I attended a religious school for the first three years of High School. I’m afraid that it went in one ear and out the other, because I didn’t even realise that Jesus was God according to Christian doctrine until I was about 25. I have a fantastic ability to be able to switch off during boring lectures while still looking interested and alert.
Anyway, when we were in Year 7, we had to read the Old Testament and perform a play based on a scene from the parts we’d read. Some bright spark in our group had the idea to do the scene where Potiphar’s wife attempts to seduce Joseph (he of the Technicolour Dream Coat). We embellished it shamelessly. I seem to recall that I was one of Potiphar’s wife’s peacock- feather-waving attendants. I don’t think our high school had it in mind that we would perform a play about a seduction. But that’s the thing about the Bible (and the Old Testament in particular). There’s so much sex and violence there (Noah’s son’s covering him up because he was naked and drunk, God smiting the unrighteous with plagues, God demanding Abraham sacrifice his son, King David having young virgins in his bed when he was elderly because he needed to be warmed up, etc).
Anyway, in light of the sad news that Gillard is sticking with the Net Filter (although it is being delayed until next year) I was wondering whether the Federal Government would employ the services of GodBlock, whose stated aims are as follows:
GodBlock is a web filter that blocks religious content. It is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions. When installed properly, GodBlock will test each page that your child visits before it is loaded, looking for passages from holy texts, names of religious figures, and other signs of religious propaganda. If none are found, then your child is allowed to browse freely.
Should we start censoring holy books which mention stuff which is probably MA 15+? (eg, Shiva’s first wife Dakshayani immolating herself, Joshua slaughtering Jericho, Jesus being nailed to the cross, Aisha the child bride of Mohammed).
I’ve only partly got my tongue in my cheek here. When my daughter asked me why Churches always had crosses, I was trying to explain that Jesus got nailed to one as a punishment. “No, no, don’t go on!” she cried in distress. I tried to explain that Christians believed that Jesus rose again, but she put her hands over her ears and said, “It’s horrible!” You realise when you introduce these concepts to a very sensitive little girl how upsetting they are, although we’ve become inured to them through familiarity.
The serious question which arises from this post: where do we draw the line with censoring stuff that may harm or distress children, and which we may not wish our children to access?
(hat tip – HeathG)