I learned two items of trivia today that gave me a smile. The first one turned up as I was browsing Yahoo UK’s news of the day. It referred to a picture someone had found in a children’s book of Bible stories. ‘Can You Spot Something Unexpected In This Noah’s Ark Children’s Bible Picture?’ challenged the headline. My first thought was, there’s only one rhinoceros. But then I spotted it. As the writer pointed out, ‘There were two elephants, two giraffes, two gazelles, etc. But according to this picture – there were also two gay lions.’ See them there?
So then I thought, aha! That may account for that line in the Bible about the lion lying down with the lamb. But then I checked it out just to be sure, and Isaiah (Isaiah 11:6) doesn’t actually say it will be a lion. In fact he pairs up a wolf with the lamb, and the lion gets a calf and another species-unspecified ‘fatling’. But not for eating, you understand. As one commentator claimed, ‘carnivorous animals will become herbivorous during the Millennium just as they were before the fall of creation.’
So, not only are the lions gay, they will also be vegetarian. Very New Age!
But I want you to know, I’m smiling here, not mocking. I fully appreciate what the prophet Isaiah wanted to say. If religion has any real value for humanity, it must be to bring understanding and peace to a world blighted with conflict. So I guess that’s how you can spot the truly religious in any faith. The war-mongers don’t make the cut, whatever they try to tell you. And maybe learning to smile about it will remind us not to take the outward trappings of institutionalised religion too seriously.