Children’s Bible Missing a Certain Key Point

Hi Readers: While we’re on the subject of whitewashing the classics for kids’ delicate sensibilities, here’s the one that takes the cake:

Dear Free-Range Kids: My kids have a children’s bible which says “and Jesus went away.” Kind of destroys one of the central tenets of Christianity.

Yikes! For God so loved the world that He gave His  only begotten son a long vacation? “Judas! What is this ticket to Bermuda for?” The possibilities are pretty endless. — L.

P.S. Hi folks! Can we practice a little “turning the other cheek” right here and be kind to each other in the comments?

I posted this as as example of how our society bends over backwards to “protect” kids from pretty much everything, as if they can’t handle a bump, a bruise, or a sad story that other generations seem to have been able to tolerate.  The whole Free-Range idea that our kids are more resilient than we’ve been lead to believe (in part by sanitized children’s books!). That’s what I was hoping we’d talk about — overprotection. Not religion.

165 Responses

  1. Actually, it’s my understanding that He departed quickly via LearJet to seek treatment from his crucifiction injuries. Probably in Canada.

  2. HAHAHA. That’s the best!

  3. Wow. I thought the kid’s Bible I once read (entire OT in an hour or so) while babysitting was bad. It completely glossed over why Joseph ended up a servant in Egypt, apparently his brothers selling him into slavery instead of killing him and his subsequent forgiving of them wasn’t important. Actually, I didn’t get through the NT before the parents got home so I don’t know how it dealt with the all important death and resurrection bit.

  4. What’s the name of this children’s bible and who puts it out? Not that I don’t believe it, but I’ve spent a bit of time studying Christian kid-culture and never seen anything like that.

  5. This cracks me up – My son read a “reader” bible last year and it was funny the “readable” words that were used. Big Man is easier to read than Goliath? Funny. I used to get cranky about it, but – glad that parents are still reading it with their kiddos, no matter the version.

  6. “Probably Canada” Ha!

  7. That’s funny. I’m an atheist, though, so I find most things about religion to be silly. My kids, though, actually had an illustrated book of Bible stories and it was quite graphic.
    I finally got rid of it because it gave my oldest nightmares. She was like 5 or 6 and came to me really upset and showed me the picture of the story of Abraham and Isaac and wanted to know why the dad was trying to kill his kid (she could read, too, by then). The picture had Abraham standing over a bound child with a huge dagger, ready to plunge it in.
    I told her to ignore it and that some people are just crazy and then the book mysteriously disappeared after that. She couldn’t sleep for a week after that and my kids are NOT prone to nightmares.

  8. Ditto – more realistic anyway….

  9. and on the third day, Jesus rose from the… umm, sunlounger?

  10. That was ditto to Brian & rareroastbeef

  11. I made several comments on the cat-in-the-hat thread about my quest for the Easter Story in kids’ lit, so I won’t repeat it here. Just sad – isn’t that kinda the whole point of the Christian religion? It would be better if they simply skipped the story all together than said “Jesus went away” – went away where, why, and is he coming back? Did he give up? Find something better to do? Who’s gonna finish his work?

    I do now have a halfway decent kids’ Bible that actually has the story of Solomon threatening to cut the baby in two, among other things.

  12. Some context seems to be missing. I’d like to know the original source as well.

  13. Oh, my…

  14. I don’t get why there is this huge need to pretend to children that death doesn’t exist. If you’re already softening the blow by saying that good people go to a good afterlife, why do you need to soften it any further?

    Pets die, People die, even Parents die! Pretending it doesn’t happen won’t change that.

    I can understand simplifying language so that it’s easier for children to understand. But I have little patience for changing the story itself.

  15. The other point that most people neglect ot tell children is that the JCI (Jewish, Christian, Islamic) religions trace themselves to Abraham. What is Abraham’s claim to fame? Being in the act of killing his own son because he heard God telling him to. There is also his wife who told him to shtup the slave girl to steal the resulting son only to banish them to the desert once she had “her own” son. Oh yeah, these are some righteous people!

    Yes, you say, but he did not actually do it. Except that Matthew 5:28 says that thinking equals doing. And whilw you can make the case that filicide and adultery are different, you cannot have it both ways: Either thinking about it and being in the middle of doing it is seen as having done the deed or not.

    Either way, the unavlidable truth is that the world’s three major religions trace themselves to someone who was killing his own son. In other words, these religions are built on an act of child abuse.

    And of course the Olt Testament is full of commandments and bragging about killing children, plus there is the fact that priests are the single biggest group of molesters.

    So yes, I’d say the “children’s” bible leaves out quite a bit indeed. I would also say that the mere exposure to religion by a parent should constitute child abuse and be grounds for removal of the child.

    I know this position is extreme and I know it will never happen because people are too stupid and/or compliant and/or brainwashed to connect the very obvious dots but then again, ignorance of the truth is never an excuse. Try telling a cop you didn’t know the speed limit when he pulls you over and see if you get the ticket!

    I would never dream of hurting my child or of trying to convince him of the truth of any system built on an act of child abuse. I would also never subject him to any system that would curtail the intellect that God supposedly gave him by filling his head with this violent and demonstrably false tripe.

  16. As I am a Christian, you’re gonna have to take my kids off me then, Anthony…. it’s a shame cos they seem to have a pretty decent life.

    So glad that this post is very quickly turning into a religion bash.

  17. @ Jen: I respect your atheism, but isn’t telling your child “ignore it and that some people are just crazy…”, then taking the book away the same as disciplining a child, then sending him/her on his way without ever explaining why he/she was disciplined? Like sweeping problems under the rug, and not actually solving them.

    Perhaps, she had nightmares because she thought (consciously or subconsciously) her own father might be crazy and will kill her in her sleep. Regardless of your beliefs, the responsibility of educating your child (however way, in whatever way) falls on you. Not a good thing for the child to leave them “dangling” like that. Even if you don’t believe in God, maybe you should explain the story. It’s actually not that bad, and does have a happy ending. And even if you want to raise your child an atheist, she can still use that story to learn the meaning of trust and loyalty. Trust in herself and her parents, and loyalty to her family. This is neither religious or atheist, it’s a human thing.

  18. Not this is necessarily the place to start a religious debate; but perhaps the underlying problem is a God who demands that his own son be brutally tortured to death in order for his “justice” to be satisfied. I believe this monstrous image of God is abusive at any age — but particularly to children for whom the parent/child relationship constitutes their entire view of the universe.

  19. @Chris, the difference between you and me is that I am open to new interpretations and evidence. So if my reading of the bible is wrong then please show me chapter and verse that says so. It is really easy to bleat about being “bashed” but that says nothing about the merits of the argument.

  20. Anthony Hernandez, are you sure you’re reading the right blog? This is where we trust children to be able to think for themselves and show some discipline and responsibility, and you’re claiming that telling them Bible stories is child abuse? If you have to grind your ax against religion, there are plenty of people you could argue with on slashdot or skeptic.

  21. @Eric S, I am very curious: How the hell do you sugar-coat, explain away, spin, etc. the Isaac story? How do you spin, explain, etc. the many instances of gleeful genocide (which are almost worse for being mostly the kind of fantasies that would land a person in a psych evaluation)? How is the act of being ready to kill your kid because you heard voices “not that bad?”

    The floor is yours. Please, explain. I can’t wait to see this one!

  22. i’m sorry, Anthony, I do not wish to enter into a dialogue with someone who would reckon me a child abuser… i don’t think i mentioned anything about how you saw the bible. You really have no idea of the differences between you and me. You don’t know me.
    I think I’ll check in on the next topic 🙂

  23. @Mr. Shreck, you’re telling me that a child growing up in a goddie family won’t feel pressured to become a goddie her/himself? You’re telling me that his family and community will say, “Little Johnny is an atheist, isn’t that cute?”

    Your argument is both unrealistic and ignorant of basic child development.

  24. Real Free Range view there Anthony: “Any exposure to kids of something I disagree with that may harm them is an act of child abuse.”

    Just because you make your kids do your laundry by themselves doesn’t make you Free Range, if you have no respect for the ability of other parents to make judgments about raising their own children.

  25. @Chris, you are a christian, which means you subscribe to a belief set that owes its existence (via tradition and in its own book) to an act of unspeakable child abuse. That is very germane to parental fitness. You have exposed your kid(s) to a belief system that glorifies killing kids, even one’s own blood. What is the difference between that and my telling my son gory tales about how my grandfather wanted to kill my dad and how the two of them used to shoot up orphanages for fun?

  26. I never felt tramatized by the story of the crucifixion. As for not explaining death to children, I never had the luxury of this as my husband’s parents and my father have all passed away. When my girls ask questions about them, we are honest. They know more, and talk more, about death then most kids their ages. But I don’t feel they are tramatized or frieghten by the idea of death.

  27. @Anthony Hernandez, I told you nothing save that I thought you were going out on a limb to say that sharing religious traditions with children is child abuse. As far as I can tell, you made the rest of that stuff up to confirm your bias.

    I will now add my unrealistic and ignorant opinions to those of the others above who have decided not to “debate” you further.

  28. @pentamom, if washing one’s clothes required condoning an act of filicide then I would not let him do his wash any more than I let him ride a bike without a helmet.

  29. Oh, boy! I’ll bite. So all the children in homes that teach religion should be taken away. Then where will they be placed? Surely Anthony will adopt some of them, but how about the rest?

    Oh, and of course we will have the minor question of whether it is more harmful to disrupt these kids’ lives than to tell them Bible stories.

    As for the Isaac story – I don’t water it down. You don’t need to. God was testing Abraham to confirm that he would really put God first, even over his son. After all, as much as we love our children, what are they in the big scheme of things? Is my child more important than everything in the whole world? Maybe to me it feels that way, but God doesn’t prioritize my feelings over the whole world. So Abraham shows his complete submission to God and God rewards him richly. This is something that every other human from Adam and Eve onward (excluding Jesus) had failed to do. Submission to God is really a deep topic and I am not sure if Anthony is quite able to grasp it. But I am not afraid to expose my kids to it. (Even though I have my own ideas which are not in line with those of most Christians, Jews, or Muslims.)

  30. Yeah–I remember running into an over-eager children’s bible in the waiting room of the dentist’s office when I was a kid that had a scary illustration of the Akehda (Binding of Isaac). Luckily my parents were up for a good theological debate! But then I also remember we had an edition of LIttle Red Riding Hood that had a picture of the Big Bad Wolf that scared the shit out of me as well. For a long time, I’d make my Mom skip that page when she read it to me. Then a few years later I used that same page to scare my little brother. Good times!

