Christianity has become the first major religion to update its literature to suit modern, busy lives. ‘Bible On: Just Try to be Nice’ is expected to top the best-seller list, and has been hailed by critics for its ‘no-nonsense, less preachy approach’.
Vicars have often struggled to convince people with even a basic understanding of how the planet works that the current Bible is still relevant. “The old testament in particular has been hard to read aloud without someone sniggering, I’m pleased to see they’ve done away with that bit completely”, admitted David Parsonage, an experienced vicar of two. “All that smiting, vengeance and impossible levels of rainfall just distract from our core message: ‘try not to be too much of a dick’.”
Controversially, the new edition of the book has updated the names of some characters, and Jesus has been removed completely. “He’s been a bit hard to relate to since the ‘70s, if I’m honest”, explained co-author Ken Flowers. “If a kid is faced by a bearded man in sandals claiming that if they follow him they will experience endless love, they’re probably going to report him to Childline. That’s why we’ve replaced him with a talking bear called Nigel, who looks sad if you drop litter, or knock something over.”
Flowers believes parables and metaphors can confuse the modern audience. “There’s often a fundamental misunderstanding of the old version”, sighed the author, “which is why we’ve asked Professor Brian Cox to proof-read the new version for technical accuracy. For instance, we now claim ‘it is more difficult to push a balloon through the eye of a Dyson bladeless fan than it is for a weird man to enter a Klingon convention.’ Brian wasn’t sure what we can really learn from that, but it is at least scientifically provable.”
Some groups claim the new text isn’t open enough to deliberate misinterpretation. “It’s all very well replacing the ten commandments with the suggestion that you ‘think twice before doing something that you might later regret’”, complained Orson Shapwell, the head of an obscure church that worships fish, “but substituting angels with ‘a chance that someone might see you doing that’ doesn’t give us much room for manoeuvre.”
"My flock relies on me to tell them what to think, and I’m pleased to say they’ll believe almost anything", declared Shapwell. "If I suddenly start asking them to 'listen to their conscience' or 'behave in case they get caught', I could be out of a job. If you ask me, it’s putting a bit too much faith in humanity; 'don't expect too much from people, a lot of them are bastards', to quote the Good Bear Nigel.”