sure the signage in the store has created a few comments. I definitely applaud the store’s decision!

  14. avid_mass says:

    Awesome, and perhaps it could also be divided by “The WORD of GOD” and “NOT The WORD of GOD” too. That way potential customers don’t have to rummage through all those volumes to get to the facts. haha.. mmm..

  15. Scott Thong says:

    To quote JRR Tolkien, as he convinced CS Lewis (a huge fan of medieval myths) that Christianity is factual and based on real events: “What if Christianity is a myth that happens to be true?”

    The rest is literary history.

  16. avid_mass says:

    “Faith” is aptly named such… Devoting one’s life to a “what if”… and boy what a controversial “what if” at that. Strap me into a clockwork orange chair and pump science into me, please. My life is so much richer that “faith” of my youth. I can actually enjoy the world, and am overcome with new amazement of my natural and scientifically explainable surroundings along with their associated perceptions. Good luck with your big “what if”. Hope that turns out well for you.

  17. Scott Thong says:

    Well, if the Christian’s big ‘what if’ turns out wrong, he won’t exist to regret it, no?

    But if the atheist’s big ‘I’m sure’ turns out wrong… Well, dammit.

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/12/28/living-life-like-an-atheist-or-a-christian-wanna-bet/

  18. ronbrown says:

    Scott: Pascal’s Wager is a pathetic joke and anyone who buys it clearly hasn’t thought much about it. Christians are in no better position than atheists when it comes to such wagers. It’s not Christianity or no God. What if Islam, orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Hinduism, or one of the thousands of other beliefs that have been held are correct? Then Christians and atheists are both wrong. What if the real god is one of the infinite array of potential gods never conceived? Again, we’re both wrong. Orrr, what if there is a god that values rationality and intellectual honesty and knows that there is no good evidence for his (or hers or its) existence, let alone any other god, and so gives preference to those who develop their capacities for reason and honesty. Then, the rationalists will be best off.

    Pascal’s Wager is based on the assumption that it’s either Jesus or nothing. This is absurd. There are an infinite array of possibilities of which Jesus represents one, and lack of sentience represents another infinite array of non-intelligent explanations for existence.

  19. Robert M. says:

    “Well, if the Christian’s big ‘what if’ turns out wrong, he won’t exist to regret it, no?

    But if the atheist’s big ‘I’m sure’ turns out wrong… Well, dammit”

    Then why not apply that logic to Islam? According to Islam, non Muslims will suffer in Hell for eternity. So by your own logic, you should convert to Islam – if Islam is wrong, you lose nothing; but if it’s right and you are a Christian, you lose everything!

  20. Scott Thong says:

    You’d have to compare the factual, objective evidence for each claimant to the ‘truth’, then. One on one or free for all, slug it out intellectually.

    I’d bet on the heavyweight ‘24,000 pieces of NT manuscripts, Vulgate, Septuagint, Masoretic, Babylonian Talmud and Dead Sea scrolls’ over the new challenger ‘Caliph Uthman burned all the other copies of the Qur’an he did not deem correct’ any day.

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2006/11/25/was-the-bible-changed-reasons-why-it-could-not-have-been/

  21. ronbrown says:

    Yeah, good luck with that, Scott.

    Good luck finding a good reason to believe that doesn’t depend on arguments from ignorance, authority, hindsight-based specific interpretation of cherry-picked vague scripture, and easily counterargued personal experience. That is, can you give reason to believe that doesn’t depend on belief based on arguments like “well how else did the universe/humans/morality get here?”, “the Bible/Church/population majority says…”, a reading of scripture that just skims by text bearing no resemblance to known events or is outright contradicted by them and then zooming in on vague passages that you can connect to actual events but from which you could never have predicted the actual events given the vagueness of the scripture, or invoking personal experiences (e.g., “God came to me in a dream”, “God told me to do X and it worked out for me or saved me”), as this type of argument can easily be rebutted by the fact that people of all religions claim such experiences, and such experiences can also be enjoyed without religion (e.g., by taking drugs).