  31. I would also be interested in the citation for this book. It’s always good to get the whole story.

  32. @kcs, yes, except that no one thinks Little Red Riding Hood is real!

    @SKL, so then I suppose that Deanna Laney (look her up) passed the test? I suppose it’s God’s fault that He did not stop her in time? I suppose she is a hero for submitting to God so completely? Which I guess means that a jail psych ward is a rich reward?

    Let’s see… disruption… ongoing immersion in a system that teaches them they are fundamentally flawed because some chick ate an apple…. disruption… ongoing immersion… hmm…

  33. Some people would say that slaughtering animals so we can eat is just as bad as what Abraham was prepared to do to Isaac. Yet I think most people here believe in telling their children that eating meat means someone had to kill a cute furry animal.

    I just don’t see the problem with the Isaac thing. I was told the story as a kid. It was hard to understand, but it did not make me think my parents were going to murder me in my bed. Somehow I think kids are provided with more intelligence than that.

  34. That’s funny. I’m an atheist, though, so I find most things about religion to be silly.

    I was raised totally areligious (and still am agnostic/atheist) but my grandmother did send me a very nice book of children’s Bible stories. I read it, never thought I was supposed to take it seriously, though. (I actually considered my precious book of Greek and Norse myths much more important, which is why my father is buried with an obol under his tongue. Or so my mother told me, I was ten at the time so she may well have just made that up.)

    A lot of religion *does* sound silly to outsiders, though I respect that it’s important to the people who believe in it. 🙂

    Which is why I’m saying, as an atheist (agnostic) that Anthony is a real pain in the butt. There’s atheism and then there’s being antagonistic for the heck of it. Anthony is about as useful to us Jack Chick is to you guys.

  35. @kcs: Funny you should mention Herr Big Bad. I was wondering whether reading Grimm’s Tales would constitute child abuse, too.

    @SKL: I’ve been through that story with my kids, and as far as I can tell it caused them less upset than I’ve seen them show for losing a Pokemon battle. Of course, my wife was also lectured by a guy in line at Whole Foods about how letting them play Pokemon was encouraging animal cruelty. The older and more serene I get, the more I conclude that some arguments just aren’t worth having. File under: teaching a pig to sing.

  36. Anthony, using extremely disturbed people to prove your point about all of society will not succeed here.

  37. @SKL: “Anthony, using extremely disturbed people to prove your point about all of society will not succeed here.”

    You can’t blame him for trying, though. It works with the legislature all the time.

  38. @ Anthony Hernandez
    You are neglecting to see that actually Abraham’s claim to fame is believing that God is compassionate and merciful. He knew that God had another plan and would not let him kill his son or leave Hagar to her death in the desert. I can’t remember what the Christian teaching are about this nor do I know the Jewish one, what I do know is that in Islam we are taught that these are signs of God’s mercy. Abraham ended up not sacrificing his son and was presented with a ram instead. He took Hagar and his son to the desert knowing that even in such a place God would provide. Hagar ran and ran in circles asking God for help and out came zam zam water to quench her thirst.

    In our religions we are not taught to abuse our children we are taught to love and protect them. If you don’t believe me just read the Qur’an and hadiths (teachings) of the Prophet Muhammad.

    I apologize for going off the subject of this post but I just couldn’t sit back and let the stories of Abraham and our religions be skewed.

  39. @SKL, please elaborate: Why is Abraham a model of righteous submission to God while Deanna Laney (who did the same thing except that she actually carried it out) is disturbed? How can you possibly make that distinction?

    @Uly, you’re cute.

  40. Yet those same people will make Easter Story Cookies. Haven’t heard of them?

    “Begin this recipe on Saturday, the day before Easter.

    1 cup whole pecans
    1 teaspoon vinegar
    3 egg whites
    pinch salt
    1 cup sugar
    zipper baggie
    wooden spoon or a wooden meat hammer
    duct tape or packing tape
    Preheat oven to 300*F.

    Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or hammer to break them into small pieces.

    Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

    Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl.

    Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

    Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life.

    Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

    Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste. Then put your pinch of salt in the bowl.

    Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’s followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27

    So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing! Add 1 cup sugar to the bowl.

    Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

    Beat with a mixer on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form.

    Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

    Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets.

    Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’s body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

    Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door.

    Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

    Leave the kitchen. If you’ve been making these cookies just before bedtime, GO TO BED!

    Acknowledge that the kids are probably sad that they’ve worked hard to make these cookies, and now have to leave them in the oven overnight. Explain that Jesus’ followers were in sad when Jesus died and the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

    On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Ask the kids to notice the cracked surface. Have them bite into the cookies. The cookies are hollow!

    Explain that on the first Easter morning, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.”

    Sheesh. Schizophrenic much 🙂

  41. Aw, thanks!

    I’m also secure and happy in my lack of religion. That might be why I don’t feel the need to attack other people for their beliefs. Maybe they’re silly or ignorant or whatever else you think of them. What of it? Either they’re good people (in which case good for them!) or they’re not (in which case the religion is assuredly not the problem).

    All you’re doing is wasting your time, and making yourself look bad as well.

    It’s kinda like the difference between the guy who shouts at the ferry terminal that because God loves us we’ll all go to hell if we don’t repent and the girl who – though visibly carrying a Bible and a bunch of tracts – sat down and spoke with me about how cute my nieces were and how nice the day was, and didn’t imply I was evil or push her beliefs on me.

    One person is worth going to hell to avoid (assuming such a place exists, which I find extremely doubtful), and the other, had I been in the mood to gain religion, would make me think that her beliefs are the ones to have. Such a nice, happy person!

    These folks know they, individually, are not intending to kill or molest their kids (and those who are really aren’t interested in *your* opinions), so all they get from your rampant trolling is that atheism made you a bitter, nasty person. And that you’re a jerk.

  42. “What is the difference between that and my telling my son gory tales about how my grandfather wanted to kill my dad and how the two of them used to shoot up orphanages for fun?”

    Even conceding the point that there is little to no difference, do you think people who tell their kids certain stories should have their kids taken away? That’s what you’re advocating, and that’s what’s objectionable.

  43. This is how I plan to share all literature with my children. I can’t wait to read Little Women. “And Beth…took a nap. For a long time. Then she went away to live on a farm and babysit for a family that really needed her. Everyone cried. Out of joy.”

    My mom read my brother and me The Velveteen Rabbit when we were very young. She didn’t really remember the story, and how sad it was. We were sobbing, hysterical wrecks by the end of it, and she felt kind of bad. But we managed to survive.

  44. Anthony, the point is the message about submission. There are many instances of humans killing, trying to kill, and planning to kill their children over the course of human history. Very few of them have been included in literature, fewer still in the “holy books.” This one was included for its underlying message, not because it makes a good scary story. The author of Genesis (etc.) really doesn’t care whether Freud would commit this dude. Little kids can grasp this, sorry you can’t.

  45. When I was a wee lad in Sunday school (probably about 7 or 8) they spent a good 15 minutes one Sunday explaining exactly HOW crucifixion killed you.
    Times have changed, indeed.

  46. @Uly, you see religion as essentially benign and the problems with religion as coming from the individual people. I would love to agree with you. But that is not the case. The problems with religion are institutional and go right to the core of the beliefs. The people are simply byproducts of the system. And yes, I will stand up to the system and attack it in every legal way I can without giving a rat’s ass what you or anyone thinks about it.

  47. This is how I plan to share all literature with my children. I can’t wait to read Little Women. “And Beth…took a nap. For a long time. Then she went away to live on a farm and babysit for a family that really needed her. Everyone cried. Out of joy.”

    LOL : )

  48. that should be 7 or 8…not a smiley face.

  49. Ali, I’ll admit that’s a little odd, but I think the point is that it isn’t “the same people.” What’s weird is that you have someone purporting to publish a book that tells a certain story, and then leaves out the main point of the story. If they called the book “cute stories about Jesus” it would be one thing, but having the word “Bible” on it and then leaving out the little detail that Jesus died makes no sense whatsoever.

  50. Love it, socialjerk.

    Matthew Cuthbert went off to a retirement home, and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s second child grew up happy and healthy after a short stay in the NICU.

  51. I don’t see religion as benign. I see it as neutral.

    Do people use religion to justify doing bad things?

    Every day, probably since the first religion was invented.

    Would they stop doing bad things without religion?

    No earthly way. They’d just make up new excuses and keep on as they were from the beginning.

    Religion is a human institution, and therefore reflects the humans who are involved in it. Humans can be terrible people, so religion can cover terrible things – but they’d be just as terrible without religion. (And that goes in reverse. Sometimes atheists are horrible, but it’s not because of the atheism, it’s because they’re individually bad people.)

    Oh, sure, you can manipulate religion to make people do bad things in bigger groups than they’d manage individually (Spanish Inquisition, anybody?), but then, any time you divide people into groups you can manipulate group membership to the same effect. And people want to join groups. If they don’t identify as Christian and better than those non-Christians they’ll name themselves Americans and better than those non-Americans, or they’ll say they’re capitalists and better than those communists – and any of these groupings can justify atrocities. (Well, they can’t, but they *will*.)

    The problem isn’t religion, it’s people.

    I mean, you’re constantly bringing up the pedophile scandals in the Catholic Church. And those were bad – but they happened because the Catholic Church was big and involved in a number of charitable enterprises. Without the Catholic Church we wouldn’t see a vacuum in orphanages and boarding schools and mentoring programs – we’d see secular groups filling those gaps… and no doubt many of those secular groups would have the *exact same problems*. Why? Because some proportion of the population are pedophiles or are prepared to take advantage of any institution they can. It’s terrible, but it’s because they’re human, not because they have any particular religious affiliation.

    But even if it were religion (and the fact that you’re so meanspirited indicates to everybody here that that’s not the problem), your comments here, aside from being wildly off-topic, are counterproductive. I hate to use a line on every last bingo card, but I’m going to anyway – trolling is not the answer. Your method doesn’t convince people to drop their religion, and it never will. If anything, they’ll cling to it harder to spite you and because you’ve convinced them that atheism = being a troll.

    You want to “fight religion”? Well, go for it – but pick a method that *works*.

  52. @SKL, little kids “get it” because A) they do not have fully developed intellects and B) because they are biologically programmed to accept what their parents tell them as truth because the whole point of parenthood is to impart survival instructions that in an emergency must be followed without question or hesitation. This is evolutionary biology 101.

    Present this argument to a child who A) is a little older and B) has received no religious indoctrination one way or the other and I will bet any amount you want that said child will most certainly NOT get it. I would offer my own kid as an example who has never heard this story but no one here would accept that data point (and rightly so!)

