I thought it was worth summarizing at some length an article I really enjoyed in this month’s Eternity Magazine. The author, Greg Clarke, CEO of the Bible Society, wrestles there with how truth works these days. He declares that, according to many people, “The best book to read is the Vible.” What is the Vible? Well, it’s something you feel in your guts. It’s the vibe, and its sacred text is called the Vible. The Vible is the summary of the moral teachings that people adhere to today. It’s semi-organised, fairly contemporary and unwritten, yet these are the received guidelines that, having accepted them, make you feel as though you are a decent human being.
The Vible demands very little of us in reality. Commands like, Be nice to people [but online doesn’t count]; Don’t judge others [as long as they are similar to you]; Above all, be tolerant of others [unless they hold a position that is contrary to yours, in which case they are despicable and deserve extermination!].
The Vible fits a world in which truth has been reduced to, ‘I may not know what is true but I do know what I morally like.’ It’s the vibe. It’s ‘my’ vibe and I am the vibe setter.
Greg suggests that these sentiments might be endurable but for the fact that some of the Vible’s most ardent protagonists actually think the views they preach are the same views we read in the Bible. Their views are what they think Christianity OUGHT to be: “If Jesus were alive today, this is what he would think,” they declare.
The Bible is a large and fairly complex book [66 books actually covering most literary genres] and the New Testaments is the only place to find what Jesus said, did and taught. A brief dip won’t cut it, but the Vible-bashers don’t even dip; they assume they’re already ‘all over it’.
Greg says, that he wants people who reckon they know what God would say to them, even when they have never sought to find out to move beyond dangerous, uninformed ignorance. Inner feelings, pub theology and morning TV 2 minute-grabs just don’t cut it. The Bible introduces us to the historical record of faith, the testimony to Jesus and the divine deposit of wisdom that has shaped the world for the past 3500 years.
The Vible always agrees with me, is always comfortable and shows me that my way is the right way. The Bible only ever agrees with God, is frequently uncomfortable, and shows me how little like God I am but how immeasurable and faithful is his love, sacrifice and forgiveness.
Greg Clark finishes by quoting our great friend C.S.Lewis. What is the point, Lewis asks, of “tranquil veneration when we ought to be burning with shame or struck dumb with terror or carried out of ourselves by ravishing hopes or adorations?”
Do you venerate the Vible, or are you a willing and expectant student of the Bible?
Read Greg’s article in full; it’s much better than my half-baked version.
[Richly borrowed and plagiarised from Greg Clarke, The Vible Told Me So, Eternity, March 2018]