I may have been raised Episcopalian, but I've been an Atheist for as long as I can remember. When I was almost 13, I gave a presentation to my grandma (she raised me) about why I shouldn't have to go to church anymore. In my home, it wasn't enough to say you didn't want to do something, you had to argue for it, in an organized way. I made a chart-sized list of my reasons, and went down them point-by-point.

My grandma listened, parried, and then told me that if I still felt the same in 6 months, I was free to stop attending services and quit my confirmation classes. As soon as that 6 months was up, I was out. And I did end up reading the Bible (well, the Old Testament, anyway) before I quit church—religion aside, it's an awesome read, something I recognized even at 12. As a writer who works in the English language, I'm terribly glad to have learned the Bible so thoroughly; there are just so many references to this great text.

So when a friend posted on Facebook about this beautiful new Bible Kickstarter, and wrote, "I must be the only Atheist in the world who wants this," it didn't surprise me a wink when other friends of his me-too'd—including me. Let's admit it—most Bibles are ugly, printed on super-thin paper, annotated like crazy, and the covers? Ugh, I remember even at 12 wanting to paper over my copy of the "Good News Bible." Now there's a solution—this beautiful, text-only version of the Bible (no notes, no extras, just the words). It looks more like a novel or other piece of literature—and that's exactly the point, says the designer.

According to Adam Lewis Greene, a graphic artist specializing in book design and illustration (and the force behind the project): "The literature of the Bible was experienced by its ancient audiences as pure literary art—written or oral—with none of the encyclopedic conventions we are accustomed to today (chapter divisions, verse numbers, notes, cross references, etc.). Furthermore, the texts were appreciated as individual works of literature, which gradually accumulated into what we recognize as the biblical anthology (Biblia, meaning Books). It wasn't until the middle ages that navigational conventions were added and the many texts were combined into a single volume (The Bible, meaning The Book, singular)."

Although I have a lovely huge family Bible with color plates and multiple silk ribbons and a calligraphied page with part of my family tree on it, I love the simplicity of these texts. And I remember from my first serious read of the Bible that it's pretty engrossing. I told my friend on Facebook, that if he was ever stumped for story inspiration, he could turn to any page in the Bible and get some great ideas. In fact, I might do that myself.

So for whatever reason you read the Bible, and whatever belief (or non-belief) system you hold, there's now a beautiful way to enjoy this great text, on its own.  

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Something Atheists and Christians can agree on
A new edition of the Bible brings together believers and nonbelievers.