As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
An anonymous translator reworked the King James Version of the bible using Unicode emoji, as well as common internet abbreviations and slang.
"Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millennials" was released Sunday in the iBooks store. It is an adaptation of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible using internet slang and emoji, the emoticons frequently used in text messages and tweets.
A “great and fun way to share the gospel”, as it is described by its author, this new version replaces commonly used words from all 66 books of the KJV of the Bible with Unicode-approved emojis.
To create the program, the translator chose about 80 emojis from Unicode. Some emojis were linked with multiple words. It also goes one step further by translating this ancient scripture into today’s web lingo. That means subbing in words like “and” for “&,” “why” for “y,” and “people” for “ppl.”
The Bible Emoji’s creator estimates that approximately 15 percent of the total character count of the KJV was replaced with modern slang.
The creator of “Bible Emoji” has preferred to remain anonymous, identifying only as the cool-dude-with-sunglasses emoji, because he or she wants to project “no race, no gender, no agenda.”
After getting through the book of Genesis, the translator posted Bible Emoji text online to see what readers thought.
— Bible Emoji (@BibleEmoji) 29 de marzo de 2016
“It was like a public proofread,” the translator told The Huffington Post. “I’d tweet out the rough draft, get feedback from the Twitter community, then revise my program. It took about six months to finish the project.
The project has generated some abusive comments online from both atheists and very conservative Christians. But, despite the backlash, the translator, who identifies as Christian, said the Twitter community has also given the Bible Emoji positive reviews.
“I HOPE IT WILL HELP EVERYBODY”
The translator told The Huffington Post, he/she hopes readers will view this new version the Bible “as fun. I hope that it has people on both sides go and maybe look for themselves and what’s in the Bible and what it says.”
“The book has a lot of human history in it, a lot of really good things and also negative things. I hope it helps everyone on both sides of the argument to see it for what it is”, the writer added.
“The Bible more than any other book has a really rich history of translation. I think that's one of the beautiful things about emojis, and I think one of the goals of using them was to point out, in the Bible, God's love is for everyone, not select people”, the author also said in the Daily News.
“WORDS HAVE POWER”
Some Christian leaders have commented on the Emoji Bible. Greg Jao, from InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA (IFES), believes that “at one level, any tool that helps get students into scripture is a win. I want students to encounter the Bible in all of its glory and challenge and hope.”
He also states that “One of the challenges I think, of the emoji Bible, is that they’re actually replacing words with emojis. And (...) you don’t want to lose the words of Scripture.”
“Words have power. And emojis, by definition, already interpret the Scriptures for you, because they’re giving you emotional reactions rather than filling it will content,” Jao said.