An atheist-themed media outlet recently featured an unlikely project: the Kingstone Bible, a stunning, 2,000-page graphic novel that depicts key scenes from the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
While Art Ayris, a pastor who is also founder and CEO of Kingstone Comics, has done interviews with a plethora of secular outlets, in the past he said he was stunned when The Humanist approached his company to do a profile on the graphic Bible.
“The Guardian in the U.K., number one Russian news site Lenta and Danish paper Kristelight Dagblad all did pieces on the graphic novel trilogy,” he told Faithwire. “But when the request for an interview with The Humanist came in, it had us scratching our heads a bit.”
But rather than ignore or decline the request from The Humanist — an outlet owned by The American Humanist Association — Ayris agreed to do an interview and, to his surprise, the final long-form article wasn’t anything like what he originally expected.
“Expecting a bloody hatchet job, we kind of gingerly opened our copies of the spring edition of The Humanist magazine,” he said. “But overall, we felt the review was pretty graceful from their end — conceding quality artwork, but they viewed our evangelical underpinnings as flawed.”
According to Ayris, The Humanist took issue with the Kingstone Bible’s mention of the biblical trinity on the first page of Genesis, feeling as though the comic book company’s move “immediately excluded Muslims and Jews from the conversation.” But considering that the Kingstone Bible is — as a collective work — a Christian undertaking, the decision to focus on Jesus isn’t all that shocking.
A look at The Humanist article in question did, indeed, raise questions about the handling of these Christian themes.
“Right out of the box the game is rigged against any Jewish, Muslim, or secular reading of what originated as Jewish scripture,” the article reads. “This problem continues off and on throughout. Despite the promise of gripping imagery in a graphic novelization, there is an occasional muting or skipping over certain biblical horrors, apparently so the work’s audience can include preteen readers.”
But while there were certainly critiques, the article also called the Kingstone Bible “ambitious,” saying that it is a “product of serious professionals in the field,” and noting that some of the illustrators have, indeed, worked at Marvel and D.C. Comics.
Faithwire asked Ayris why he believes The Humanist approached Kingstone to do a profile, and he offered up a theory.
“We are assuming they wanted to demonstrate (from their viewpoint) the superiority of a truly intellectual, naturalistic viewpoint of life versus the less-than-intellectually-substantial, supernaturalistic belief of evangelicals,” he said. “But I have always been of the mindset (to quote John MacArthur) that truth is like a lion, just let it out of its cage.”
Ayris continued, “So, we sent the requested review copies with the belief that the Word will never return void but will accomplish what God sent it to do.”
As for The Humanist, the outlet concluded that the Bible has its “problems” and that making the book more accessibly actually helps to illustrate those purported issues, even going so far as to encourage people to nab copies of the Kingstone Bible.
“If you have friends who believe in the Bible while never having really read it, this could be the perfect gift for waking them up to its true mythical nature,” the article concluded.
Faithwire previously highlighted the Kingstone Bible last November after an extensive interview with Ayris. At the time, he said he hopes his company will help better engage youths with the biblical scriptures.
“There’s such an engagement factor with comics and graphic novels,” he said, explaining that his company’s aim is to feature “ordinary people, extraordinary stories.”
The project, which took seven years to complete and culminated in 2,000 pages and 10,000 art panels, is among the largest graphic novels ever published. Read more about it here.
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