The deadly effects of heresy

Remember my post about iPads substituting for books at the altar?  Go read and look at the WDTPRS poll.

The problem with the shifting of texts to screen rather than books, is that you can’t as easily burn the heretical texts.

I found this at Happy Catholic, from xkcd.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cristero says:

    Technology is so wonderful! iPads as Altar Missals, and old school book burnings with Kindles!

  2. Supertradmum says:

    I actually know of book burnings, but not kindle…

  3. Traductora says:

    I plan to run off to the South of France and live happily ever after with my Kindle. Spare it!

  4. TC says:

    Good one, Vincenzo!

    But this bears some investigation — how does one “burn” ebooks? Corrupt the files on the server? Hack into Amazon so it keeps recalling all the copies from everyone’s Kindle as in the 1984 incident?

  5. The Cobbler says:

    In any book burning, the people have to bring the books they already have that have been declared heretical or otherwise worthy of burning (I could see burning some non-heretical but really, truly crappy manuals — the sort that make the problem harder to solve rather than telling you how to go about solving it). If you pay the maker for more of his books, even in order to burn them rather than let them fall into hands that might be misled, you’re shooting your cause in the foot by rewarding the author. Of course, it’s another matter when copies are being handed out for free — everybody take a dozen, which just looks like you want to pass it on to friends, but then you go burn them.

    As for how to burn electronic trash — you can corrupt any data you already have (or delete it, but that’s usually telling your computer to forget where it is, not actually eliminate it — unless you run nearly out of storage space, in which case almost everything deleted will have been overwritten by all that non-deleted stuff taking up the memory), but there’s not much legally to be done about other people having it — just as there isn’t with regard to other people having an evil book.

    I’ll grant it’s less dramatic to destroy the evil from your computer, but as was pointed out by some commenters the computer doesn’t store the data particularly permanently to begin with (not compared to books anyway, and as far as showing up on the screen it’s absolutely transitory). If you have dvds of bad stuff you can break ’em, though. And there are plenty of ways, if you want to show your friends that you’re rejecting something ill you once held as a guilty pleasure (death metal? porn? your stash of filthy cigarettes? whatever?), of making a semi-public show of the destruction of the material. To an extent, the practice of standing up in some sort of share group and witnessing to how you repented and got rid of all your bad stuff is the modern equivalent of book burnings.

    The bigger question I have with regard to book burning is what criteria go into the judgement that a thing is without redeeming value, not to even be engaged in order to bring understanding to those not hardened against the Truth, etc. Or how to handle the fact that sometimes heresy-hunters get ahead of themselves and read heresy into things.

  6. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Worse than a book burning – non-existence. All data that are stored by computers exists only in binary form, (yes,no; 1,0; |,-; on,off) EVERYTHING.From the latest YouTube posting, to Fr. Z’s blog. It does not exist in the real world in the same manner as a book, or scribbles on a piece of paper, or statues of stone.

    How something like a text document is stored on your home computer, laptop or iPad, only varies in the slightest of degrees. It may be durable, long lasting but that is measured only in months and years.

    Who needs a match, or even a fire when everything could be erased in a second, and stored data modified to show “the missing data never existed.” (Do a search using the term “Disappearing e-books” interesting reading.)

    There are a thousand different ways it could be done, and really, some of them are simple and clumsy and others, you might never know for weeks.

    We humans have barely touched upon how evil can flourish and destroy in cyberspace.

    Store our treasures in heaven and make mindful use of our abilities to memorize. Books can be burned, teachings suppressed, and data made to disappear. What is written on our hearts and souls remains.

  7. Esther says:

    “If you pay the maker for more of his books, even in order to burn them rather than let them fall into hands that might be misled, you’re shooting your cause in the foot by rewarding the author.”

    I think that was the point. The people in the cartoon were so stupid that they bought more books to burn, then ended up buying ebooks, then burned a kindle and died. The joke was basically “wow, these people are really dim.”

  8. Dunangus says:

    I’ve been following xkcd for a long time. Its one of the things I look forward to on Monday,Wednesday,Friday. It is unfortunate though, that the “alt” text didn’t transfer. Visit the site and hover of the comic for additional commentary. “Of course, their cautionary tale was in a print newspaper, so no one read it”

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