ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is The Bible Too Violent For Children?

Updated on July 31, 2015

I have been reflecting lately about the place of the bible in my life. I was exposed to the bible, in a great deal of detail, from a young age. It was part of the warp and woof of life for as long as I can remember. Most importantly, it gave me tools to cope with pain and undeserved suffering, both my own and others.

The bible was long, with plenty of storylines leading here, there and nowhere, but taken all together, the whole story had a wonderful cohesion, a comforting rhythm. I think even from childhood I sensed that the bible was like an individual life: full of confusing events, disappointments, and seeming dead ends, but a tale that from some later perspective would turn out fraught with meaning, every confusing bit of it. The history of Adam and Eve’s exile from Eden, the Hebrews enslavement in Egypt, the great escape to the Promised Land, the Babylonian captivity, and the coming at last of the Messiah was an illustration to me that no matter how confusing life gets, a larger story exists. Something better must lie ahead. I had no doubt that the entire world, and my life too, would end in the eternal kingdom of Jesus, where He would set everything right. Every pain we had, back to that initial loss of the Garden, would find comfort and relief in that newfound world.


Some of the reasons I took the bible the way I did may be explained by my background. By the time I was 10 my mother had been through a psychotic break, a suicide attempt and a nervous breakdown; my father had returned from the Viet Nam War with a bad case of post traumatic stress syndrome; my cousin was in prison for murdering a neighborhood girl. Perhaps the stories of loss, longing for home, and death in the bible helped me process my own feelings. I also wasn’t shocked by the violence in the old Bronze Age tales; in fact, the stories resonated comfortingly with my own experiences. Cain got angry at Abel and killed him, the way my cousin George had that poor girl. Perhaps some children might be frightened reading about what Cain did to Abel; I felt sympathy for Adam and Eve’s grief, and happiness with them when the new baby Seth came along. Family violence was terrible, but life continued. Good things could still happen.

The Bible helped me maintain hope

The bible, or perhaps simply this sense of a larger narrative that I had absorbed through reading the bible from beginning to end, helped me through the first serious existential crisis of my life. It happened in 1977, when I watched Alex Haley’s miniseries Roots on television. I was 10 years old. Mom and I were both very excited about Roots, which was a big deal at the time. My bedtime was put on hold for us to sit together on the floor in front of our TV.

I still remember the moment of my crisis. Kunta Kinte had been captured and chained in the hold of the vessel which would carry him to America, and as that ship’s prow cut the ocean my heart sank. I realized simultaneously that something Really Bad just happened, and that since this was a true story, that meant God hadn’t stopped the Really Bad. I hit the theological conundrum of bad things happening to good people which causes many to question the nature of God or even whether he exists, and I had all the nuance and sophistication of a 10 year old to deal with it. But a moment later the dilemma was solved, either by God’s help or by the help of a thought process made possible by hours of pouring over biblical tales of wanderers, outcasts and misunderstood prophets. I realized that Kunte Kinte was on his way to America, where he would begin the family that would eventually include the author of Roots, who would become not only a best selling writer, but would bring the story of Kunta Kinte to the world. Immediately the thought settled into my brain that although Kunta Kinte was suffering now, greater things were ahead of him. The slave ship no longer held the terror it had a moment ago.

Like Kunta Kinte, my life had been hijacked by powerful, exploitive forces. I was trapped inside the dark ship of my parents’ mental illness, carried I could only guess where. But I had learned from reading the bible that the arc of the story is long, but it bends towards justice. I think I sensed that no matter what the world stole, a way existed to reclaim one’s own. Kunta Kinte lost his family and his freedom. I lost my father’s presence entirely, and my mother on and off to hospitalizations. I knew things were awful for Kunta Kinte, and things were bad for me. But believing in his future on that evening in 1977, believing that he could endure, was my way of believing in me.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mihnea Andreescu profile image

      Mihnea-Andrei Andreescu 

      3 years ago from Tilburg

      Great!I loved this article.The Bible is very educational.It is mainly because of reading my bible from an early age that I was able to mature faster and my results in school improved as well.

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      4 years ago from Rochester, New York

      At first I was afraid you were going to say "yes, it is too violent." I know of so many Christians that have "PG" thinking when it comes to Biblical topics but then sit down and watch "R" rated characters blow each other up. I have been changed by movies like the "Passion Of The Christ" and by reading the Bible cover to cover over and over again. I agree with you that the perspective changes as to the "scarlet thread of truth" that you can see that runs throughout the volume of the book. I put myself on a reading schedule that is 10 chapters per day. At that rate I finish the whole Bible in 4 months, then start all over again. Great article Grace, thank you. Bob.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Tireless- Thank you for the comment. The modern world is anything but sanitized. I'm going to give some thought to good things for an Amazon capsule - I welcome any suggestions.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      Add an amazon capsule to this hub. It will make it more attractive. I can think of several movies and books that would work with the content.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      4 years ago from California

      When an inner city five year old is more likely to see someone murdered than have a father in his life there is no way the bible is too violent. A friend of mine became a widow when her little boy was 3. He came into class and told his teacher his daddy was dead. Because he knew the story of Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection. He knew what death was. He dealt better than his teachers with the situation. He had "hope". He would see his daddy again in heaven. Better to have hope than despair.

      Nice work.

    • graceomalley profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Christina - I think the tendency to package the bible somehow - for children and even adults - is very common. Read straight as it is, I think it is much more powerful, more raw and real.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I found this hub resonating deeply with my own experiences and similar observations. I have also noticed that there is a serious watering down if the Bible when it is being presented to children which, in my opinion, diminishes the glory God receives from His word. The watering down inserts our limited human interpretation of the Bible instead of allowing the word itself to speak.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)