Bible stories are boring
I had a throwaway comment I wanted to add in regard to PZ Myers' post on a kook who's been "updating" Norse creation mythology. The Pharyngula site won't take comments now without registration, and currently won't let me register either, so here's the gist of my rejected comment with a little added padding:
It appears that a Norwegian musician named Varg Vikernes is "updating" Norse creation mythology with elaborate ties to modern cosmology. That makes for a blending of two awesome themes, and I'm all for their illicit coupling – assuming there's a proper sense of tongue-in-cheek goofiness behind it all, of course. Based on Pharyngula readers' comments about Vikernes' mental state and his apparent seriousness about his religion, though, I think I'll wait for someone else to meld Odin and the Big Bang before I jump aboard to play along.
Anyway, a commenter named Greg F took note of the relative mediocrity of the Abrahamic creation myth. That's so true; of all the wild and woolly origin myths out there, Genesis' tale is about the most boring I've come across. The rest of the Bible doesn't get much more exciting. That's why any kiddie Book of Bible Stories is always so dull too; it's working with pretty bland material, and all a bored kid can do is read the Ark story, and David & Goliath, over and over. The magic gets pretty thin after that.
That brings to mind another (similarly bland) tale from my youth as a Jehovah's Witness: the breathless announcement (in 1978 – thanks, Wikipedia!) of My Book of Bible Stories from the Watchtower Society. Yes, we kiddies finally had a book to call our own, a parent-approved diversion to leaf through during dull Sunday services. Granted, it was no tome of "wow!" – lots of color pictures, yes, but of not much besides one robed ancient after another. Still, until then there had been nothing story-centered aimed at the younger set besides the musty old From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained hardback. (I don't recall that book's content well, except for the unmistakable inclusion of dinosaurs among the robed people figures in its maps of the ancient world! Ken Ham, you've found friends!)
Compare that with competing mythologies – say, Norse. Also as a kid (sorry, I don't have good recall of what age was involved in these various little tidbits) I loved the excellent D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths. Now there was a proper set of stories – trolls, Giants, monsters, and the way-cool mayhem of Ragnarok! I recall one early morning when I was reading its creation tales aloud to a younger sibling – an awfully nice thing for me to have been doing – when I was overheard by the parents. No, they weren't fundamentally screwed up enough to freak out over such a thing, but they did suggest that my audience was too young to understand what is and isn't myth, and might get the tall tales from mythology mixed up with the truths from Genesis. With that proclamation (and busting of irony meters for miles around), my live readings of the sagas came to an end.
Ahem. Pardon my waxing nostalgic and pointless. I have no message here, other than to recall secretly wishing as a lad that My Book of Bible Stories held more than a handful of mildly arresting tales. As an adult, now able to appreciate prose that replaces Jotun battles with deeper societal and philosophical themes, I still find Bible tales dull as hell. I'll take Thor and his hammer over Jesus and a basket of fish any day.