Store Display: They Misunderstood the Quotation
Apparently this was making the rounds over the holidays on Reddit, but actually has its origins much earlier as evidenced by this June report in The Telegraph bearing an image which says “seven months ago,” with the reminder that the phrase “has been widely used by atheists in discussing the Bible and now the quote is once again being shared online.”
My first reaction when a friend sent this was to reply, “I think the store owners were sincere.” I just think they didn’t realize the intent of the original, which may or may not have originated with Mark Twain.
It’s a reminder of how easy it is to get caught up in the busy-ness of day-to-day operations and fail to think things through. In 21 years of doing Christian retail in our store, along with many other years previously working alongside store owners, there are times you get asked to do things (carry products, post signs, circulate petitions) which are the product of someone’s zeal, but not their careful thinking. The tough part is to say no and then try to teach your customers why it’s not a good idea.
There are times I think that a minimum level of education is necessary to operate stores like ours in the wider marketplace. Even armed with a B.A. that included philosophy and religious studies courses, as well as being raised in the church from infancy, there was simply so much I had to learn once I started operating my own store. The internet has been a great help, but reading a variety of Christian literature, reading critiques of the products we sell, and visiting all the churches in the community are three things I would recommend. If you can squeeze some evening courses in at a Bible College or Seminary in a nearby city, all the better.