The Bible Is Undoubtedly Vulgar and Violent But We Should Not Shield Our Children From It

The Bible Is Undoubtedly Vulgar and Violent But We Should Not Shield Our Children From It

The Bible God has given us, and commanded us to teach our kids, does not shy away from reality. God’s plan is not for us to try to preserve childhood innocence for as long as possible. Our children are not innocent, and innocence doesn’t prepare them for life in this world.

Last week Utah banned the Bible from primary schools on the grounds that it is violent and vulgar. How should we respond to this as Christians?

The Bible is without a doubt a book that is full of vulgarity and violence, together with graphic sexual details and imagery. If it were made into a film true to the visual imagery used it would be X-rated and many Christians would regard it as pornographic. It would be a video nasty attracting the ire of Mary Whitehouse for sure.

It is an interesting exercise to consider which stories are left out of children’s Bibles/story books. They are usually a sanitised cannon within a cannon. What is said plainly in Scripture is conveyed euphemistically. The worst stories are left out. Judgment is downplayed or rendered sentimental (I have never understood why Noah and the Flood are so popular when it involves mass death!). There is usually no place for the Song of Songs, the Epistles, Sodom and Gomorrah, Judah and Tamar etc. There is little of the law included (except the 10 Commandments with adultery sanitised) or the details of the law, much of which has to do with sexual behaviour.

The real question is whether God intends this to be kept from children. I suspect that we are shaped more by a romantic vision of childhood that owes more to Rousseau than Scripture, and Victorian notions of childhood innocence. In most of the world, and certainly, in Bible times, children were familiar with harsh reality and the simple ‘facts of life’ from a much earlier age. After all, families shared a single room and yet there were multiple children! Kids on farms know a lot about sex.

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