A new, lavishly illustrated book – described by its marketer as a “postmodern” edition of the Bible – takes Darwin’s theory of evolution as gospel and presents Jesus as being born, “not to a virgin, but to a gorilla.”

According to Ruth Rimm, Bronx school teacher and book artist, her version of the Scriptures – titled “Lost Spiritual World” – “explores the emergence of a new global spirituality that mixes the best of each wisdom tradition with the latest findings in psychology, quantum physics, neuroscience, and linguistics.”

It is a “Bible for skeptics, seekers, and people of different faiths.”

The first volume in the series – which will eventually present the Torah, Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist sutras, and Sufi mysticism – covers the Gospel of Mark.

Rimm, however, includes parables not found in Mark, such as the Parable of the Dolphin, the Parable of the Snow Leopard and the Parable of the Gorilla, which are illustrated in a series of irreverent videos to be made available on YouTube as part of the book’s marketing campaign.

The Parable of the Gorilla begins with a Renaissance painting of Mary and baby Jesus. The voice over by a standup comedian begins:

He was born in a manger a long time ago – not to a virgin – but to a gorilla. What’s so funny? Who did you expect his ancestors to look like, Tom Cruise?

But wait. I’m not making fun of Jesus. I’m not mocking religion. In fact, from the deepest wellspring of my heart, I’m despairing something we’ve lost in our scientific culture.

Yes, if Jesus was alive today, he would understand that his ancestors, just like ours, were beasts.

No, he wouldn’t run around claiming he was born of a virgin.

And, brilliant rabbi that he was, he would likely ask us to understand the miracle stories metaphorically – as morality tales – but certainly not as literal truth.

“There may be a profound message behind the miracle stories, but the big bang and evolution implore us not to read things literally,” Rimm said. “Most Americans would rather discover the spiritual truths behind the religious metaphors, especially given how fundamentalism is impacting public life with a narrow view of religion.”

Author Ruth Rimm

Despite it’s focus on Mark’s gospel, “Lost Spiritual World” includes quotes from the Dalai Lamai, Rabbi Michael Lerner and self-help gurus Wayne Dyer and Tony Robbins.

“We all want to be a part of a spiritual community and to do good works,” said Rimm. “And science, for all its accomplishments, has yet to find a replacement [for religion].”

Rimms unconventional Bible is reflected in its design as well as its content.

“The rectangular format of most books just doesn’t capture the majesty of the text,” said Rimm.

“‘The Lost Spiritual World’ is unlike any book you’ve ever seen,” she said on her website. “For one thing, it’s not shaped like a rectangle. In Greek, the word orthodox means ‘straight thinking.’ But according to the fundamentalist thought police, I don’t think straight. I’m a ‘heretic.’

“That’s why I created the wavy shape. It immerses you into the quantum field, showing you how to explore the interconnection of seemingly opposite perspectives. This is the mystical, the ‘mysterium tremendum,’ the divine spark that gave birth to our religions.”

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