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09/08/2019

Would it be a terrible, terrible idea to put The Bible as the worst book ever on a college application?

QUESTION
Would it be a terrible, terrible idea to put The Bible as the worst book ever on a college application?
I’m an open Atheist, it’s a big part of who I am, and on one of my college applications it asks me what the worst book I’ve ever read is, and honestly the first thing that came to mind was The Bible. I only have 100 characters, so my biggest fear is that I’ll just come across as a dick and not properly explain it.

I’ve already written an essay about the best advice I’ve ever received being “Greed is good,” so I think at this point, I’m just rolling with the controversy.

ANSWER
While I agree that you should be honest, you should probably avoid too much controversy in a college application. There is absolutely no need to stir the pot here and you can’t even properly dialogue with the admissions committee to defend your choice. In a class? Sure. In your admissions essay? I think not. In short, I think you will come off as a dick.

I am an open atheist as well and I have read and enjoyed the Bible – as literature. If you’re focusing on the Bible as a bad book because of the religious fervor and poor choices (homicide, bombings, threats, wars, violence, and other counterproductive and hypocritical measures) that have come of it, you’re holding idiots responsible for misinterpreting what is actually quite a neat book. My dad (who was raised Catholic) once told me he thought Genesis was the coolest science fiction he had ever read.

You can trample the Bible all you want, but it’s not going to show that being atheist is part of who you are. Being atheist isn’t about condemning the Bible; that’s your view.

If your essay is controversial, I’d say that’s all you’ll need to stand out. Don’t make ‘controversy’ a theme of your application because it doesn’t bring a lot of depth to your application, only negativity. I presume that you’re not applying to a school with religious affiliations, but even state schools don’t accept people for shock value or for being argumentative. Save it for your law school application.

Good luck!

PS As an English major, I don’t think you could properly defend your choice in 100 characters, even with good reasons (which I can, from a literary and historical viewpoint, imagine!).

PPS You should put Twilight 😉