  53. I would offer my own kid as an example who has never heard this story but no one here would accept that data point (and rightly so!)

    And also because we don’t know how he’d react to the story because you have no intention of telling it to him – and on that, I don’t blame you.

  54. @pentamom and socialjerk

    Yup–and Dumbledore is doing well in his retirement as a Visiting Professor at Beauxbatons. And Bambi’s mom is now PR Dirctor of a nature preserve.

  55. @Uly, you make some cogent arguments. if you want to take this conversation offline then I’d be happy to.

    As for mean-spirited, if the bible was full of daisies and pink ponies and blueberry cream then my arguments would be quite different. But it isn’t.

  56. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lenore Skenazy and pmfh, Fodakids. Fodakids said: RT @FreeRangeKids: Children's bible missing a certain key point (to protect the kiddies!): […]

  57. re: Abraham almost killing his son

    I’ve heard an interesting interpretation of that story in which Abraham actually *failed* the test because he was unthinkingly obedient and was willing to commit an atrocity rather than disobey God. I don’t recall the exact thinking behind this, it’s been a while and I have little interest in studying Christian Mythology.

    ~Jesus is cool, but some of his followers give me the creeps.

  58. If I told the story to an older child, he/she would ask questions and work on understanding the point of the story. Much like youths / adults do when they hear stories from religions in which they were not raised.

    Well, anyway, I have my own ideas about the Bible. I don’t treat it as the absolute and only truth. I see it as an attempt to explain something deeper in ways that common people can usually understand, with effort. I see other holy books as the same, and I feel that a study of multiple ones gives a better understanding of each of them – even though some of the “stories” directly contradict each other. In fact, especially because they contradict each other.

    Anyhoo. I don’t know why I’m wasting time arguing with someone who has such severe issues with “religion” that he seriously thinks it’s child abuse. Talk about an extremist.

  59. What’s the title of this book?

  60. @SKL, I like to think my kid would say, “People believe this stuff? WTF?!” And I’m tempted to buy him a kid’s bible and let him read it to find out.

    As for extremism, my kid is a lot less likely to deliberately fly a plane into a building or blow himself up in a crowded place than ANY goddie kid.

  61. He is also a lot less likely to have a criminal record. Atheists represent some percentage (20?) of the whole population but only 0.2% of the prison population.I like my brand of so-called “extremism!”

  62. When I was teaching in the UK, we read the story of Noahs Ark to the 5 year olds… The illustration was of a big boat with animals and lots of bodies in the water beneath it… What a delightfully uncomfortable moment when little Johnny asked “Why are they all dead?”

    Interesting discussion by the way and @Ali – those cookies sound like a horrific thing to do with kids 😀

  63. “my kid is a lot less likely to deliberately fly a plane into a building or blow himself up in a crowded place than ANY goddie kid.”

    OK… not sure how you know that, but cool if you’ve found a way to predict such things.

  64. Some of y’all…the point, you have missed it. How about taking arguments about religion off-line, yes? The point is not religion or lack thereof. The point is whitewashing a key point of a pretty famous book to (over)protect the kiddos.

    RIght up there with telling a child that “grandpa just went to sleep…forever” instead of “grandpa died”. Parenting par excellence, that. *eyeroll*

  65. “I purpose publishing these Letters here in the world before I return to you. Two editions. One, unedited, for Bible readers and their children; the other, expurgated, for persons of refinement.” — Mark Twain, corresponding about his Letters from the Earth, in which this quote appears:

    “It [the Bible] is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”

  66. Overprotect? Or lure them in?

  67. This has turned into a nasty sort of thread, and I seemed to recall Lenore saying that was the very thing she wished to avoid.

    She’s a Jew, in fact, for what it’s worth, but regardless–I love what she stands for.

    And the main point of the thread was this–for decades, centuries even I’d say, children have been taught the story of Jesus as it is depicted in the Bible, period. No whitewashing with regards to how he died & was resurrected. Now, all of a sudden, it’s being whitewashed because of over-concerns about children not being able to handle it, and that’s ridiculous.

    That’s the point Lenore was making, and I agree with it 100%.

    Now show a little love!

  68. @kcs 100% true story: My older brother told me that Bambi’s mom got shot, but not killed, so the hunter took her home to live with him and took care of her.

    I never questioned this, for an embarassing period of time. It was much more traumatic finding out the truth later on.

  69. Jumping back in to share a story that goes with the OT,
    A while back I read Charlotte’s Web to my daughter and shared this pic:
    and the story of her reaction. I got seriously railed on by a friend who thought it so nasty to read such a sad story to her… while i was just thinking of how very beautiful her response to it was.

  70. “He died for your sins.” (As I recall.) Makes for a shock when the kids are in church listening to the sermon with mom and dad, doesn’t it? Or do kids who are of an age who can sit still no longer do that?

    I don’t understand why this needs to be sanitized. Death is a fact as much as is birth. The Bible, to me, is an interesting read for the historical movements of people and a record of society. Abraham about to sacrifice his only son to God? A lot of other societies did the same thing at the time. To me, “cleaning” up the Bible has about the same effect as taking the “n” word out of Huckleberry Finn. It certainly does not help in understanding the roots of many peoples. People have not always been nice. Part of what we hope for with society is that it gets better, but cleaning it up means we can’t see the progress we have made.

  71. @ socialjerk, that is hilarious and very cute!

  72. People forget that for hundreds of years one of the ways religion held onto popularity was the fact that it featured exciting and often horrifying stories, many of which appealed to children. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, an illustrated history of horrid Christian deaths published in the 16th century, was a fantastically popular book for children well into the 19th century. And if the Old Testament didn’t have exciting (and deathy) stories in it, it wouldn’t have lasted so long.

    The crucifixion is pretty tame compared to some of the saints’ lives. Or what Bloody Mary did to assorted Protestants.

  73. Well Larry, I have to slightly disagree, because there are a lot of people nowadays who think it is wrong to present Christian beliefs to children. Obviously it wouldn’t fly in a public school, but are children’s book editors taking it beyond that by using “child-friendly” versions to change the messages kids are getting even at home? Teaching kids to read the Bible from the perspective of “Humanism”? And parents go right along with it, thinking “oh well, someday they will be old enough to hear that death was involved”? And then when kids do read the actual stories, will they react as Anthony suggests, “this is BS, how can anyone believe this”?

    Personally I think it’s important to focus on the underlying messages as early as possible. I really don’t care how much blood and guts are included / excluded, as long as the point gets across. So then we have another question – can a young child understand the message at all, and if not, why are we bothering?

    Well, I personally think that the underlying message can be broken down to the level where a young child can understand it – if we could stop treating kids like they’re stupid. There’s no question that our society is doing its darnedest to stretch out babyhood as long as possible – just look how many products have been introduced in the past couple of decades for preschoolers who won’t use the potty, drink carefully out of a glass, pay attention to traffic, listen to their parents, and on and on. I’ve been told that a 3-year-old cannot be expected to respond appropriately to the word “no.” Discipline has been reduced to “just give them time to get over themselves, it’s the only thing that works.” Naturally few people look at a 3-year-old and think she can understand sin, sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness, etc. But give them some credit.

    A concerning thing is that some people think an early exposure to religion / spirituality will cause kids to grow up as unthinking, judgmental extremists. This is not an unusual view, actually.

  74. You know, if they’re going to white-wash the Jesus story, I say-why stop there?

    To wit, some examples of the “old” and the “new:”

    Old: Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 20 pieces of silver, felt remorse, went out & hanged himself.

    New: Judas tattle-taled on Jesus to his mother, who proceeded to put him in a 3 day time-out he “resurrected” from.

    Old: Paul was leading a life of murdering Christians, one day he was walking on the road to Damascus, was blinded by the light, and then proceeded to become a fiery teacher on God’s behalf.

    New: Paul was calling the remaining disciples names like “Jesus Boy” and “Matthew who smells like poo-poo,” when one day the Spirit of Kindness locked him in a Fisher Price playhouse and made him watch sensitivity-training DVDs, and he apologized to all of the disciples for calling them names.

    Old: Mary, at age 15, became pregnant via divine intervention, this baby later became Jesus

    New: Mary thought Joseph was kind of cute, got “goose pimples,” asked him to dance–and the beauty of the music & the moment so overcame her it magically planted “Jesus Eggs” in her bosom which blossomed into the Jesus we know today

    Old: Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room for him in the inn

    New: CPS didn’t approve of the arrangements for Jesus, so Mary-Joseph had to give Jesus up for adoption to one of the Pharisees who, having more money, could provide a “much better home” for him

    Old: Mary & Joseph couldn’t find Jesus one-time when he was 12 years old, for nearly 3 days, and were shocked when he said “wist ye not that I must be about my father’s business?”

    New: Mary & Joseph were negligent in failing to track their 12 year old son’s every move, he became separated from them, CPS became involved, threatened to remove him from their home & charge them with criminal negligence until they agreed to place a GPS tracker on him and give him his own cell phone. Jesus himself was not clarifying the need for him to carry on his father’s business, but was instead crying, he wasn’t used to being more than 3 inches from his mother’s purse strings at any given time.

    Old: Jonah didn’t want to prophecy in Ninevah, so God had a whale swallow him for 3 days until he came to his senses.

    New: Jonah was scared to prophecy in Ninevah because he didn’t want to be accused of hate-speech and slandered in the press, God sent an angel who assured him that he wasn’t being an intolerant homophobe and Jonah no longer felt guilty “ramming religion down other people’s throats.”

    Ha ha ha.

  75. This reminds me of how they tell the story of the Trojan Horse on The ending always cracks me up because it’s along the lines of “they took the wooden horse into the city. In the night the soldiers came out of the horse. Weren’t the Trojans surprised!”

    I suppose surprised is another way to say slaughtered, but come on! Why choose that story for a children’s website if you can’t tell the story right?

  76. I have to say taking that out of the bible pretty much nullifies the entire book.

    The point of Christianity (to my understanding) is that Jesus died to “save” his followers. How can they be saved if he didn’t die??

    Removing his death makes the story internally inconsistent. And that makes it a bad story – if you think the bible is literal truth or not!

  77. @ Anthony: If I were to explain this to my kid, I wouldn’t go in depth of what the story is about. I would be concentrating more on the point of the story. Trust and loyalty. You have to remember, children learn pretty quickly, but when it comes to more complex stories and lessons, it would be harder for them to grasp, so you have to relay it to them in a way that they would understand. They don’t have to understand every little nuance and detail. Just the basics that they can comprehend in their state of mind.

