Fred Phelps, the repugnant leader of Westboro Baptist Church and the “God Hates Fags” protests at fallen soldiers funerals has one thing in common with Martin Luther King Jr., the most important figure in the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s who died in pursuit of equal rights and treatment of all people. That one thing they held in common was that they both believe(d) that the Bible is the Word of God.
There aren’t two people that I can say are more different than these men, yet they are both believers in this supposed “holy” book and consider it the inspiration for their life’s work. How can two people so unquestionably opposed to one another in every way believe that this book is inspired by their same god?
From the outside looking in it can be rather bizarre for the non-believer to understand why books like the Bible and the Qur’an hold such wide appeal, so much so that they are the most printed books in the history of print and because so many people have faith in their words they are the most trusted and believed works of all time. What drives people to these books? Is it simply the tradition or do they hold some great advantage over other books to embed themselves into societies? Most surely it’s a combination of things, but I’d like to examine why it is that the books are so beloved as well as why such seemingly different people can and do adhere to the same texts.