One company is banking on Millennials’ love of vapid aesthetics to get the increasingly irreligious demographic back into Christ’s loving arms.
Alabaster is redesigning the bible to be more approachable, less boring, and very attractive to the “Instagram generation.” Brian Chung, Alabaster’s 30-year-old co-founder, told Vox that he wants these bibles to “be true and relevant to millennials.”
“We are all on our iPhones, but we also respond really well to visual imagery, and so it has to really grasp our attention,” said Chung. “If it does, it can change the way we think.”
Alabaster isn’t selling entire bibles, but rather individual books of the bible. Gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John sell for $30; Romans and Psalms for $35 and $38 softcovers and $70 for hardcovers. Meanwhile, sets of the aforementioned start at $100 and top out at $155. Oh, and you can pre-order the Book of Proverbs right now for only $21!
These prices are steep, but hey, customers are paying for an aesthetic. From Vox:
These are no ordinary religious books. They have that Kinfolk-inspired, vaguely Scandinavian vibe that has taken over coffee shops, fashion boutiques, and interior design Instagram. Their pages are clean and spacious, and the religious texts are placed next to original photography that’s solemn yet alluring: forests of trees, mysterious caves, a de-petaled rose, mist above the ocean, a woman holding a candle.
Alabaster Bibles don’t just stand apart because of the hipster photography and typeset. They also specifically use the New Living Translation, which came out in 1996, as opposed to the King James Bible, which was published in 1611.
“A big part of faith is in the language,” Bryan Chung says. “It felt off to be reading and using words you can barely pronounce or understand. That’s not what will interest people.”
Sure, we may all be vulnerable to the allure of minimalist, carefully curated aesthetics. It’s why we keep buying shit from Glossier. But is this just a physical version of a hip youth minister? In 2015, a Pew Research poll found that only half of millennials say they believe in God with only 27 percent attending weekly services. Cynicism toward religion—whether due to Catholic Church scandals or a much needed detox of Bush era purity politics—is about more than outdated terminology or boring packages. Did anyone stop going to Sunday school because the bibles weren’t pretty enough?
Nevertheless, Chung estimates Alabaster will make $900,000 in bible profits by the end of 2019, so clearly my heathen ass knows nothing.
Anyway, wanna listen to some Creed?