    I would say:
    God gave Abraham everything. He treated him and his family very well. So to TEST Abraham’s loyalty to him, for all his blessings and gifts, he commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac. Now God is compassionate and kind, but he also expects loyalty from his children in return. So God didn’t really want Abraham to kill his own son, he just wanted to see if Abraham would obey when he told him to. That’s why, when Abraham was about to do it (kill his son), God sent one of his Angel’s down to tell Abraham to stop. That God has seen that Abraham IS loyal to him, and did not need to prove it anymore by really killing his son. Because Abraham showed his loyalty to God, God rewarded him with many more children, and a promise that his name would live forever. Issac grew up to have a family of his own. His children grew up to have a family of their own. And they all flourished, some even became Kings.

    You can even throw in; good things come to those who do as they are told. Mind you, its also up to the parent(s) not to exploit that. That they treat their children with respect, kindness and fairness as well. It’s not about the killing, it’s about the obedience, and the rewards for such obedience. Your not lying, your not fudging the truth, your not even omitting the main parts. Your just telling it in a way that a child can easily understand. When the child grows older, and understands more about the world and the things in it. The full detailed story of Abraham and Issac won’t seem so shocking. But the lesson is still there to be remembered.

    So God may have been demanding, commanding others to kill, but he always had a purpose. And those that obeyed were rewarded. And the “bad guys” got what they deserved. How is that not a “happy ending”. You do know that the bible, is not really meant to be taken literally word for word. These are stories (who knows if they are even true, with true events and actual people), that enlighten us to think. And like any good novel, it also includes intrigue, betrayal, love, heroism, tragedy. There are also many morals and lessons in the bible to live by, to become a better person, should you chose to.

  78. @Eric S,

    I am going to repeat your story verbatim and simply change the names of the characters in it. Here goes:


    Grandpa gave Dad everything. He treated him and his family very well. So to TEST Dad’s loyalty to him, for all his blessings and gifts, he commanded Dad to sacrifice me. Now Grandpa is compassionate and kind, but he also expects loyalty from his children in return. So Grandpa didn’t really want Dad to kill me, he just wanted to see if Dad would obey when he told him to. That’s why, when Dad was about to do it (kill me), Grandpa sent his housekeeper down to tell Dad to stop. That Grandpa has seen that Dad IS loyal to him, and did not need to prove it anymore by really killing me. Because Dad showed his loyalty to Grandpa, Grandpa rewarded him with many more children, and a promise that his name would live forever. I grew up to have a family of my own. My own children grew up to have a family of their own. And they all flourished, some even became President.


    Dad gave me everything. He treated me and my family very well. So to TEST my loyalty to him, for all his blessings and gifts, he commanded me to sacrifice my puppy. Now Dad is compassionate and kind, but he also expects loyalty from his children in return. So Dad didn’t really want me to kill my own puppy, he just wanted to see if I would obey when he told him to. That’s why, when I was about to do it (kill my puppy), Dad sent one of his golfing buddies down to tell me to stop. That Dad has seen that I AM loyal to him, and did not need to prove it anymore by really killing my son. Because I showed my loyalty to Dad, Dad rewarded me with many more children, and a promise that my name would live forever. I grew up to have a family of my own. My children grew up to have a family of their own. And they all flourished, some even became dictator for life.


    Pretty f***ing twisted, eh?

  79. I am firmly on the side of keeping the story whole (that goes for Huck Finn, Bambi, the Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, etc.). A great example of this is to go back and read the REAL Grimm Fairy Tales. Pretty scary stuff. Did you know that Cinderella’s sisters had their feet chopped in pieces to fit in those shoes? That’s the tame part.

    I am not Christian, however, theologically, I think some argue that Jesus didn’t really die, since he was resurrected. Also,since he is/was the embodiment of G-d, he kind of “killed” himself. He could have stopped the Romans. In fact, in modern theology there is debate over why Christ chose to leave. So, its not so absurd to say Christ left in a theological argument.

    This children’s Bible is crazy since from a practical standpoint, teaching children Western culture, it is critical to know that Christ died. Understanding literature, art or music for the past 2211 years is pretty hard without knowing the story.

  80. make that 2011 years :-).

  81. Larry and Marie, I was reading through the comments wanting desperately to bash my head against the wall. Then I came upon your comments and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to stop grinning for the rest of the afternoon! Thanks:)

  82. Also, Chris, I too think your daughter’s response was beautiful! I wonder what kind of authors and intellectuals we will have in 20 years if we assume that children are not capable of understanding basic thought and emotion. A defining moment of my life was when my teacher let me keep reading in class after reading time because tears were streaming down my face after “Kitty” the dog died in my book. I was shaken the rest of the day, but I wouldn’t trade my memory of reading that book for anything!

  83. Too funny! I actually have a friend who refused to tell her son about carnivores when he was a toddler — she thought it would be too upsetting for him to know that some dinosaurs ate other dinosaurs.

    He’s fine now, though. 🙂

  84. First of all, on topic: that children’s Bible is pretty nuts. I taught preschoolers at church, and we always told them that Jesus died for their sins and rose again. As many have mentioned, that is the point of Christianity. Of course, there was no need for gory details, but good grief, kids as young as 2 surely know that people do DIE!

    Now on to our good friend Anthony:

    Before I started going on the Internet, I can honestly say that I never knew any atheists. I know people personally who aren’t very religious, but nobody who openly goes around proclaiming that they don’t believe in God. Therefore, it was always easy for me to just assume that atheists must be horrilbe, evil people. Now in the last 5 or 6 years, I’ve “met” hundreds of atheists on the Internet in various forums. I’ve learned that many of them are very nice people with high morals. Many have been genuinely hurt by Christians and other religious people. And hardest of all for me to admit, some had some very good intellectual reasons for not believing in God. It’s made me challenge some of my own beliefs. I may not be swayed to their side, but I have to conclude that my old attitude toward atheists was bigoted and ignorant.

    Then there is you, Anthony.You are so blinded by your own hatred and bigotry. You are no different from Fred Phelps, just substitute gay for religious. Yes, I imagine you’ve had some religious people that were rude and nasty to you, but in your case I think your attitude is the reason. I am a pretty tolerant person but you make me very angry when I read your rants. I really wish that Lenore would ban you instead of issuing pleas for civility that you just ignore.

    Oh and by the way, since I’m not a fundamentalist, I don’t have a problem with the story of Abraham. I believe it is a metaphor for God’s sacrifice of Jesus (Isacc = mankind).

  85. So is our good friend Anthony a fan of this little “alteration” or not? I couldn’t tell. I’m not. It really is extraordinary! Considering the importance of Jesus’ death to most people with an interest in children’s bibles it a crazy trade-off. Trade-off for what?

    @Larry – Old: Jesus wept. New: Jesus was kind of a little bit sad for a tiny second, but then he cheered right up!

    Did we ever get the title and other info on this particular children’s bible?

  86. @ Anthony: See your still emphasizing the “killing” part. And the “rewards” were based on the story of Abraham and Issac. If your going to translate it in terms of here and now, and your own family. You can tell it as (speaking in the first person as you):

    I’ve bought you a lot of toys and games, I’ve taken you to Disney Land, and watched over you when you were sick. So all I ask is that you respect my wishes, when I ask you to clean your room or eat your vegetables. It’s not exactly telling you to kill someone, but it is seeing how obedient you can be when you are told to do something that you should be doing anyway. Life is about compromise, give and take. You are rewarded for your good deeds.

    That is the lesson as I interpret it, and how I’ve grown to understand it. The “killing” part is really just an emphasis on the extreme of proving ones loyalty. Of course in this day and age, unless your in the mafia, you don’t prove your loyalty like that. You prove it by doing things that you normally don’t want to do (like clean your room, do the dishes, eat vegetables you don’t like, etc…).

    You view it this way, not twisted at all. Only twisted minds can put a twisted spin on any story. Much like what I always say about parents who constantly fear and speak of perverts in every corner, and the atrocities they can inflict on their children. Only a perverted mind will think of such perversions, where there is none. Or at the very least none that can be proven or seen. Their fears play those perverted thoughts in their heads over and over again.

  87. Glad you all liked the cookie thing. I was horrified too.

    And yes it’s the same people…generally when people are buying multiple versions of the Bible for consumption by kids, seniors, etc They are the ones who will “celebrate” Easter in such a horrific way as teaching young children about beatings and crucifixes and then making them eat the yummy cookies. It’s flat out schitzo to me.

  88. @Karen, call me anything you want and make all the precious little comparisons you please. Nothing you can say or do can change the fact that goddies and their sympathizers are routinely going to great lengths to avoid confronting the truth: that the foundation of the JCI religions is beyond despicable.

    @Taylor, you can put lemon icing or vanilla icing or any flavor icing you want on a pile of BS and it will still be BS. Any version of that story is abusive to children either because of the content of the original or because of the flat-out attempt to sweep the ugly bits under the rug by the goddies themselves.

    @Eric S, nice try. “Respect my wishes” by cleaning up your room, washing dishes, doing laundry, eating your veggies, getting your homework done, etc. is of a completely different order of magnitude than killing and I am amazed that you can even make the attempt to spin it in this way. There are PLENTY of extreme ways to prove one’s loyalty without killing anyone else.

    God could have chosen to tell Abraham to do awful things to himself and the story would have been bad enough without having to drag killing children (which the bible is very fond of!) into it. And isn’t simply following the law the best proof of loyalty? Seems the best way to prove your loyalty to traffic laws is to simply obey them, which not only does not kill people but saves them.

  89. @ KarenW: I don’t think a ban of Anthony is warranted. Except for this is issue of religion, Anthony has a pretty good FR way of thinking. I’m somewhat religious, I’m not devout, but I do believe in God. I don’t believe the bible is meant to be taken literally. But it does hold a lot of meanings that can be interpreted to better ones self. For whatever reason, some people just take offense to the bible. It’s like any other story. You can chose to like it, or enjoy it. But you can’t dismiss that fact there there are truths contained within it’s pages. “Love thy neighbor”, “turn the other cheek”, “protect your family”, “have faith and hope when it life seems bleak”. Some people choose to believe and rely on things tangible. Some people find strength in the things that can be seen, but they feel it. That’s why it’s called faith. To each their own. Most of the people here have respect for one another, even though their views may differ. Personally, I like the diversity of opinions here. It helps us to always learn about others, and in doing so, about ourselves.