    You have fallen for the world’s most successful myth. I’m not making fun of you. Lets be clear on that. I’m just being honest. There’s a reason why academics are less likely to be religious than non-academics—way less likely in fact. If there were good reason to believe in God–yours or anyone else’s, then shouldn’t we expect belief to go up with education and scholarship, not down? Shouldn’t learning how to investigate the world and claims increase one’s beliefs serve to promote belief in that for which belief is reasonable?

  22. Scott Thong says:

    “the Bible/Church/population majority says…

    Well, majority decision seems to work well enough to make global warming a science. Lolz!

    There’s a reason why academics are less likely to be religious than non-academics—way less likely in fact.

    By academics, do you mean teh standard composition of modern universities dominated by liberal socialist philosophers? Cos the physicists beg to differ.

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/physicists-believe-in-god-or-at-least-a-creator-or-designer-a-collection-of-quotes/

    Any citations that show education is inversely related to religiousity?

    a reading of scripture that just skims by text bearing no resemblance to known events or is outright contradicted by them and then zooming in on vague passages that you can connect to actual events but from which you could never have predicted the actual events given the vagueness of the scripture

    Define vague.

    The Bible’s Ezra 1:1-3 – In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
    “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
    ” ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_cylinderI am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, legitimate king, king of Babylon. I strove for peace in Babylon and in all his [other] sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon… I abolished forced labour… From Nineveh, Assur and Susa, Akkad, Eshnunna, Zamban, Me-Turnu and Der until the region of Gutium, I returned to these sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which used to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations.

  23. Scott Thong says:

    “the Bible/Church/population majority says…

    Well, majority decision seems to work well enough to make global warming a science. Lolz!

    There’s a reason why academics are less likely to be religious than non-academics—way less likely in fact.

    By academics, do you mean teh standard composition of modern universities dominated by liberal socialist philosophers? Cos the physicists beg to differ.

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/physicists-believe-in-god-or-at-least-a-creator-or-designer-a-collection-of-quotes/

    Any citations that show education is inversely related to religiousity?

  24. Scott Thong says:

    a reading of scripture that just skims by text bearing no resemblance to known events or is outright contradicted by them and then zooming in on vague passages that you can connect to actual events but from which you could never have predicted the actual events given the vagueness of the scripture

    Define vague.

    The Bible’s Ezra 1:1-3 - In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah, the LORD moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
    “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:
    ” ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the LORD, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_cylinder – I am Cyrus, king of the world, great king, legitimate king, king of Babylon. I strove for peace in Babylon and in all his [other] sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon… I abolished forced labour… From Nineveh, Assur and Susa, Akkad, Eshnunna, Zamban, Me-Turnu and Der until the region of Gutium, I returned to these sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which used to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations.

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  26. Chris says:

    Is it really necessary to selectively truncate ‘mythologies’ with ‘falsehoods’? Seems like looking too hard to make the outer world confirm the inner suspicions about it.

  27. ronbrown says:

    Scott: I will get back to you soon. Your post, I figure, could take longer than most others.

    Chris: Different people use “myth” different ways. Here is what wikipedia says: “In the academic fields of mythology, mythography, or folkloristics, a myth (mythos) is a sacred story concerning the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be in their present form. The active beings in myths are generally gods and heroes. Myths often are said to take place before recorded history begins. In saying that a myth is a sacred narrative, what is meant is that a myth is believed to be true by people who attach religious or spiritual significance to it. Use of the term by scholars does not imply that the narrative is either true or false.
    …A myth in popular use is something that is widely thought to be false. This usage, which is often pejorative, arose from labeling the religious myths and beliefs of other cultures as being incorrect, but it has spread to cover non-religious beliefs as well. Because of this usage, many people take offense when the religious narratives they believe to be true are called myths.”

