PM3114: Why the Judaeo-Christian Bible Should Be Banned

In this essay I would like to discuss why we should ban the Bible, and how a ban upon the Bible would be compatible with freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

First of all, I would like to make clear my premises, which you may or may not agree with. It is not my intention here to prove any of these premises - if you do not accept them,  you will not find my argument convincing. However I am hopeful that some people who already accept my premises, but have not yet realised what conclusions follow from them, may be convinced by this essay.

It is my belief that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are important values, which ought to be respected; but neither is absolute. The freedom of speech does not extend to the mob boss telling their subordinates to kill people, nor to the terrorist leader telling their subordinates to carry out terrorist attacks. And when religious leaders call for the death of others, that is beyond both the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion.

Secondly, it is my belief that the death penalty is state-sanctioned murder. Although many people disagree with this, it is increasingly agreed upon by educated people in civilized countries. Since I believe that advocating murder is outside the bounds of the freedom of speech, it follows that advocating the death penalty is also outside the legitimate bounds of the freedom of speech, and it is justifiable to legally prohibit such advocacy.

Now if we read the Bible, we find that it is filled (especially in the Old Testament) with advocacy of the death penalty. On those grounds, I think it is compatible with freedom of speech and freedom of religion to ban the Bible, as a book advocating murder.

I think religious groups that use the Bible can be allowed to continue to use it, provided it has been modified to remove all those passages which advocate murder, and instead substitute passages which oppose it.

For example, consider Leviticus 20:10, which reads in the KJV: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." This can be amended to read instead: "And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely not be put to death, for that is murder, which the LORD hates." In this way, we can extend Jews and Christians and others the continued religious liberty of using their scriptures, but without permitting any improper advocacy of murder.

I also think that scholars should be allowed to print the original texts, for the purpose of study, provided that those publications come with clear disclaimers that those publishing them reject their offensive content, and publish them purely for scientific purposes.

Freedom of religion is important - I think you should be able to worship as many or as few deities as you wish - none, or one, or a hundred - and call them by whatever names you wish, etc. But it has its limits, and advocacy of murder is one of them.

I have similar thoughts about the Bible's advocacy of homophobia. I think that is beyond the bounds of acceptable freedom of speech or religion, and so those passages must be legally removed from the Bible, and substituted with others that endorse love and respect for homosexual persons and for their partnerings.

Obviously, the argument I make here with regard to the Bible applies equally to the Quran and Hadith, the Mishnah and Talmud, the Laws of Manu, and every other scripture that advocates murder. They all should be prohibited except in censored form.
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