  90. And I have never said that i am atheist.

  91. We got the kids the REAL Grimms fairy tales for Christmas. We got an annotated version, where some of the, um, spicier tales are conveniently collected at the rear of the book. In defense of Disney though, I gotta say the whole pumpkin turning into a carriage is a far better tale than Cinderella climbing a tree to escape the prince. That was just stupid.

  92. Of course the kids love the darkest and goriest parts of the Bible best. I intentionally sought out non-sanatized children’s Bibles for that reason. Granted, I don’t want them to hear the story of the concubine who was gang raped all night until she died and whose body was then cut in pieces and sent to the various tribes of Israel just yet. That one requires at least a little sanatizing at this age, I think.

  93. I grabbed a copy of one of my favorite books the other day “Mickey and the Night Kitchen” and put it back in the shelf. All the good bits were censored and the story shortened.

    I have a copy of a 1970’s fairy tale anthology. Boy is it far different than today’s sanitized stories. Even has Aesop’s fables in there. When was the last time you heard one of those?

  94. I was sad when the tree got chopped down though. Maybe I should have been protected from that?

  95. @ Anthony: again your viewing this with a closed/ biased mind, for whatever reason. This story was written over 2000 years ago, in a time where one can beat or kill their children or wives for going against the head of the family. And what greater sacrifice can you do than to sacrifice your own child. That’s as extreme as you can get. That’s the extreme the story is saying. But again, you are thinking of the story in the literal sense. You are dwelling on the KILLING part, not the purpose of the story. You asked me to put a spin on what I was talking about. And I’ve done that. I’ve even applied it to your 2 versions, and how it can be applied to life as we know it today. Yet you continue to go back to a time where killing is more common place, and sanctioned giving certain situations. You need to get your head out of that mind space. You don’t have to believe in God or be religious to understand the point of the story. And just because back then they did what they did, doesn’t mean we can do the same things now. Times change, rules and laws change, but the fundamentals of how to be a good person hasn’t. Again, it’s a story, one of many compiled into what we know as The Bible. Did you also know, that there are stories very, very similar to the ones in The Bible, that was written long, long before the agnostics wrote the books? You’ll also find that the story of Christ has it’s place in many different religion and cultures older than Christianity and Judaism. Different characters, but very similar story lines, out comes and lessons to be learned. As I said, stories and rules can change over time. But the basics of being a good human has been around since the dawn of time. THAT and lessons of that will never change, as long as their are people out there who believe in right over wrong, love over hate, and peace over war.

    You still haven’t explained why you view the story of Abraham in a closed minded way. Kind of like helicopter parenting. The way they are set in their ways, and not open to other positive possibilities. We’ve been explaining ourselves and our views, why don’t you share yours. Please enlighten us.

  96. Never said you were.

  97. @ Sky: see…you get it. 😉

  98. @ Anthony
    “I would offer my own kid as an example who has never heard this story but no one here would accept that data point (and rightly so!)”

    So, really? Just like that you’d offer up your own kid to be abused by other people: “I would also say that the mere exposure to religion by a parent should constitute child abuse and be grounds for removal of the child”

    You are an awesomely righteous parent.

  99. @L, my kid is old enough to make up his own mind

    But your point is absolutely valid and I must amend my earlier statement to say “… mere exposure to religion AS THE TRUTH by a parent…” Thank you for pointing that out. In fact, just a few minutes ago my son poked his nose into a church and came out chuckling at the silly people inside.

    @Eric, I am very aware of the history and the pre-JCI myths (which utterly undermine any JCI claim of being the truth but that’s a different topic). I am also aware that folks back then were a little more brutish than we are today. God could have chosen to hold His people to a higher standard by prohibiting ALL violence, as did Buddha. But no, God not only went with the customs of the day, He egged them on. His commandment was, “As long as you’re going to be an a**hole anyway, be a real a**hole and do this extra nasty thing.”

    In a nutshell I get the morality. I also get that there are LOTS of ways it could have been phrased that would have been truly elevating.

  100. Larry Harrison for the WIN!

    I was stunned to read through a copy of some original
    “Curious George” stories with my kids and discover at one point George felt such remorse for something that the text actually says “he wished he were dead” (or something remarkably similar). Needless to say, that part was taken out of the updated stories. Fascinating!

  101. story about banning sledding in New Jersey-

    please politicians and lawyers stop f’ing up America

  102. Lenore, you didn’t really think your little plea to “kindness” and to sticking to the topic of over protectiveness would prevent Anthony from being a complete ass, did you?

  103. LOL @ Sky. You’re so cute.

  104. Well different people see God and religion differently than others. Although I believe in God, a higher power which directs us in life, by way of self revelation. ie. an epiphany based on something seen or heard. Or a lucky situation, like forgetting your wallet at home going back for it, only to see the bus that you would’ve have gotten on, had you not forgotten your wallet, be in a collision. I still also believe that we are responsible for the things we do. We can’t use religion to make excuses for ourselves. We have televisions shows now, and internet do get our informations. Eons ago, all they had were stories. It’s these stories they used to control the way people think. As it’s true now, it was back then as well, many religions manipulate the stories to “encourage” followers to do what they wanted. That is one of the flaws and negatives of religion. I view religion as SELF revelation, fulfillment, and improvement. I view not the story (although looking at it as a story and nothing more, is pretty entertaining), but the meaning behind it. So when you see the story of Abraham and Issac as a brutality towards children. I see it as a lesson in loyalty and trust. Just like in life, we may not agree with it all the time, but it is what it is, and I for one instead of shunning it, I take what positive aspect of it as I can. In hopes that it would make me a better person than I am. Then share that positive energy with others. I don’t plan on changing the world. Just me, and if I should influence others in a positive sense along the way, then that’s a bonus. I don’t judge others for their beliefs, and I expect the same in return. In the end, we will all answer for our own actions, however that maybe.

  105. This conversation reminds me of the time when I was eight and the librarian wouldn’t allow me to check out books on Greek mythology ,until I got a permission slip from my mother, because they were “violent”. Well, when I finally got the slip and checked out the books they were so sugary sweet I quickly grew bored, and relied on movies such as “Clash of the Titans” to teach me about Greek mythology. Also I begged a Greek kid in class to bring in his awesome and uncensored book of mythology, and he was happy to share it with me on the playground. I still giggle thinking about how Hercules was born.

  106. OK – I am a GrandMother, and an avid reader myself. Reading graphic stuff is not bad – no matter what sort it is IF and that is a BIG IF – there is someone a kid can talk to about it if they wish. Is that really what people do when they have sex? (yes).. Oh – that is what dead is (upon seeing a dead bird in the yard) (yes, as you can see, all the life is gone – they aren’t just sleeping – no poking it with a stick won’t hurt it)

    Lying to children is foolish, they just don’t trust you and figure everything you say is junk. Protecting children from life is just lying, plain and simple. It isn’t smart, nor cute or helpful. It doesn’t matter if is “cleaning up” a story, or if it is covering their eyes so they won’t see something. It is far better to just talk about it, at the time, as a kid asks questions. You don’t have to volunteer information. In fact, it is better if you don’t. Most kids fit what they see and hear into their own understanding. It is a good idea to ask a couple questions to see what they think. If a child can’t handle it – they usually just deny it happened and are done with it till a later time when they have to think about the subject again. As a kid, I swore my cat would never eat the pet bird – it flew away. Later, after I grew up, I admitted the truth – he ate it. But being told the truth at the time didn’t hurt me. I just didn’t like the idea and so denied it.

    Children can handle it – Now, it is up to the parents to grow up and handle it too. Life happens, it is not always nice and some things are terrible, but there is much that is nice. Enjoy the nice and learn to deal with the terrible.

  107. No, kids aren’t made of porcelain. They can take more than they get credit for. Just be there to talk to them if they want to discuss what they’ve read. If you’re really worried, allow them to read certain books when they’re older, but don’t start changing books to fit your own vision of what you think a kid can handle. It messes up the author’s intent and it changes their perception of reality.

  108. […] Children’s Bible Missing a Certain Key Point Hi Readers: While we’re on the subject of whitewashing the classics for kids’ delicate sensibilities, here’s the one […] […]

  109. “In fact, just a few minutes ago my son poked his nose into a church and came out chuckling at the silly people inside.”

    Good to know that you are raising your son to be as big a prick as you. The world can certainly use more pricks.

    I am opposed to religion in any form, however, my child is actually taught to respect and not ridicule others no matter what they believe. You can attack the BELIEFS without calling the people child abusers, stupid and silly. I feel genuinely sorry for your son. Not because you are teaching him about the evils of religion, on that I mostly agree, but because you are teaching him to be a rude, bitter man just like yourself. That, in my mind, is the biggest child abuse there is.

  110. I taught OT Bible stories to 1-3rd graders at my Unitarian church. They loved them, the gorier the better.

    Knowing the stories is an important part of being educated in this culture. You don’t have to believe they are literal fact.

  111. I’m curious to if the book whitewashes Ezekiel 23:20. The chapter likens Judan and Israel to two whores who prostitute themselves to the other nations, who are described as being hung like horses.

    14 “But she carried her prostitution still further. She saw men portrayed on a wall, figures of Chaldeans[a] portrayed in red, 15 with belts around their waists and flowing turbans on their heads; all of them looked like Babylonian chariot officers, natives of Chaldea.[b] 16 As soon as she saw them, she lusted after them and sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 Then the Babylonians came to her, to the bed of love, and in their lust they defiled her. After she had been defiled by them, she turned away from them in disgust. 18 When she carried on her prostitution openly and exposed her naked body, I turned away from her in disgust, just as I had turned away from her sister. 19 Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.

  112. From Dr. Seuss to The Bible, protecting kids from any possible thing that may scare them just creates adults who can’t cope with the hard moments in life.

  113. I was given a great big, illustrated children’s bible as a five year old. I loved in, in fact I still have it. Not only does it have totally unwhitewashed versions of bible stories, but it has graphic pictures to match! Lots of blood, gnashing of teeth, wailing and agonised expressions – particularly in the Old Testament.

    I wasn’t remotely traumatized.

    What I wonder is whether these parents who are so horrified at ‘challenging concepts’ in literature similarly monitor their children’s television and gaming habits.

    P.S. What would they make of Hilaire Belloc’s classic poems for children – where JIm keeps running away from his nanny and gets eaten by a lion (slowly and painfully), and Matilda, who keeps telling lies, gets burned to death?

  114. Speaking of FICTION … I’v been wondering if any writers have tackled the topic of this whole crop of hothouse kids and their hovering parents? Does anyone know? I can’t stop thinking about what these kids are going to grow up as … what the soceital ramifications could be for coddling kids to death … OR, what about just good ol satire?

