The Bible Should Come with a Parental Advisory Warning

Did you ever think one night, when picking out a bedtime story to read to your young child,

“Hey, we should read this book – it’s filled with murder and mayhem, natural disasters, and the occasional zombie! Guaranteed sweet dreams!”

I’m guessing not.

Well, there was this one book that had been sitting on my kids’ bookshelf for years, collecting dust. I didn’t think much of it. And when my little kid asked me to read it to her, I thought, why not?

It seemed wholesome. Filled with great life lessons. With darling pictures, to boot.

The book that my daughter’s precious little paws were grasping? A kiddie Bible.

Aw, I thought, She wants to read about Jesus. Isn’t that cute?

But it turns out it wasn’t cute. At all.

Now before you get your undies in a bunch about me calling the Bible “not cute,” let me tell you I’m speaking from a (small) position of authority.

I was a Big Time Catholic in the past. We’re talking the kind of person who went to Catholic summer camp, led retreats, taught CCD, and had the big, fancy Catholic wedding.

I won’t get into all the reasons I’m not a Big Time Catholic now. I’m not here to start a fight about religion. Though that could be fun … okay, I won’t go there.

But I am here to help you learn from my mistakes. Because woman, if you want to take on the kiddie Bible, you’d better be prepared.

I sure wasn’t ready for these fun topics to come up:

Jesus going back to Heaven
“Why is Jesus floating up into the clouds? Does he live in outer space?”

Creationism vs. evolution
“Who came first, dinosaurs or people? Did the dinosaurs eat the people?”

Working is for suckers
“Why does Mary sit and listen to Jesus tell stories and Martha does all the work, and Jesus says Mary is smart to not work?”

Are zombies real?
“If Jesus made Lazarus live again, can he make grandpa live again?”

If you’re not good, watch out!
“When there was that big flood, what happened to all the other people and animals? Can that happen again to us?”

The birds and the bees
“How did Jesus get in Mary’s belly? Is that how I got in your belly?”

Suffice it to say, I was reduced to a babbling idiot when faced with all these questions.

And it wasn’t only the questions that perplexed me. How about those pictures of the beaten Samaritan, lying on the side of the road? Jesus hanging from a cross? A whale swallowing up a human being? Those are some great bedtime images, huh?

Sweet dreams, darling!

After a few nights of this torture, I sneakily hid the kiddie Bible while my kiddo was entranced by a Dora the Explorer marathon and lied, lied, lied when she asked if I knew where it was. She persisted for a while, but then Jesus got eclipsed by the Disney Princesses, and the Bible has been mercifully forgotten.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. My daughter now prefers a hussy mermaid to your holy stories.

Someday I’ll have my day of reckoning and will have to explain to The Big Guy why I steered my daughter away from the Bible and toward stories about cartoon princesses intent on catching husbands and the adventures of a big-headed, unsupervised exploring preschooler and her monkey friend.

But it’s okay. I’m sleeping peacefully. Because my kids are not having nightmares about zombies and floods and therefore, waking me up at night. Nope. Sleeping like a baby here.

And anyway, I’m sure God will understand. He is a Father, after all, right?


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19 Replies to “The Bible Should Come with a Parental Advisory Warning”

  1. haha im an atheist and i love this post! How can you logically explain any of that crap to a child? You cant its illogical and it goes against everything else they learn about life! Good on you for putting it away!

  2. Just wait until she gets to the “grown up” bible and the stories of Lot and Job and what god commanded be done to the Malachites and Moabites etc. One of my own favorites is Jesus commanding a flock of demons to move from people into pigs and the driving all the pigs off a cliff… Very useful life lessons indeed!

  3. I’m a non practicing Catholic myself and have been given kiddies bibles as gifts. I already was of the opinion that the bible would not make good bedtime reading, but if I had been in any doubt about this at all, this wonderful post certainly would have convinced me otherwise!

  4. Yes!!! We have a great storybook bible (I’ll email the title and publisher . . . wait! Maybe you have it? It was the free one from BlogHer ’12) that I love. Except for the part with the lepers in which the pictures are incredibly disturbing. But I will confirm, especially as a one-time, Big-Time Catholic myself (retreats, youth group leadership, me too, babe), that the pictures in the Catholic children’s bibles take the cake for nightmare inducement.

    Did you see the Satan giving a reach around pic on The Bearded Iris’ blog? No? Enjoy!

