Why are Books Banned or Burned?

At the end of September, libraries and bookstores everywhere will be celebrating “Banned Books Week.” This got us thinking: why do people ban books (or, in extreme cases, burn them)? Literature is such a fundamental part of human life, and yet time and time again throughout history there have been concerted efforts to suppress or destroy certain books.

These days, when we talk about banned books, titles such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” usually come to mind. However, let’s not forget that one of the most commonly banned books worldwide is not some provocative piece of modern literature, it’s the Bible. Today, owning a Bible in certain countries is downright dangerous and can lead to arrest, assault, or worse.

Book Burning Throughout History

At the same time, it’s worth noting that censorship is nothing new when it comes to political and religious texts. Almost every country or religion has experienced some form of book burning. In 213 B.C, a Chinese Emperor burned philosophy and history books from states other than Qin, because the books did not comply with his dogma. Torah and Talmud scrolls have been burned since the early days of Christianity up until the Holocaust. Catholic priests burned Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible during the Reformation.

Even Harry Potter is Not Safe

Unfortunately, book burning remains in fashion even to this day. Perhaps the most well-known modern example involves the popular “Harry Potter” book. J.K. Rowling’s now-famous stories have been frequently criticized by religious figures for romanticizing the occult and promoting devil worship. Some pastors, claiming the books were harmful to children, went as far as to hold public book burnings in an attempt to rid the Earth of the “ungodly” themes of wizardry promoted within.

Then again, book burning is not nearly as common as it once was. These days books deemed too offensive to read in school are put on the “Banned Books” list. Many school libraries throughout the U.S. continue to block students from reading certain supposedly-dangerous texts.

Censorship in Religion

Religious leaders often choose to stifle ideas that don’t align with the core teachings of their faith. For example, Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species” is rarely welcome during discussions about creation among people of faith. But isn’t there value in understanding ideas that contradict your own? Without reading the evidence behind evolution, how could a Christian successfully defend his/her belief in Creationism?

Great literature is worth reading and discussing, whether we believe with the point-of-view of the author or not. If a person is not strong enough in their own beliefs to stand against an opposing viewpoint, then censorship is the inevitable outcome. But is it the right one?

Read more at https://www.themonastery.org/blog/2017/09/fiery-ideas-why-books-are-banned-and-burned/#UdPp7J617Vj7jicV.99

12 Comments »

  1. The church feels threatened by such revolutionary ideas as creationism for one simple reason. That all this time the church has twisted essential truths in order to capture and imprison the would-be-free soul. The theory of creation wasn’t supposed to be interpreted in a literal sense since it describes the inconceivable state of Enlightenment and not the physical creation of human bodies and the like.

    Hope I am making some sense. Have a great day ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At 53 I’ve had many changing views on my religion. At 19 quit the church based on what a Priest said about my Granny. 20+ years later thought it was time to let it go. the Bible is for each to enterprise, as any religion or what I can non-religion. Until negative thoughts and behaviors are shown, go for it. Expect when people bring children into the fold. I have very strong feeling for children who can not make their own choice, what will their future hold in misinformation. We live is a great country with the foundation of Free Speech. It doesn’t always feel Free.
      I’m working on a Petition with Change.org, it’s my first and I have no idea where it will go. My gut is on fire and I have the freedom to say my bit.
      Don’t think I said anything related to your point, we know about each other now.
      M

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m working with Change.org, I have one more fact to check. Then digging deep to find similar “God Complex” policies. It’s against Caremark/CVS. They are creating initiates which target and potentially harm customers who are Chronically Ill & Mentally Ill. I’m in the middle, Chronic Lyme and Mentally Ill. Once in basic draft form I’ll send it over.
        I could tell you’re a deep thinker and always looking for more knowledge.
        Have a great day. M

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Philip
        I have not entered the info in Change.org yet, old fashion I like to write everything out and make complete draft. I set a goal in six grade to be a Photo-Journalist. I’ve achieved the goal just at a lower level, I’m only 53 so there’s plenty of time. I’ll send you the talking points, there in no order, most copied from the Caremark website. I’m surprised by your interest and greatly appreciate your support.
        M

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly, I don’t think this will change. If you visit ala.org they have lists posted of the top ten challenged books each year. And you know what really ticks me off to no end? It’s when I see on the list like the Bible (for religious reasons) or Huckleberry Finn (for racism). The people complaining are in all likelihood be fighting against the banning of books like Harry Potter, or Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan. Yet they don’t understand that their stance is just as bad. Censorship is Censorship, no matter what “side” you’re on or how well intentioned you are. I’m so sorry for the rant! I’m hoping to do a post on this on Monday.

        Liked by 1 person

I appreciate your comments, what you have to say is important. Thank you.

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