What Is This?
Augusten Burroughs' "Running with Scissors" describes an act of divination
known as a "Bible Dip":
"All the Finches did bible-dips. It was like asking a Magic Eight Ball a question, only you were asking God. The way it worked was, one person held the bible while another person thought of a question to ask God, like, 'Should I get my hair cut short?' Then the person holding the bible opened it at random, and the person asking the question dropped his or her finger on the page. Whatever word your finger landed on, this was your answer."
This program acts as the person holding the bible and randomly selecting
Is This A Joke?
No. Although the program's author is currently
a fence-sitting agnostic, this page is a legitimate
attempt to make the "Bible Dip" process more convenient.
A Christian believer might think that a diligently written
computer program can channel God's influence as well as a person
holding a Bible.
(We should point out that this system might be considered
heretical by many.)
A Spiritually-oriented person of any faith
may feel that the Bible has been imbued with a certain power
reflecting centuries of belief, and that this technique can
tap into that synchronicity. A Skeptic may find strength in
the arbitrary randomness of it, a way of thinking outside the box
or rechanneling subconscious thoughts.
What Version of the Bible Is It?
The program uses the
King James Version etext.
Appropriately enough, this file comes from
How Does The Program Select The Passage?
I made an index of the 100,000 lines
the raw text file. The program then seeds a random number generator
and selects one of those lines, and grabs the block of 20.
Geeks can see the perl script here.
(Of course John von Neuman said
"Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin" but still...)
Could I use a different text I consider holy or important?
If you can get a plain text version of the document,
preferably one pre-formatted into 80 columns, then I'd probably
be willing to make a version of this program for you.
What If I Don't Trust The Computer Program For This?
Well, you could go
the raw file,
scroll to a random section, and point. Or get a physical bible!
Use at your own risk! No guarantee, expressed or implied, is offered
about the accuracy of this divination technique or of your interpretation
of your anwer. In fact, Satan is most dangerous when in the guise of an Angel, so just