Recently seen on Yahoo!Life:
The article begins:
Efforts to ban books at school libraries — particularly those telling the stories of LGBTQ youth — have been in overdrive recently. And now a Facebook post on the topic has gone viral.
The pair of side-by-side photos, shared by Pflugerville Public Library in Texas, aims to provide a visual of what library shelves might look like if everything containing subject matter that could cause someone discomfort was to be removed.
“This is a before and after shot of what a single shelving unit in the library’s Teen Space would look like if we removed every book with content that could offend someone,” the caption begins. “Out of 159 books, there are ten left on the shelves. We removed books that contained profanity, teen drinking, religious content, racism, magic, abuse, sexual content, and more. But in taking away those books, we also removed examples of friendship, love, courage, creativity, faith, forgiveness, reality, resilience, humor, and history.”
Just for the record, Annette and I strongly oppose censorship, no matter what the motivation for it might be. And it occurs to us: by the standards of both the right and the left, the Bible should definitely be banned!
The Bible is full of offensive material
Here’s what grabbed my attention:
Just a sampling of that feedback [on the original Facebook post] included the comment, “First time I read the Christian Bible I was horrified by the violence, genocide, rape, incest, lying, and cruelty. It is also a book containing insight, wisdom, courage, faithfulness, compassion, and love,” with another person responding with, “Amen.”
If the Bible were in the Pflugerville Public Library’s Teen Space, it would certainly not be one of the ten remaining books that contained no offensive material. The Bible is full of offensive, violent, and triggering material!
Why the left would ban the Bible
It’s no surprise, and no secret, that folks on the left side of the political spectrum have serious problems with the Bible. Here are just a few reasons:
- In the Bible, God says that husbands will rule over their wives (Genesis 3:16).
- In the Bible, the Apostle Paul endorses the submission of women to men (Ephesians 5:22).
- In the Bible, Paul says that women should not speak publicly (1 Corinthians 14:34).
- In the Bible, Paul says that a woman must cover her head during worship, and that it is disgraceful for a woman’s hair to be cut, but these rules don’t apply to men (1 Corinthians 11:2–16)
- The Bible prohibits cross-dressing (Deuteronomy 22:5).
- The Bible prohibits sex between two men (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13).
- The Bible contains a story of attempted homosexual gang rape (Genesis 19:1–11), and of actual heterosexual gang rape and dismemberment (Judges 19).
The list of rules and stories in the Bible that are offensive to people on the left goes on and on. Many left-leaning people would prefer it if the Bible would just go away. The supporters of cancel culture on the left regularly attack conservative Christians and others who publicly support and attempt to enforce any of these oppressive biblical rules and behaviors.
By the left’s standards, the Bible certainly should be banned!
Why the right would ban the Bible
What is a surprise is that by the right’s standards, the Bible should also be banned! Consider:
- The Bible contains a story of attempted homosexual gang rape, and of actual heterosexual gang rape and dismemberment.
- In the Bible, the great patriarch Abraham had an incestuous marriage with his half-sister Sarah (Genesis 20:1–2, 12).
- In the Bible, Judah, who was the father of the Jewish people and a direct ancestor of Jesus Christ, had sex with a woman whom he believed to be a prostitute, but who in fact was his own daughter-in-law (Genesis 38:13–18).
- The Bible contains a suggestive passage in which David, who is grieving the death of King Saul’s son Jonathan, says that Jonathan’s love for him was “more wonderful than that of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).
- The Bible tells a story of incestuous rape committed by one of David’s sons against his own half-sister (2 Samuel 13:1–19).
- While he is king of Israel, David himself engages in adultery, and then commits murder to cover it up (2 Samuel 11).
We should not allow teenage boys and girls to read a book that is packed full of sex and violence. This smutty and immoral book should not be allowed in our schools, nor should it be in the home of any decent, God-fearing person.
By the right’s standards, the Bible certainly should be banned!
Why the Bible shouldn’t be banned
Even though the Bible contains so much material that is objectionable to leftists and rightists alike, it is not banned . . . and it should not be banned.
Practically speaking, it would be impossible to ban the Bible. There are too many copies in circulation, and it is far too influential a book to attempt to ban it.
But it’s much more than that.
Even from a secular perspective, the Bible is a human story. It contains the greatest heights of human aspiration and compassion, the lowest depths of human oppression and degradation, and everything in-between.
The Bible tells the real story of humanity. It doesn’t paper over the horrors of human evil, which is a stubborn reality that goes back as far as human history. It also celebrates the greatness of human love and self-sacrifice in the service of other people, both great and small.
Most of all, the Bible tells the story of God’s great love for humanity. No matter how degraded and depraved we become, God continues to love us. God continues to seek to lift us up to a higher level. Because in the end, the Bible is the story of God’s great love for every human being, no matter how far from the ideal, and no matter how much that person may be condemned by the culture of the times.
Perhaps one day that message will make it through to our polarized world, and instead of banning books, we will open our arms to all God’s people.
For further reading:
- What if the Quran were the Bible?
- “Wives, submit to your husbands.”
- What is the Sin of Sodom?
- Homosexuality, the Bible, and Christianity
- What about Violent Religions? Is God Really Bloodthirsty and Vengeful?
- Is the Bible a Book about Men? What about Women?
- How God Speaks in the Bible to Us Boneheads