  115. I know I probably shouldn’t feed the troll, but I’m curious.

    Anthony – If you’re not atheist, what are you, then? For someone claiming to not be an atheist, you sure sound like one.

  116. Holy cow… Anthony, dude, stop trolling for crying out loud. I know I, for one, am not a Christian, not an Atheist, and am not impressed one iota by your diatribe on here about how you think people who are religious within the specifics of Christianity are child abusers, etc, etc, etc, and etc. I really, really, really couldn’t care less – you’re just making this board an unpleasant place to be. Yeah, I’m cute.

    Personally, I think it’s funny we’re talking about the bible being sterilized for kids… have any of you actually read the original versions of Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm? My kids were cracking up laughing when I read to them the Princess and the Frog and she beat the frog against the wall for wanting to sleep in her bed.

    We’ve been sterilizing our literature for quite some time now, it’s just now that the bible is catching up. Howling shame, if you ask me, that we want to make things so flatline.

  117. Larry Harrison! Thank you!!! So funny and well thought out!!
    And why are the rest of you bothering with that Anthony guy? He’s a bully! Shouldn’t you just ignore him?

  118. If standing up to a gang of thugs who have been running roughshod over the entire planet for 3,000+ years only to whine about civility when confronted makes me a troll, a prick, or a bully, or any other name you can come up with then I wear those labels with pride and anyone who doesn’t like it can go play in traffic for all I care.

    @Dragonwolf, my beliefs tend toward the Eastern.

  119. Lenore, I am sorry your post here turned into a religious debate, and as one of the guests here on your site, I am a little embarrassed to see that your very direct and polite request to cease that line of discussion was mostly ignored. Witnessing bad manners, especially when one’s hostess has asked fellow guests to adjust their behavior, is always a bit awkward and uncomfortable. Religion just happens to be one of those things, I guess, that can cause people to lose sight of common courtesy in social situations.
    One of my other “pet subjects/projects” has to do with food and nutrition. Believe it or not, that one can get even more heated. (Heh… so, you might want to keep that in mind, should the subject come up.)

    As for the actual topic of over-protecting our kids, it drives me nuts every time I see an example of something like this. Since my daughter was born, I have found myself looking through any book I buy her, making sure it is not some overly white-washed or watered down version. Some of the ones bought by other family members were quietly put (very much) away, because the level of sickeningly-sweet fluff that was used instead of real story-telling (or history) was something I thought would actually do her more harm than good.

    I got some shocked and even aghast reactions from people (in-laws, for instance) at the fact that I bought and read to her from books of mythology and fairy-tales that were *not* the post-disney softened versions. Some were horrified that one of my daughter’s favorite periods of history had to do with the Tudor era, and that she could rattle off the fates of old Hank’s wives before she started kindergarten (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived). Her *absolute* favorite bit of history is Ancient Egypt, and I thought we were going to have to call an ambulance when she informed her grandmother that the pharaohs often married their siblings. She was actually bothered when she came across some of the “kinder, gentler” tellings of Bible stories where they glossed over the issue of slavery. “Things weren’t always so nice back then,” she said. “They should just tell it like it was.”

    And I do not even know what the rationale is for this sort of cotton-batting approach to teaching our kids. Most of the “new approaches” to parenting are supposedly to answer something that people feel caused trauma in their generation. This is where we now have the extremes of never-ever letting your child cry, not using even “consequences” (much less punishment) in correcting children, not imposing *any* schedules for feeding or potty training or anything (because our convenience is not as important as Not Pressuring The Children, Ever), and so forth.
    So how many people were traumatized so badly by hearing a sad story or a mention of death that they think our children need to be saved from this? (There is a whole side rant here, that I’ll save for another time, about the fact that these people may, indeed, have Issues… but I don’t think their problems really stem from the very normal parts of childhood they are trying to blame them on, though. It is alway cozy to have something to point to when you are unhappy in life, that proves it is not your fault.)

    In ever-softening the world we present to children, all we are doing is creating a greater disconnect between what they are prepared to handle and what the real world actually has waiting for them. A couple of months back, I was waiting at the deli counter at the grocery store, and there was a young girl there with a list from her mother. She was easily at least 17 or 18 years old. When she read off what was on the list and the very nice deli lady asked her a question about how she wanted it, it wasn’t just confusion in her reaction… she *panicked*. She looked like she was going to break down and cry. I see this constantly in the young adults around me, when they are faced with anything unexpected or new… they cannot cope, even with the simplest things in life. And when there is an actual crisis or tragedy..? It’s a complete breakdown, and I have heard from some of my younger acquaintances that it is considered pretty normal to worry that someone will actually commit suicide if they wreck their car or fail out of school or lose their job. It doesn’t always happen, but they feel it is just automatic to start watching someone in those situations.

    And, you know… while I got disapproving looks for giving my daughter the “too sad” or “too harsh” versions of fairy tales, because it is assumed that kids are not capable of handling real feelings or complex ideas about life and death, everyone else has the news droning on endlessly in the background, until the kids don’t even hear anymore the endless stream of deaths, war, crimes and accidents. So… they are not supposed to learn these concepts in a way they can process and accept and come to really understand, but they can be made numb and oblivious to endless streams of horrors and tragedies.

    Sounds like the recipe for a generation of sociopaths, to me.
    Bonus that they’ll be sociopaths who were “protected” from ever experiencing the ups, downs and difficulties of life in order to learn any practical problem-solving skills.

  120. @Anthony, based on your own enlightenment regarding the evolution of people you should know and understand that Abraham’s actions were not a “failure” and should not be considered as child abuse. Was anyone at that time enlightened enough to know and understand that killing children was abuse? I suspect not. But then again, how do you know that Abraham actually held a knife to his son? Are you taking the Biblical account of Abraham and Isaac as documented history, or an oral tradition passed along to emphasize one mans commitment to his faith in a greater being? I suspect you are making a character judgement about an individual for whom you know limited information about and from a modern English translation of an ancient story for which you know even less. It really doesn’t matter that Abraham was willing to kill his son, slept with Sarah’s maidservant, lied about his relationship with Sarah, or anything else…(all of which are testimony that no human is all good).

    Anyhow, all this to say that arguing Biblical interpretation and contextual criticism is not your forte. Perhaps you should stick with the topic more specifically. Even if you were right, your antagonism presents you as someone who can’t be trusted!

  121. well gee, if it can make it all the way into the bible, then why not the Constitution, the yellow pages, and next week’s Pizza menu? um?
    I would suspect that the original intention of the post, in keeping with the general flavors of the recipe, was to have a deeper look into this manic and obsessive need to create a Walt Disney world to replace the ah, unfortunately all-too-real world we actually have to live in.
    Media exists to be manipulated – that is the human response…talntalizingly tempting to the most moral of realists, I’m afraid.
    One suspects that overindulgence produces strange by-products, such as the aching need to air-brush out the blemishes so as to not startle the kiddies. (something in that, I think.)
    Just as a playboy centerspread can sort of resemble some weird overbred, thoroughbred, cornfed pouffed and powedered fantasy hardly bordering on the real and true – fantasies spring from the hearts of the stressed and strapped , souffles for the soul…not sure if it’s human or not.
    A child’s tear is just something to tissue off and replace with a cookie – it’s salt water, after all – not blood.

  122. Related to religiously significant things at an early age, I got the Holocaust pretty young, in the 1990s. (No clue what they currently do, but now I’m interested.) By the time we got to it in public school in 6th grade, the discussion seemed very shallow, and not for the school’s lack of trying.

    If anyone’s interested, Number The Stars, and The Devil’s Arithmetic, children’s fiction, are both very good presentations (that include *gasp* death) on an elementary school level. Can I give them a Free Range Approved stamp?

  123. My boys (almost 5 and 3) both know that things die, and things live. When you eat meat, you are eating an animal that was once alive. Their father hunts kangaroos for food, and they know, dad kills it, skins it, and we eat it…..
    They also know that people die. For various reasons. My grandfather passed away recently and the amount of comments my kids got from others was a bit shocking “he has gone up to the clouds” “he has gone to have a long sleep forever”…… love my kids responses, “no, he died”

    For the record, neither are traumatised, or scared of death. It is a fact of life.

  124. If your child isn’t ready to hear about death, they shouldn’t be exposed to Bible stories. If you’re not ready to talk to your child about death, you shouldn’t be exposing them to Bible stories. If your child is school age and this is still going on, you and your child both need a reality check. As people already observed, death is a part of life. Why in the world do we want to protect our kids from DEATH? I’m not saying we should tote our kids to the wakes of strangers or expose them to violence in inappropriate movies–but when a relative dies, or a pet dies, why tell them “they went away,” or “they passed,” or “they went to sleep”? I don’t want my child to fear sleep, or to fear going away…”passed” doesn’t mean much. Gentle honesty makes more sense…and if you are a Christian, there is nothing wrong with saying that they died and are now in heaven. A child being raised as a Christian (and the story that started this is a fundamental Christian tenet) can’t be missing one of the basics of their faith…and who wants a 10-year-old who is trying to “wake” their dead family member? They need to understand that death is permanent, but that they will have their memories of someone and can talk about that person, mourn for their loss, etc.

  125. Larry- I don’t know what kids would think, but I find your versions terrifying, especially the one with the sensitivity training. Very funny.

  126. When I was a child we were raised with the catechism, all of the creeds etc. and so from an early age we were talking about crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. We were also read to from “The Lives of the Saints.” With kids, the point is not to deny the story but to tell it in a way that they can accept and as they grow and can perceive more, answer their questions as they arise. What we’ve lost in this culture of overprotection is the understanding of cognitive development that grows as children mature. We assume that a toddler can perceive with an adults skill; that’s simply not true. It is the ignorant imposition of adult ego, fears and doubts onto any story or situation that is the sickness of our time. If you explained to a 4-year-old literally how a baby was created and born, he or she would laugh at you. Their minds simply can’t grasp these concepts yet. So, instead we scare them and ourselves with stories about predators and give them no developmentally/cognitively appropriate information. Whatever one believes about faith stories and traditions, denial and overreaction are never the answer. Knowing what kids can grasp and provide a context for their understanding consistent with your beliefs and values is. That’s a lot tougher and less dramatic, but it leads to better kids.

  127. Little Red Riding Hood has been altered considerably over time as well:

  128. I used to be a big Bible thump-er and a stickler for orthodoxy. Then one day someone challenged me to prove that Jesus actually was a real person. The only catch, I couldn’t use the Bible to prove the Bible.

