TUMBY BAY - The world is awash with self-help books. No matter what the subject, they promise you advice that will solve all your problems.
Self-help literature is an industry in its own right. The motives of its authors range from the naked desire to make a buck out of gullible suckers to a genuine desire to be helpful.
Of the huge output of these books, there is a significant amount devoted to self-help options derived from Biblical studies.
Of all the books written over the centuries, the granddaddy of the self-help genre is the Christian Bible. Whatever your problem there is an answer in the Bible.
Modern self-help religious books seek to extract and repackage parts of the Bible. By far and away the authors of these books are American fundamentalists and their influence is huge.
So who actually wrote the Bible?
Religious doctrine holds that God himself is the author and that the transcription of his texts was carried out by various human mortals over an extended period of time.
These individuals include Moses, who is credited with writing the first five books of the Old Testament as well as the Jewish Torah around 1,300 BC.
There is, however, no historical evidence that Moses actually existed and it is more likely that this part of the Bible was written by several different writers at different times.
Other figures attributed as authors of various parts of the Bible and who can actually be historically traced include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were writing in Babylon around 640 BC. Some parts of the Bible, such as Job, were written about 330 BC. The prophets, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were, of course, writing about Jesus much later still.
John, of Revelation fame, for instance, seems to have been a converted Jew who wrote his vision of the End Times, so beloved of fundamentalists, on the Greek island of Patmos about 100 years after Jesus’ death.
While the historical evidence concurs with traditional Christian beliefs in the case of writers like John the question of who wrote the Bible remains very complex and consequently contested.
All up the Bible seems to have taken well over a thousand years to write. Over the period of its evolutionary development history tells us that it was subject to heavy editing as events and politics impacted and influenced its authors.
However, If we put all that aside and take a giant leap of faith and accept that the Bible is, in fact, the word of God we also have to accept that God was, or is, a writer.
For a Christian country like Papua New Guinea that creates a very interesting question. If God is a writer why is a government of avowed Christian values ignoring its own literature and writers?
Surely those writers can claim some kind of affiliation with a fellow writer like God?
Is there something evil, something Devilish, operating in the government of PNG that it spurns the idea of literature, even though it is a championed by the God they purport to worship?
Is the PNG government acting against God’s will by ignoring its writers? Don’t they know that burying their nation’s history in silence is a sin?
The Bible is a book, after all, and God obviously saw it as the perfect conduit for informing and enlightening humanity.
The PNG government thought that it was vital to house a rare 400 year old King James Bible in Parliament House a few years ago but then seemingly set about ignoring all of the precepts contained in it.
What does this say about Papua New Guinean politicians?
Not much I’m afraid.