NEW YORK • A new translation of the Bible has rendered the Christian scriptures in emojis and other forms of online slang.
The book, Bible Emoji: Scripture 4 Millenials, is based on a Twitter feed that has been posting "emojified" Bible verses for almost a year. The author intentionally misspelled "millennial", he said, to thumb his nose at critics who might dismiss the project as the work of the young and foolish.
The book was released on Sunday on iBooks, the online Apple bookstore. It contains more than 3,000 pages of smiling yellow faces, twinkling stars and cartoon serpents.
The author is a self-described "techie" who requested anonymity because some critics have accused the project of being part of "the satanic illuminati agenda and the ushering in of the Antichrist".
He said the project began as a fun experiment with an online text translator and the King James version. He said: "You know one of those things where you can create Yoda-speak?
"I just started playing around with the translator and I thought it might be kind of fun to use emojis, then I thought it would be fun to do the Bible and see how it would come out."
The decision to start tweeting the results, beginning with the book of Genesis, came naturally. The author also started a website where users can generate emoji translations of their own.
The Internet has responded well to the tweets, he said.
He added that some parents have written in to say this slang-filled, visual version has helped their children read the Bible, especially those with learning disabilities.
However, some online commenters have criticised the project for either mocking religion or manipulating it in a cynical attempt to convert the young.
The author said he grew up very religious and read the entire Bible as a child.
No part of it has been rewritten, only condensed and "emojified", he said, so the word "and" becomes "&" and the word "light" becomes a light bulb.
"I don't think many people do a good job of understanding the Bible in context," the author said.
And he thinks emojis can help with that. "What makes emojis so great and part of the symbolism I wanted with this project is that emojis are universal," he said.
"Emojis have no gender, no race and no agenda."
NEW YORK TIMES