Lv 7

Is it wrong to expose Children to Old Testament Stories?

I agree with Dr Hayes when she says that the material in the old testament is to vile and graphic and not appropriate for children under 16.

What say you folks.


Christine Hayes is the Robert F. and Patricia Ross Weis Professor of Religious Studies in Classical Judaica at Yale. She received her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in 1993. A specialist in talmudic-midrashic studies, Hayes offers courses on the literature and history of the biblical and talmudic periods. She is the author of two scholarly books: Between the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmuds, recipient of the 1997 Salo Baron prize for a first book in Jewish thought and literature, and Intermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmud, a 2003 National Jewish Book Award finalist. She has also authored an undergraduate textbook and several journal articles.

18 Answers

  • Zombie
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Teaching the Old Testament to children is only "wrong" if it is wrong to let children play Grand Theft Auto IV or read Stephen King novels. If a moralist opposes popular entertainment on grounds of sex, simulated violence and other so-called depravity, then I question why the Bible should be an exception to this philosophy. If anything, the Bible is even more dangerous, because children are taught that it is real, whereas most parents will not tell their children that the events in GTA IV or "Cujo" are real and the result of an all-powerful invisible being that one should always obey, no matter what.

  • 5 years ago

    Don't misunderstand the christian life and their way of dressing . The bible does not permit any true christian to dress like street boys /girls . It depends on the christian denomination to which you belong , and the kind of sermon they preach there ; or perhaps , a personal lifestyle to which one has adopted to live with. Also , most of these strange life are copied from outside , not from the Church at all . A good christian denomination knew that the biblical injunction is '' men and women should dress properly to cover there nakedness , and a man should not wear that which pertains to woman and neither should woman do so ( deuteronomy 22:5 & exodus 28:41-43 ) A real believer or christian new that he or she is regarded as a prince and a priest by JESUS CHRIST and in the sight of God ; therefore , should not live according to the partern of people who have no CHRIST in there life . Jesus Christ life standard is a clear example of how good christians should be ( Revelation 1:5-6 & verse 13 ) . If you are confused of your christian faith in the Roman Catholic , I advise you to look for any pentecostal church and begin to worship there . Except you have already made up your mind to convert to Islam , but Jesus Christ is still saying , ' come , I love you ' ( mathew 11: 28-30 ).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I am not a Christian but I do not believe in what Dr Hayes is saying. Children need to be exposed to all sorts of beliefs so they can decide what path they want to follow independently. Another words they need to learn to think for themselves. However, the Old Testament definately needs to be censored... imagine telling a five year old about the "spilling the seed" story - and then explaining a man having sex with a prostitute. Something I wouldn't want to be in the position of doing.

  • 1 decade ago

    I do not believe the Bible stories should be changed in any way. However, for young children, some elements of the stories could be presented in a more age-appropriate way. For instance, instead of telling a kindergartener that because of the Israelites rebellious nature and God's judgment, the Babylonians came, laid siege, and made their land desolate, where even the parents were so desperate as to eat their own children, you might say, God allowed them to suffer and be taken away.

    Of course, so many parents these days neglect their parental responsibilities, allowing their kids to watch all the trash on TV, perhaps such vile and graphic stories in the Bible are a welcome reprieve from the horrors that are allowed to enter their homes through TV.

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  • 1 decade ago

    i say i have been wondering the same thing... just as i wouldn't allow a six-year old to watch an r-rated film i would exercise caution with the old testament. who gets to rate the bible? when i was very young i had an illustrated bible, pitched at a certain age group, and it was scary enough in places, scary enough to be at the root of some nightmares (if memory serves).

    it's true that it's not good to limit a child's potential - and good to provide them with challenges. however, as a parent i think it is up to us to show a high level of sensitivity with regards to what kids are exposed to. i understand that as kids get older they will, increasingly, be exposed to all sorts of things beyond parental control or notice. that's why it's important to teach children moral values, to enable them to distinguish between right and wrong, how to question and to think for themselves. i guess you hope that by providing an environment in which the mind and understanding can flourish, without negating or relegating parental responsibility, you would equip a young person well for dealing with what dr hayes terms "vile" and "inappropiate".

  • 1 decade ago

    Absolutely not. You've gotten some good answers above and I just wanted to chime in because my children are learning the stories of the Old Testament from a Children's Bible.

    Parents are given a choice in what and how to teach their children every day. It is our responsibility as Parents to teach our children right from wrong. I will also expose my children to Darwin's theory of evolution but make my own Beliefs clear to them. They will have to make their own decisions.

    However, the Bible does state that if One Believes with absolute Faith and Fellowship with God that He will save their entire family, in spite of their beliefs, for the sake of the One who does Believe in the One True God for generations.

    I forget what number of generations, not sure if It states that either...just remember reading that. Does anyone else know where that scripture is found? Maybe that should be My next question...

    Source(s): my personal Bible study efforts
  • Depends on the story. Some of them are too violent for children, but Sunday school teachers gloss over that stuff anyway. I was taught about Daniel in the lion's den, Ruth and Boaz, Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego, David and Goliath, Esther, Jericho, Moses, and Abraham and Sarah. Stuff like that.

    Many stories in the Old Testament aren't inappropriate for children, but some of them are...like David and Bathsheba, Lot and his daughters, and the guy who had to sacrifice his daughter, to name a few examples.

    As long as a person uses discretion, most of the stories are fine.

  • 1 decade ago

    No way! It is very important to teach them the old Testament stories... These are foundations....

    Now that being said I find a lot of today's media to be vile and graphic in nature and not appropriate for children under 18. (Music, TV shows, movies, books, computer, video games etc...) I also see lots of parents don't who concern themselves with taking a personal interest in censoring what their children are exposed to... And your concern is biblical stories!!!

  • Misty
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I don't agree. There are some graphic stories, but the violence is limited in detail. None of the stories go on and on about blood and violence. The Bible accounts are rather innocuous in relation to what many children see and hear on a daily basis.

    The Old Testament is historical and spiritual. It's important for all of us to know that there is a God, there is a standard, and there are consequences. Everyone should learn this.

    All she's done is give parents an excuse not to teach their children biblical events. That way they are free to take them to PG13 movies (or R in some cases), allow them unmonitored access to TV and violent video games. But they'll fee like good parents because they kept them from ever reading or knowing of God and the Old Testament.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, now, let's see. As a child I had Adam and Eve, the Creation, the Expulsion of Lucifer from Heaven, the Story of Noah, the Ten Commandments, Moses being found in a basket, Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat, and Shadrak, Mishak and Abendnigo. Oh, yes, and Daniel and the lions' den.

    Quite a lot to digest before teatime.........

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