    A common element in both cases is a lack of evidence for the belief. The myth may convey some metaphorical truth, but the actual story itself is evidentially baseless. This is an important component of our understanding of mythology. Without this distinction, would the story of, say, Ted Haggard become a myth. It conveys certain important messages (e.g., that lying and hypocrisy can come back to bite you in the ass), but we would hardly call it a myth as, unless there is some major media and church conspiracy, it seems to be true. Or at least, we have good reason to believe that it is.

  28. Mark says:

    Hi Scott,

    It isn’t a ‘majority’ which makes ‘global warming’ a science. It is a good question… even if there is a concensus, how can scientists be so confident? It has to do with how well the predictions match the measured results. Have a read of the following article. I am genuinely interested in what you think of it:

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/070716_gw_notwrong.html

    As for predictions, many things are predicted in the Bible which just haven’t come true… of course, many hope they still will – you just need to watch one episode of Jack Van Impe. Picking the Cyrus example is just picking and chosing. There are a great number of Biblical examples which are vague, and can be twisted to fit your story… as Jack Van Impe has mastered.

    Jesus certainly thought (predicted) that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time – Matthew 10:23, Matthew 16:28, etc. Of course, he contradicts himself in Matthew 24:14. (see more: http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/end.html)
    Personally, I define all this confusion as creating vagueness.

    As for the historical account of Jesus, it is rather boastful to proclaim that Christianity is factual and based on real events. There are very thoughtful and hard working people in this world that have critically sought the real history of Christ, and it is not clearly factual.

    How is it a ‘fact’ that Jesus was born from a virgin and raised from the dead? We have no reason outside of the New Testament to even believe that Jesus, if he even ever existed, was born in Bethlehem. History does not support Luke’s Christmas story about a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world was required to go to their place of origin to be “taxed” (KVJ) or “enrolled” (RSV). Surely such a vast undertaking would have been recorded. History does not record a census affecting only Judea and not Galilee, but this took place in 6-7 CE, which conflicts with the fact that Jesus was supposedly born in the days of Herod, who died in 4 BCE. And the list continues…

    Stating Christ as historical fact simply undermines genuine inquiry.

    As for a relationship between education and religiosity, according to a 1998 survey of the National Academy of Sciences, 93% do not believe in God (http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html). The trend from previous studies from 1914 and 1933 shows disbelief is on the rise.

    Also, what do you think of the following?:

    http://hypnosis.home.netcom.com/iq_vs_religiosity.htm

    Cheers,
    Mark

  29. ronbrown says:

    Mark:

    Many thanks for addressing Scott. You are clearly far better prepared to address specifics of scripture than I.

    Scott: I just skimmed through your supposed evidence that physicists believe in a designer. Are you joking me? That’s your evidence? A bunch of quotes? To fill up a page with cherry-picked quotes is not evidence—not in biblical validation or in opinion surveys. If that is what we’re going to call good evidence, we could probably argue that most physicists are nazis because as long as 10 physicists in the last 50 years have said at least one thing that could be interpreted as being pro-Nazi, you could fill up a page of evidence.

    As for actual research results, see the link provided by Mark, which profiles the results of a rigorous study published in Nature, which along with Science is one of the two top science journals in the world. Compare on the one hand a well run study with a response rate of 60% (very high for survey reseach) which finds that only 7% of scientists believe in a personal God, to your collection of quotes. Additional analysis of the results of this study at the American Atheists website (http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm) describes how back in the early 1900s physicists were the LEAST likely to believe—no current results were given, but given the overall trend in decreased belief I would imagine that their level of belief continues to be very low (if it were even a little bit high it would’ve been mentioned alongside mathematicians, whose belief rate was the very highest at 15%). Additionally, only 5.5% of life scientists believe in a personal god.

  30. Mark says:

    Ron and Scott,

    The argument “but most people believe in God” or “most [these type of people] believe in God” says nothing for Christianity. In fact, since the god of most religions is incompatible, at least of the major world religions, then it isn’t a majority which believe in the God of the Bible. In other words, it is not the same god for all religions. Consider the case of Islam: Here is a religion that explicitly repudiates the core claims of Christianity (Muhammad assures us that anyone who thinks Jesus was divine will spend eternity in hell, Quran 5:71-75; 19:30-38). Islam has nearly as many subscribers as Christianity does and is now spreading faster than any religion on earth. It doesn’t matter who believes or how many believers there are.

