Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


Holy Texts (Part One)

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:51 am

I’ve been out of town for over a week. I pre-wrote some weblog entries so that you would have something to read while I was sleeping in hotel rooms, traversing smoky casinos and enjoying the music. I listened to Paul Van Dyk play his greatest works and debut his new album at the nightclub at the Luxor hotel. I listened to Simon and Garfunkel sing together again in a huge coliseum of fans at the MGM Grand hotel. And I listened to the timpani of hotel casino guests enjoying the freedom of Sin City.

The wages of sin are unreported.  – Unknown

I’ve started a new tradition on this trip. In every hotel room, I’ve hidden a dollar in the Gideon Bible. I’m not a believer. I don’t think the Bible is any more important than any other text that has survived for two thousand years. The works of the ancient Egyptians, Confucius, and the Greek philosophers are equally sacred to me. These works of antiquity aren’t provided for solace in hotels, however. The Bible is.

When he left, two books were missing from his bookshelf.  – David Duncan, The Time Machine screenplay, 1960

The first time I saw the movie for The Time Machine, I immediately thought that one of the books would be the Bible. I was a child raised in the Jehovah Witness faith. The idea that the Time Traveler would go to Paradise without the Bible wasn’t even considered. The only question was, “What was the other book he brought?” Now that my faith in God has flown from me along with the Tooth Fairy and Democracy, I am surprised that he only took two books.

What books would you have taken?  – David Duncan, The Time Machine screenplay, 1960

To rebuild the world, what science books would I bring? To survive in Paradise, what texts would I carry? To educate a world of simpletons, what holy writ would I include? Would I even want to bring anything from the past? If he had truly found Paradise and Utopia, would our thoughts just contaminate it? How could I return with only two books? How could I return with any?

All week I have been placing dollar bills in hotel room Bibles. I have opened the book at random, found a quote about gifts, inheritance, charity, chance or money and underlined it. It is no longer a holy text to me, yet I started this tradition. I classify myself as an atheist who struggles with superstition. In a faith that defines itself by its lack of faith, I am crying out for Holy Texts. All I can hear, however, is the clatter of slot machines.


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