    To my surprise, I could not prove that he really existed and my research led me to prove that it’s all based on mythology that morphed into what we see today as Christianity.

    I challenge anyone to prove that he was a real human being that lived during the time it is purported to be.

    My faith was crushed at the time but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. I just don’t believe in myths.

  129. As I kid, I loved all the stories of the saints, particularly the martyrs. Sure, some of them were pretty gruesome. I mean, who could forget St. Lawrence, who was said to have been slowly roasted over hot coals, and asked to be turned over because he was done on one side! I was particularly fascinated with St. Agnes, who was a 12 year old girl who was beheaded for being a Christian. As a child, this made quite an impression on me. To think that a kid, a little older than me, would defy the laws of Rome for her faith? Woah. Made my complaining about having to get up for Mass on Sunday seem a little petty.

    My kids have asked to hear the story of St. Maximillian Kolbe about 50 times. He took the place of another man who was slated to die in a WWII concentration camp. This led to a long discussion about why it is wrong to single people out for their religion, about bravery, about doing the right thing even when it is hard and dangerous. These are lessons they are not going to learn from Barney and Spongebob.

  130. And what about the story where Lot’s daughters make him (their father) drunk so they can have sex with him? How would they describe that in a ‘sanitized’ Bible version?

  131. Jerome – The daughters loved their father so much they wanted to spend extra special time with him! Is that where the family bed concept came from? 🙂

  132. @ Anthony Hernandez – It’s not your opinions that make you a prick; it’s your antagonistic, mocking and rude demeanor that does. You are the complete epitamy of everything that I don’t want in a fighter for a cause that I believe in. Your demeanor simply turns people off and burrows them further into their beliefs. I’m the one who called you a “prick” and, again, I actually agree with much of what you say but you can’t even manage to preach to the choir without completely pissing them off.

  133. I do think that overprotection is only one reason why religion (and other) stories are watered down. The other reason is that there is an agenda to make children think the way the adult writers think. Neither is acceptable.

    If the Bible (or any other book) is unacceptable for a specific child at a specific age, wait until the child is ready for it, and focus on other books. It’s not like there aren’t enough good children’s books out there.

  134. When I said “adult writers” in my previous comment, I meant the people who are doing the watering-down, not the original authors.

  135. You know, after reading the comments here, I suddenly don’t feel so bad using The Lord of the Rings and (to a lesser extent) Eragon as stories to tell him as I put him down for naps or bedtime. It’s all from memory, so I end up leaving out a lot and mixing stuff from the books and the movies, but still.

  136. (“Him” being my 9-month-old son.)

  137. @Donna – there are times when it is best to not feed the trolls and there are times when it’s appropriate to stand up and shout down the loud mouthed lout who is intentionally trying to start a fight.

    Thank You.

  138. Speaking of removing kids from their homes due to unusual definitions of child abuse, I just learned this:

    In New Jersey, the child “protective” people removed a teen from her parents’ home because (a) she had been slapped and (b) the parents had taken some of her earned wages to help pay the cable bill.

    So now it’s child abuse to ask your teen to contribute toward the household? I thought this was something every responsible parent does, to prepare teens for independent living (where all money is not fun money, at least where I live).

    A NJ court did overturn the ruling – but only after the girl had aged out of her parents’ control.

    I know this isn’t about books, but thought I’d sneak it in here anyway.

  139. @SKL – I think that the problem is that abuse is sometimes like porn – “you know it when you see it.”

    A teen who is physically beaten when she doesn’t bring home the cash from her part time job as a waitress so her dad can sit around watching cable and drinking beer is different from a teen who contributes to the cable bill and who, independent of that, got slapped for having an out of control screaming fit at her mom. But it’s hard to put that subtlety into objective law.

    Consider the parent who quietly but constantly attacks their kid’s sense of self by calling the kid stupid, saying that the kid will never amount to anything, etc. Now consider the parent who occasionally yells at their kid for not doing their homework, not cleaning up their room, etc. One of those parents might seem abusive to the occasional observer, but probably not the right one.

  140. Wow. Just wow.

    After reading all these posts, I’m not sure what to do next:

    Take a shower?
    Pour a drink?
    Get the eye-bleach?
    Throw my computer out the window?

    This post went from round table discussion to intolerance and name-calling in record time. All due to one faceless entity with a keyboard. It still amazes me that you can log-in to a “virtual” theater, shout FIRE and sit back to view the carnage.

    Walk, do not run, to the exits.

  141. BrianJ, I see where you are coming from. But the story mentioned that the mom had slapped the child once in the past. I’m not sure whether that was just the mom’s statement or the agreed fact.

    It just disturbed me a lot to see authorities labeling as “child abuse” (bad enough to remove the child) the expectation that a teen pay some money into the family pot.

  142. Nicely said BrianJ.

  143. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “Would we accept the behavior demonstrated by religion if it did not bear the mantle of religion?” For example, would we accept inquisitions, persecutions, etc. between groups of scientists who subscribe to different interpretations of quantum mechanics?

    If we would not accept such behavior from any other group then simple logic demands that we should not accept if from religion either. Whatever sanctions and labels we would apply to these other groups must apply to religion. And the simple truth is that any secular person who did all of the things that religion routinely does to children would end up with a needle in the arm or a rope around the neck–and with good reason. So why tolerate it from religion?

    The question about whether whitewashing bible stories is appropriate or not diverts attention from the real problem, which is indoctrinating children into a system that continues its 3,000+ year global reign of terror unabated, including:

    – Molesting children. The Pew Institute’s own research indicates problems at 95% of dioceses.

    – Mutilation of children. From circumcision to infibulation, clitoral castration, etc. religion continues to trump the design of the go it claims to worship./

    – Being built on a foundation of attempted murder of a child. Spin the Abe story any way you like and you still end up with attempted murder of a child. The historical argument is bull because it would have god stooping to humanity’s level instead of the other way around.

    – Extolling and bragging about countless episodes of mass murder of children.

    – Repressing children’s natural urges to the point where they blow themselves up in a futile attempt to get laid.

    – Stifling children’s natural thirst for knowledge by filling their heads with lies that have been conclusively disproved.

    – Aiding and abetting child suffering by refusing to sanction fundamental reproductive rights to women and families including birth control, family planning, abortion, etc. and by allowing AIDS to spread unchecked by claiming that condoms CAUSE AIDS.

    – Persecuting children and their parents by sanctioning and actively abetting witchcraft trials in Uganda and elsewhere.

    – Telling children that they are fundamentally flawed and doomed to burn for all eternity because some fictional lady ate the wrong f***ing apple.

    – Telling children that unless they follow this particular path in the exact way prescribed, they will burn forever–a fate worse than simply winking out of existence.

    – Demonstrating that the path consists of hating and persecuting everyone who does not subscribe to their exact flavor of Kool Aid.

    The list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on.
    The pattern is both global and consistent and can be traced directly back to the violent totalitarian nonsense contained in the “holy” books. This has nothing to do with “humans and not the institution itself” and everything to do with the institution and what it does to people.

    Presenting this ongoing crime against humanity to children as “the Truth” is unconscionable and should constitute child abuse. Anyone who supports, defends, or excuses this is an accessory to the abuse.

    And yet I am the “troll,” “prick,” “bully,” “lout,” and other things because I absolutely refuse to do this to my own child or to condone it being done to others?

    You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

  144. Anthony,

    As a non-Christian, I agree with many of the points but – as others have before me – I DON’T agree with the way you present them.

    I also don’t appreciate your swearing while you try to make your point. “Bleeping” them out by putting in astricks does not disguise the fact that you are swearing, and in polite company just the fact that you are swearing is enough to label you a lout.

    The fact that you continue to discuss something that the owner of the blog, and our “hostess”, has asked you to take elsewhere makes you a troll.

    If you are a ‘prick’ or a ‘bully’ I will leave to the masses to decide. I don’t know you well enough to label you prick, and I don’t consider anything you’ve said here to be bullying, but that is my opinion.

    In the end, you may not like it, but it is your BEHAVIOUR, not your beliefs that people – including me – are offended by.

  145. You’ re right. I should be nice and genteel and kind and warm and fuzzy and respectful and deferential to this bunch of violent criminals. I am so sorry. I was not thinking.

    But please, if you think my words are strong, read Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Werleman and others and you will quickly grasp that I am being milder than Ivory soap.

    So please dear goddies, forgive me, ask your cross-dressing boy buggerer to light a candle for me and go right on brainwashing and mutilating your children over a bunch of fairy tales.

  146. Anthony, I don’t think anyone here is asking you to teach religion to your children. Nobody here has criticized you for that. It’s one thing to decide that your children will be taught that Judeo-Christian teachings are all myths. It’s many degrees beyond to suggest that it should be iillegal for others to expose their children to the religion of their choice.

    I believe you have intentionally insulted many people, on this and several other threads. To the point where you can’t rationally believe your comments are helpful to any person or any cause. I’m not interested in calling you a name, but you are deliberately making yourself a target. So don’t feel sorry for yourself.

  147. I’m with Jynet. The problem is not the opinions, it is that there is a time and a place for discussions like this… and THIS IS NOT IT.

    *Everyone* who has continued to debate religion after being asked to stop needs to take a look at their behavior. I, for one, do not want Lenore to feel she cannot count on her readers to show consideration and courtesy, lest she decide that she cannot share stories with us freely without risking more incidents like this. She should not feel she has to censor herself on her own site, just because there are those who do not possess the good manners to restrain themselves when asked.

    Please. Just. Stop.

    If you feel this is important enough to discuss further, remove yourselves and the discussion to another avenue. There are forums out there for just this sort of thing, and there is always private email. If you believe it is something that needs wider discussion, start your own forum.

    But, please, stop stepping on the wishes of our hostess and subjecting the rest of us to your lack of decorum.

  148. I have read Dawkins, and found his arguements interesting and challenging, but I didn’t find them rude or find that he swore while trying to make his point, and he didn’t use someone else’s space to make it.

    And I will indeed look up the others, because I AM interested in your perspective, but to believe that because someone else is rude it excuses your own bad behaviour is the worst kind of fallacy.


  149. Just so that everyone knows and is up to speed, Jesus is Not In Canada. He did not pass the requirements for immigration and his refugee status was rejected.

  150. I don’t know why “softening” and “cleaned up versions” is being attributed to Disney.

    Am I the only one who saw “Old Yeller” shot by his little master after contracting rabies? How about Bambi’s mother being shot?

    Disney movies were quite violent and disturbing featuring Nazis and dog nappings.

