Is The Bible Too Graphic For Children Under 18?
Updated: Sep 3
By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on May 12, 2022
As I watch right-wing conservative Republicans rail against gender identification education for children in Florida public schools, I pose a much larger question for these self-professed conservative Bible-thumping Christians.
Is The Bible too graphic for children under 18 to read? After all, it contains graphic sexual content and gruesome violence, particularly in the Old Testament.
Here is why I raise this question:
1. The Old Testament Contains X-Rated Descriptions of Sexual Conduct, Male Genitalia, Ejaculation, Gang-Raping of Female Prostitutes, Mutilating Female Bodies, Murder, Acts of Terrorism, and Stoning Deaths.
In "The Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV, published by Biblica, Inc. (Miami, 2014), there is a graphic discuss of sexual conduct, male genitalia, ejaculation, gang-raping women, mutilating female bodies, murder, and acts of terrorism in Ezekiel 23:1-48. Chapter 23 discusses the story of two daughters of the same mother, Oholah and Oholibah. Both gave birth to sons and daughters. Oholah is Samaria and Oholibah is Jerusalem.
Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was the Lord's chosen people. "She did not give up the prostitution she began in Egypt, when during her youth men slept with her, caressed her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her." Ezekiel 23:8. "They stripped her naked, took away her sons and daughters and killed her with the sword." Ezekiel 23:10.
All of this happened to Oholah because "she lusted after her lovers, the Assyrians -- warriors clothed in blue, governors and commanders, all of them handsome young men and mounted horsemen." Ezekiel 23:5-6.
"Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution, she was more depraved than her sister." Ezekiel 23:11. "When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from them in disgust, Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." Ezekiel 23: 18-20.
The New Living Translation (NTL) Study Bible, Second Edition, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (Carol Stream, Illinois) uses the same language for Ezekiel 23:20: "She lusted after lovers with genitals as large as a donkey's and emissions like those of a horse."
God was angry at Oholibah because of her prostitution and stirred up her lovers against her. "They will cut off your noses and your ears...". Ezekiel 23:25. [Y]ou will tear your breasts." Ezekiel 23:34.
"This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Bring a mob against them and give them over to terror and plunder. The mob will stone them and cut them down with their byword; they will kill their sons and daughters and burn down their houses.
2. The Bible Discusses the Use of Angelic Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In 2 Kings 19:35, the Bible discusses how a single Angel of the Lord "went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning -- there were all the dead bodies." The Angel's execution of 185,000 soldiers in one night, whether justified or not, constitutes an act of "mass destruction."
Apart from the Angel's execution of 185,000 Assyrians, the United States is the only nation in recorded history to inflict mass destruction on civilians. On August 6, 1945, America killed 100,000 Japanese civilians with a direct hit from an atomic bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima. An additional 100,000 residents of Hiroshima died from exposure to radiation after the blast. On August 9, 1945, America killed 40,000 Japanese civilians with a direct hit from a atomic bomb dropped over Nagasaki. On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered to American forces, thereby ending its role as an American enemy in World War II.
Jesus had twelve legions of Angels at his disposal (Matthew 26:52), with about 3,000 Angels in a legion. Based upon 2 Kings 19:35, each one was capable of killing 185,000 people in a single event. Yet, Jesus never killed or harmed any man, woman, or child. Likewise, Jesus nor God ever commanded any person to kill in their names. Both commanded that, "Thou shall not kill."
3. Unlawful Sexual Relations
In Leviticus 18:30, Moses lays out what he says is the Lord's list of "detestable customs that were practiced [by the Israelites]." In Chapter 20, Moses set forth the punishment for these sins.
"If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, .... [t]hey must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." Leviticus 20:13.
"If anyone curses his father and mother, he must be put to death." Leviticus 20:9.
"If a man commits adultery with another man's wife -- with the wife of his neighbor -- both the adulterer and adulteress must be put to death." Leviticus 20:10.
"If a man marries both a woman and her mother, ... Both he and they must be burned in the fire.... ". Leviticus 20:14.
"If a priest's daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, .... she must be burned in the fire." Leviticus 21:9.
Of course, Jesus explained to his followers that the laws laid out by Moses in Leviticus were too harsh and that it was "not this way in the beginning." Matthew 19:8.
What is more, Jesus never advocated the death penalty for any offense. He even stopped the stoning death of a woman who was accused of adultery, as commanded by the laws of Moses in Leviticus 20:10. See, John 8:2-11.
4. Innocent Wives and Children Were Killed for the Sins of Their Husbands/Fathers.
In Daniel 6:24, the Bible discusses the story of Daniel, who was thrown into the lion's den. God protected Daniel from any injury and/or death by the lions. After Daniel was lifted out of the lion's den, "the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lion's den, along with their wives and children." Daniel 6:24. "And before they reached the floor, the lions over-powered them and crushed all of their bones." Id.
Revised Versions of the Bible Toned Down Some of its X-Rated Sexual Content
The reference in Ezekiel 23:20 to sexual organs of Olabah's lovers, "whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses," appears in other Bibles. For example, "The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures," published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania (Penn. and New York, 2013), presents Ezekiel 23:20 this way: "She lusted after them like the concubines of men whose male members are like those of a donkey and whose genitals are like those of a horse."
The publishers of other Bibles toned-down the graphic sexual content that is found in Ezekiel 23:20. For example, The Santa Biblia Holy Bible, King James Version, published by Hendrickson Publishers (Nashville, Tennessee, 2018), and the Holy Bible, published by Holman Bible Publisher (Peabody, Massachusetts, 2011), use this soft-core sexual language for Ezekiel 23:20: "For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses."
The same toned down language for Ezekiel 23:20 appears in the Gideon Bible and many others.
On a related subject, the Bible discusses "eunuchs" in the Book of Matthew. A "eunuch" is a castrated man -- a man without a penis and testicles. Jesus discussed this subject by saying: "For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others -- and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:12.
The most famous eunuch in America is Dr. George Washington Carver, the distinguished botanist and Tuskegee University professor who invented scores of commercial uses for the peanut. Dr. Carver was castrated by his slave-owner so that he could serve his white slave master in the mansion and around master's daughters.
Should the Bible Be Banned for Children's Reading?
In light of the graphic sexual content and violence depicted in Biblical scripture, particularly in the Old Testament, do right-wing conservative Republicans think the Bible should be banned for children under 18-years of age? If not, why not?
If not, which version of the Bible is the religiously-correct and suitable Bible for children under 18?
Should Sunday schools teachers in Christian churches across America make references to the sexual topics mentioned in this article when teaching the scripture to children under 18?
[Author's Note: I am a life-long Christian. I was raised in the Baptist faith. My maternal grandfather, Rev. Willie Varnado, was a nationally-known black preacher in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was my Sunday School teacher, pastor, and Baptist Training Union instructor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (USA) in the early 1950s. In the 1930s, Rev. Varnado's first cousin was lynched in Mississippi on a Sunday afternoon by a crowd of white Southern Baptists, who returned to their afternoon church service after hanging, shooting, and burning this lynching victim. Dr. King preached and practiced non-violence in every aspect of his life. Yet, Dr. King died on April 4, 1968 from a white assassin's rifle bullet to his head.]