    When a Scientologist says, “We have offices in 175 cities,” this does nothing to redeem his claims upon my credulity. Scientologists can build as many offices as they like, enjoy as much fellowship as they like, and smile as widely as they are able-none of this will render the writings of L. Ron Hubbard profound. None of this will lend intellectual credibility to a belief system that can be best summarized in a episode of South Park.

    Indeed millions, if not billions of believers of a religious faith can in fact be wrong. Many of the worlds major religions and faiths are profoundly different and mutually-exclusive, and they can’t all be correct. Therefore, for the faiths which are wrong (perhaps all of them), there are millions of followers who are wrong. Not to mention again, the 93% of the National Academy of Sciences that do not believe in God.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  31. Rolf says:

    Scott, when one resorts to quoting the Bible during a rational discussion, one loses any credibility one once had. Quoting scripture proves nothing. Folks, there’s no point arguing with fundamentalist Christians. Just when you think that you’ve made a rational point that they cannot refute, they move the goalposts. It’s always been that way and will remain so.

  32. Reynald T says:

    It just shows the ignorance and misinformation that people have about the reliability of the Bible. The history section perhaps but the Bible is the most reliable book in history and the message in it is the ONLY one that gives hope to mankind!

    Rolf… you just show your ignorance of the reliability of the Bible. I have studied history, science etc. and it is reliable right from page 1.

    Here… when you get your own Nobel prize for Physics maybe you can argue….

    “If I had no other data than the early chapters of Genesis, some of the Psalms and other passages of Scripture, I would have arrived at essentially the same picture of the origin of the universe, as is indicated by the scientific data.” Nobel Prize-winning physicist Arno Penzias (Big Bang Theorist)

    I really get sick of people telling me about the Bible and it’s reliability and they have never studied it! C.S. Lewis, Alister McGrath, Lee Stroebel and John Polkinghorne all looked at the evidence and became Christians and proclaim the Gospel! When you have investigative reporters that started the work as an insult or world renowned Quantum Physcists that become Anglican priests and high school drop out saying it doesn’t make sense…I think I will go with the professors!

  33. Rolf says:

    “Rolf… you just show your ignorance of the reliability of the Bible. I have studied history, science etc. and it is reliable right from page 1.”

    Reynard T, I lay my ignorance of the Bible before all to see; I have not, I repeat, not read the Bible, and have no desire to do so. As Richard Dawkins has suggested, one does not have to study Leprechauns in depth in order to disbelieve in them, so I feel no need to study the supposed words of a god that I do not believe in. I think I’ll go with the professor on this one.

    Besides, I thought the term for the correctness of the Bible was inerrancy, not reliability … or is that just my ignorance showing?

  34. tadcronn says:

    I’ll be more impressed when they put the Atheist books in the Religion section, where they belong.

  35. aunty_pathy says:

    Has it escaped everyone’s notice that Mythology in a lot of cases is obsolete religeon? Zeus and Jupiter? Were Gods. And Heros in the same myths are the offspring of a human and a God. Maybe they should just re-label the whole section “Belief”.

  36. Floroskop says:

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    I think this try.

  37. dispopularize digredience fanglomerate sciolous narra brumous mussulwoman free
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  38. Ted says:

    Have to agree with aunty_pathy’s comment. Just as religion has often engendered genocide, prejudice and a host of other evils, the myyths of old likely did the same, just not as well documented.

    Religion must be understood in order to understand politics and much history.

    Question: Can a devout believer really understand religion and its social and political consequences?

  39. the used books on Amazon are the best cheap books that you can get ::

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  41. Sounds like a brilliant night. Wine receptions are a sure sign that a good time is to be had!

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