    Here’s a reality check;

    Anybody telling the kiddies that close to 1,000 American soldiers have been killed since the Gulf war started?

    Anyone? ….anyone? …anyone?

  151. Yes, SgtMom, I tell my kids what war is.

    As for Disney, I agree with you, at least on the older films. Was pleased to see, in Pinocchio, a clock that, when it “cuckoo’d,” had a mom vigorously spanking a kid, among other things. Snow White has its scary parts too. I’m not a big Disney fan, so haven’t seen many of their movies, but I’ll agree that Disney probably didn’t invent the idea of namby-pambyizing our kids.

  152. […] it, never thought I was supposed to take it seriously, though. (I actually considered my … “children’s bible stories” – Google Blog Search Pages: Bible StudyBible, Certain, Children&#39s, FreeRangeKids, Missing, Point ← […]

  153. Heh. I, too, adore the old Disney stuff for that very reason, and as someone who grew up in South Florida (“In the Shadow of the Rat” as we used to jokingly put it), I have the same weird soft-spot for Disney that a lot of my peers do…

    However, somewhere around the time that they gave The Little Mermaid a *happy ending* (though, that was not really the first incident, just one of the more blatant ones), Disney did pick up a much-deserved reputation for cleaning up or softening stories. Specifically fairy tales.

    My own daughter’s favorites, at a young age, were Snow White, Sleeping Beauty (my favorite) and The Black Cauldron. Compared to those, and to a lot of the earlier non-animated films, Disney’s offerings have continued to lead the pack in being written (or reworked) to be less “scary”, less “upsetting” and more politically correct.

    This would be why we tend to watch the older stuff more than anything. In today’s climate, I don’t know that they *could* put out any of their older stuff, as-is. I’m just happy there are still things being made by *anyone* (though not widely enough, I think) that follow a bit more of the “old ways” of presenting stories (like “The Secret of Kells”, which is a new family favorite).

  154. […] I was raised totally areligious (and still am agnostic/atheist) but my grandmother did send me a very nice book of children’s Bible stories. I read it, never thought I was supposed to take it seriously, though. (I actually considered my … “children’s bible stories” – Google Blog Search […]

  155. Speaking of family films, I recently bought what seems to be a television series of Black Beauty episodes on DVD. I bought it in a Christian bookstore so I figured it would be family-friendly, as in, the 13-year-olds would not be having sex, etc. Well, I was not impressed, nor were my kids. The teen/tween children in the story were irresponsible, disrespectful, impractical, and slow on the uptake. Quite a contrast to what you’d really have seen in those days. I found myself repeatedly telling my kids, “No way would that girl have really gotten away with that in those days. She wouldn’t dare try, knowing she’d be whipped.” I’m kinda glad that my kids have no desire to watch any more episodes. But kinda bummed that I paid money for that.

  156. SKL, thanks for the heads-up. I think I saw some of those, and wondered about them.

    Uhg. That seems to be a trend, these days. For all that there is a move to protect our kids from some of the actual truths about Life or any sort of possible trauma, “family” and children’s entertainment seems to be showing a whole lot of seriously disrespectful little brats. It used to be that if you had a child sassing off like that, part of the “lesson” in the movie/whatever was learning to show respect (as they dealt with whatever emotional issue they were having).

    Now? I keep waiting for that, only to see the kid just as sassy and the *adults* adapting by the end of it all. There has been a trend of showing weaker parental figures, too, where they are overwhelmed or just sorta helpless, and too often the resolution involves them caving to the kids’ wishes.

    Heh. Is it too much to ask to show some kids who say yes ma’am and no ma’am, while *still* managing to be independent? Looking at the modern Disney television stuff, “independence” often means sneaking around doing what they want and then facing almost zero consequences. (Not to mention kids in Jr. High “dating” and doing things more suited to older high school students while dressing like tramps, but that might just be my personal issue.) The back talk parents and teachers and show very little real respect for any sort of authority, and it isn’t just in that exaggerated way that makes for good comedy situations… it is in the underlying attitudes of everything they do.

    Luckily, my kid picked up on the fact that this was not okay, and used to entertain herself by pointing out behaviors I would have come down on (and trying to guess what kind of consequences there would have been). I am also quick to point out when someone would never have gotten away with what is being shown. I just wish I didn’t have to.

  157. KLY – Get the old LIttle House on the Prairie TV shows. They’re awesome. The kids are free-range and respectful. My daughter (13) and I are really enjoying them.

  158. The Waltons are really good, too! Both of my girls like them (6 and 8). We’re moving to the Little House series when we’re done with the Waltons.

  159. I read the Little House books before the TV series came out. (Got the first book while in KG!) I note that in that first book, when Laura was under 5 years old, she got a spanking from her Pa! I don’t mean to sound like spanking is the end-all and be-all of childrearing, but my point is, hey, little kids could handle pain/fear in those days AND could handle reading about it in the days when the books came out. Other things in the books that showed higher expectations among kids – the time when Laura was shamed for crying at age 7; the long walks to school in the cold; the time Laura, about 8 or 9, got in trouble for playing in a dangerous place (possible only because she had free, unsupervised range of a wide open area); chores and responsibilities and making one’s own toys; and many instances of caring to show respect for the parents.

    The LHOP TV series was more humanistic than the books, but still a lot better than today’s shows.

    I don’t expect my kids to say “yes ma’am,” but we work on respect every day. And also on not wimping out when they have the ability to do something. Anytime I read or hear “you can’t expect that from a child that age,” I expect it to be BS.

  160. Oh, and the time when Laura got in trouble for going somewhere she shouldn’t? Her punishment was to be supervised by Ma all day long, and how painfully boring and shameful it was! Nowadays people would insist that she should ALWAYS be supervised all day long at that age. And yet kids don’t seem any wiser for all that extra guidance, do they?

  161. I grew up watching LHOP, having read and reread the books many times when I was quite young. I bought some of the real-life biography stuff and “scrapbook” books (with photos of the people and places mentioned) for my daughter and I, as well. (Btw… there have been discussions and complaints about those books being “inappropriate” and not politically correct. I keep my fingers crossed that our generation has a strong enough sense of nostalgia to keep the “helpful” editing at bay, and that eventually common sense will win out.)

    As for the series, I have watched them with my daughter and would consider owning the earlier stuff… heh… but to be honest, some of the over-the-top social awareness commentary that took over the plots of much of the later stuff puts me off a bit. I always liked that the show did not flinch from tackling more difficult subjects, but eventually it just got to be a little much. I remember ending up feeling like I was choking on the too-heavy messages (and watching it again as an adult, I felt about the same way). I think I’ll stick to the stuff that is closer to the books’ actual timeline and dodge the drawn-out-too-long stuff at the end.

    Oooh. The Waltons. I always loved that. It’s been so long, it would be like watching it for the first time. Heh.

    I know that not everyone does the ma’am and sir thing, especially nowadays, though I have raised my daughter that way because I think being raised that way myself was very beneficial. We’re also just very old-school Southern in certain ways. 😉 What drives me nuts is that kids aren’t even taught to use a basic, respectful “yes” and will just yell out “yeah?” or “huh?” When we have other children here (friends and family), I don’t insist on ma’am and sir if their parents don’t, though I do tell them it is my preference (and by the end, it makes me happy to see that most of them choose to use it with me, voluntarily), but I do expect them to at least answer with a clear “yes” or “no” and some attempt at proper English. It is disturbing how many kids find this a completely foreign idea and have never considered that they should have to watch what they say when speaking to anyone. This includes teenagers I know, and I shudder to think how job and school interviews are going to go for them.

    You’d think, with all the one on one time that constant hovering allows for, that there would be time to work on some basic, respectful communication skills, but I guess not.

    Oh… and yes… I do love those books for showing what kids can be capable of *and* what they are capable of handling in their reading. It tells about the death of her dog, serious illness resulting in blindness, and consequences and punishment for wrong doing; and they show how children can have (and handle) large responsibilities like chores and helping in a crisis or during hard times, as well as Laura’s own sense of personal responsibility to her family and to living up to the values she was taught.
    I’ve looked at some of the modern abridged “taken from” type books and children’s biographies, aimed at about the same age as the original books were to start with… and it is just sad. Running across one of those is how I ended up making sure my daughter had her own copy of the originals, plus some of the supplementary stuff (which also talks about the time period she didn’t write about, and her brother who died).

    On one hand, this sort of thing makes me want to think about writing children’s books, or (more likely) encouraging some of the writers I know to do so… but on the other hand, I have to wonder if anything not conforming to the kinder, gentler (bubble-wrap) way of thinking would even get published.

  162. This reminds me of how I recently learned that Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series—famous for its creepy pictures (—have been reprinted.

    With tamer pictures. As in, ones that are not scary at all.

    I will not deny that the old pictures are disturbing. There are one or two that still give me the creeps. And I will even buy that they may be inappropriate for a children’s series. Whether or not they are, this is what kids in the 90’s and back read. Kids who may have had nightmares or felt uncomfortable with seeing them, but still grew up into decent, functioning adults.

    I took in those books like water—the stories themselves are just reprints of urban legends, and relatively tame; the pictures were the real nightmare fuel. But my generation came out sane. We understand those creatures are not real. We understand that the POINT was to scare you. And in a way, we enjoyed the terror they brought us with each view. It also helps that for those who read those books as a kid, we have a great conversation starter (seriously: I just need to mention Harold, and a bunch of funny stories involving those books come pouring out).

    I honestly hate that those books have been toned down. Hate, hate, hate it. But then again, with all the sugar-sweet crap that passes as children’s media these days, maybe they WOULD end up causing some psychiatrist’s bills with how badly dumbed down kids are these days.

    Or, gasp, they could be used for teaching moments, or maybe—just maybe—the kids will understand enough to ENJOY the creepiness. I sure did, against my mother’s wishes, which brings up another point: all the parenting in the world cannot combat good old curiosity. That whole philosophy of ban it so they never read it? That they eventually learn there is an “uncensored” version, somewhere out there? You make it forbidden fruit. And kids will want it even more, and find a way to get it—never underestimate them. Better to just be forward from the beginning.

    Some kids will be traumatized, true, but most will take it in stride. Seriously. Give them some credit.

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  164. I remember the first time I read “Where the Red Fern Grows”. I cried and CRIED. It was just so very sad when Ol’ Dan and Lil’ Ann died. But you may notice I said “the first time”. I read it a second and third, and then we watched the movie, at school no less. And by then, I was able to watch without melting into a puddle of tears and comforted my crying friends instead.

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