Would you read a book that detailed acts of violence, rape and cannibalism?
According to this report from ABC Newsonline the Television and Entertainments Licensing Authority (TELA) in Hong Kong, which oversees the publishing industry, said it had received 208 complaints that text within the Bible is indecent.
The complaints were apparently sparked by a Chinese language website which called on readers to pressure TELA to reclassify the Bible as an indecent publication.
While the calls to label the Bible as obscene are obviously a stunt, we do need to face the fact that there are some fairly unsavoury passages in the Christian holy book.
I guess that’s one of the things I like about the Bible. It’s about real life. In real life nasty stuff does happen. That doesn’t mean that God approves of all the violence and evil that lurks in our world but it does mean that he’s not trying to sweep it under the carpet.
Over the years we’ve turned Christianity into a nice, safe set of beliefs for good people. I really don’t understand how that happened. If you read through the Bible you see that life is messy, even for God’s people.
David is one of the Bible’s heroes yet he stole another man’s wife then had the husband killed.God didn’t condone that behaviour but he did show David forgiveness and let him move on with his life. Unfortunately a lot of Christians aren’t so willing to forgive.
When Jesus wandered the earth 2000 or so years back he was accused of all kinds of things including hanging out with prostitutes and drunks. We sometimes like to think that Jesus only met with such people to turn them into ‘nice’ people but the Bible doesn’t support that view. He ate with them and spent time building relationship with them. He knew that they were just people trying to do the best they could with what they had. He wanted them to see that there was more to life, that life could be fuller and richer, that their past didn’t have to dictate their future.
I’m glad that the Bible records the messy parts of life. It lets me know that I’m not alone when I stuff up …. regularly. I don’t have to be caught up with guilt. The Bible lets me know that being a follower of Jesus isn’t about behaving well and having a neat life.
Whether those in Hong Kong are successful in having the Bible labeled as obscene or not I’ll continue to draw strength and hope from its pages. Yes it does document some fairly horrendous events but it also provides a way to leave the past in the past and move toward a more fulfilling future.
Posted by Rodney Olsen
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