I have a little collection of Golden Books (I think) which have biblical themes- The Good Samaritan, the Christmas story etc. Just a few. I happen to love them- the pictures and the simple stories are very appealing.
If we had kids, I'd probably read them, but de-emphasize the religious aspects and treat them like the fairy tales that they are. Maybe skip the parts about how God does this and that- haven't read them in a long time so I forget to what extent they're full of "god" crap.
I almost gave them to my youngest niece for the holidays this year- her family is Born Again, so she's already being raised in the cult, so what would the harm be?
Her older brother, who asked me about evolution this past summer, is what's stopping me. He sees now that I'm not one of "them," and I don't want him to wonder why I'd be okay with giving further propaganda to his sister. Did Aunt C change her mind about religion? Does she have trouble with the concept of morals without it?
So I'm on the fence. They are cute and enjoyable books for a young kid, but I don't want to enable the indoctrination process, either. Although I managed to grow out of it. Will the kids think it's an implied endorsement at this point? I want them to know they can count on me if they ever need to talk about their doubts, if they ever need to.
When I was little my uncle gave me a book about a little black boy who stole a watermelon. It was told with cute pictures, with all of the expected stereotypes. I don't remember the name of the book. I doubt that he cared the book was viciously racist, and morally wrong, and potentially indoctrinating me into racism. In fact, maybe that was the point.
Somewhere along the line, I crossed that line and became what folks back there and then would call a race traitor, and language I won't use here. My first long term relationship was interracial, black/white. My current one, going on 18 years, is Chinese/white. Not out of some sort of reaction to racists, but because I know who I love and who I like, respect, sometimes emulate, and feel grateful to be around.
I would not give that book to a child being raised in a racist family, even though the pictures were cute and the storyline, as I recall it, gave a superficially innocuous spin on quite a number of really vicious anti-black stereotypes.
When my parents died, I found the book in their attic. I searched online and found a museum of racism, intended to send them the book but life became too busy. It might still be in my attic, or maybe I threw it away. I don't know.
I know it's not the same thing, but to my mind religion is an abusive, dishonest system and I would not want to add to it's proliferation.
Back to your situation. I was also raised on bible stories. It's true there are some nice stories. But if it was me, I would not give those books to an innocent child. I'm sure there were millions of copies, so it's not going to hurt anyone to throw them away.
Not telling you what to do, but from my point of view, I would destroy them, because I think religion does more harm than good, even if the moral of the story is good. I wouldn't want to take a chance of reinforcing religious indoctrination in a child that may be questioning some of the teachings.
Before I rejected religion, I purchased a few religious DVDs and a large number of video tapes, most of which had religious stories on them, with the typical moral endings. I destroyed all the DVDs and I'm recording other things over the video tapes.
Repulp them. Burning them would only create more air pollution.
Ah, well okay then!! Seems unanimous LOL!!!
Guess what's hard is that I have a sentimental attachment to most of my books from childhood. I vaguely recall some (rare) good memories with my own mother. To me, they're beloved books that happen to have the stupid crap in them.
True about the racism aspect, although stories of the Good Samaritan are a pretty decent lesson- that one stuck with me. And the Christmas story would be a fast, easy way to get a kid familiar with that common myth w/o going any deeper than fairy-tale level. People still read Mark Twain and he's got the usual racism from that time period.
As you can see, it would be hard for me to burn/crap/destroy them. Guess I'll take another look at them and chances are, the charm has worn off since then. I never thought of them as harmful until just the past few years.
Really a horrific story, and it's disgusting that anyone would consider it suitable for children.
I'm with you on that Future. I've found religious books among some I've bought used for my g-kids in a book store. I tear them up and throw them in a recycle bins.
I see your dilemma. Perhaps you may want to keep them just for the memories of your childhood and not share them with the younger generation. The propaganda is so powerful, I would hate to pass on any of it to the next generation. One useful thing about them is if you like to write, you could use the delusional stories as a sample for replacing the delusional ones with some that you create with more progressive themes.
There are so many excellent books for young people these days without the delusions of biblical lore.
I like your post Joan.
Thanks for those recommendations... I hope books like that actually end up in the hands of kids who most need to read them! (Maybe prominently displayed in public libraries... and even supermarkets or big-box stores like Target or W*lm*rt...)