  5. My boys go to Catholic school and one of them is totally in to reading the bible and retelling all of the stories. We ran into trouble when Joey was sick and afterward when he was insisting that people come back from the dead. I kept saying that Jesus is the ONLY person we know that has ever done that. I didn’t want them thinking Joey was going to come back. 🙁

  6. I was raised Catholic as well. (I wonder if that is where my anxiety came from!) I have not talked much about religion to my kids. We tried to explain the meaning of Christmas to my son when he was about 3, he wanted to give a present to Baby Jesus. When we explained that Jesus wasn’t on earth anymore, my son became terrified of dying and going to heaven. Every subsequent mention of God strikes fear of being whisked off to heaven for him. We didn’t even attempt to explain Easter.

    My two year old daughter did ask us to address her as “Baby Jesus” for about two weeks before Christmas this year. Me: Get your shoes on. Her: Say, “Get your shoes on Baby Jesus.” Me: Get your shoes on Baby Jesus.

    It felt sacrilegious, but that holy child got her shoes on with miraculous speed.

  7. Being “reformed” myself, I often wonder how people approach these subjects with their little ones and after reading this and the comments… avoiding it all together sounds like a great plan! lol. I’ll happily wait until some little child tries to recruit my kids before trying to explain why throwing rocks at someone was a common practice; we’re only allowed to throw tiny rocks in the water 😉

  8. Oh this made me laugh. We’ve clumsily navigated those questions as well. We somehow have managed to flub our way through enough to still read our Bible story every night. But, as someone mentioned before, I’m a little nervous as the stories become more grown-up. Even the rock stars of the Bible did some boneheaded stuff that will be hard to explain to kids or teens. (David and Bathsheba? That’s a hot mess right there.)

  9. I have to agree with you…the Old Testament is one horror story after another! I take the kids to church and let the teachers do the baloney teaching. I stick with the stuff I'm sure of:
    1. You are not an accident. You are here for a purpose and are perfect exactly as you are.
    2. You are loved, completely, unconditionally, and eternally.
    3. No matter what happens after we die, one thing is certain, there will be no more pain. Therefore whether "Heaven is Real" or we all end up in an abyss — death is not something to fear, just postponed as long as possible.

  10. I have to disagree with most things in this post. I am not doing it with hate or judgement though as I know that we are all at different places in our walk with Jesus or lack there of. We, as believers live by faith in things that are unseen which means that even though we didn't witness things and Bible times were way different back then, the people that wrote those stories were witness to it and therefore I believe it. God said He would never flood the Earth again, so not that won't happen again, Jesus has the authority to heal and bring ones back to life if He wants to, but how I explain it to my children is that God works miracles and because He loves us, He died for us so that we have the chance to live eternally in Heaven. It is a happy story in the sense that we have life because one man gave up His life for us. I respect your opinion, however maybe this will help a little. In regards to the samaritan, it is a great way to talk about bullying and lonely people that our kids may come across. If they see someone sad and lonely, they are the modern day samaritan. We should set the example of love and help them feel cared for and valued. Please don't avoid the Bible becuause it is intimidating. Seek out wise council and trust that God will give you the words to say to your kids. I hope this makes sense. God bless

  11. Oh this made me laugh and yet, the Bible is often nighttime reading material for my two girls as my husband reads it to them. He’s a hardcore fundamentalist Christian and I’m an atheist (who used to be Catholic once upon a time). And if you think that’s bad, I still remember my older daughter coming home from church Bible study with a diorama of a scene from the Bible, from the story of the Hebrews who were thrown into the furnace! Uh, how is this AT ALL appropriate?!

  12. Oh my, I AM a Sunday school teacher, but thank-you for giving me the materials, and so the awkward questions are erased – everything’s neatly themed and positioned! The kids really only ever want to colour in anyway, but we’re making sure they finish with some rote learning of the Lord’s Prayer, so one day, at least they’ll know something about ‘big person’ church!

  13. This just makes me so sad. A parent is supposed to teach and guide. A lot of Catholics and Christians in general were taught that God was to be feared and didn’t get the low down on the loving and forgiving part.

    Our church actually had a popular class for middle schoolers (who are gross little people anyway) called, “Gross Stories of the Bible.” They LOVED it and since we had good leaders teaching it, they really learned a lot from it. I hope you reconsider and can find some good resources to help.

    If she asked for vegetables and you hated them, would you deprive her?

  14. @Weezie… your vegetable argument is illogical. Vegetables have scientific proof of supporting the body’s growth and development. Thounsands of pages of stories have no scientific evidence of providing nourishment for physical growth. Also, the blog isn’t about “hating” the Bible or religion. It’s about avoiding the subject until all involved have the answers they’re looking for (and they may never find them, but who ever really does?)

    Check out for some insight into how kids actually interpret biblical stories, teachings, indoctrination, etc.

  15. Ezekiel 23:20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

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