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Is the Bible R rated?

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tn r-ratedThe Oscars have come and gone. Hollywood continues to do its thing: art imitating life, they say. In reality, it’s not that simple: some movies have an agenda beyond pure entertainment; many movies are pure fantasy, divorced from any conceivable reality; and ultimately, Hollywood is a for-profit enterprise.

The Bible, in many ways, is the opposite: its agenda is to reveal God’s character; the stories are either true or realistic; the messages are usually applicable to our daily lives; and the product on "sale" is salvation “so rich and free.”

However, I fear that many Bible stories, if they got the Hollywood treatment, would be rated R: Not suitable for children under 17. Indeed, four major movies in 2014 will give the Bible the Hollywood treatment. At least one of them, Noah, starring Russell Crowe, is expected to be rated R. This is not the Veggie Tales version!

Recently my seven-year-old daughter and I started rereading the Bible, starting from Genesis 1 (we started this when she was three and made it all the way to Numbers before we got stuck).

But for some reason, many of the same stories we read then are making us both cringe now. Genesis 38, for example, is full of R rated scenes, like Onan’s “explicit” disobedience and Tamar’s prostitution. The Old Testament contains many more such graphic stories too numerous, and too explicit, to discuss here. The New Testament also has its share of shocking scenes, among them, the slaughter of children in Bethlehem/Ramah (Matt. 2), the torture and crucifixion of Jesus (Luke 23), and much of Revelation.

Perhaps I’m overreacting. After all, it is God’s Word, so what harm could it be? Or maybe I’m not being cautious enough: Who reads anything beside Psalms, Proverbs, and the Sabbath School lesson quarterly to their children? Either way, I need some feedback:

How do (or did) you read the Bible to your kids of that age? I am very curious! Click here to share your thoughts.

If I get a sufficient number of responses, I’ll compile them in a blog post on the  “# of ways to read the Bible to your very young children.

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Daddy to two girls, husband to one wife, writer, editor, lover of science and technology, and autism advocate. Ultimate Goal: To sing Holy, Holy, Holy before the Lamb of God seated on His throne (Rev. 7:9-17).

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