back to article Bible heads for Hong Kong's top shelf

The Bible may be reclassified as "indecent" in Hong Kong due to its "sexual and violent content", Reuters reports. That's if the 800 or so residents who've demanded it be restricted to over-18s get their way, following an unholy rumpus over a sex column recently published in the Chinese University's Student Press magazine which …


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  1. Sampler

    So say we all...

    Wouldn't it be great if all religious books were made available only to those over 18 - instead of indoctrinating the young?

  2. Will


    Apparently they said no :(.

  3. Torben Mogensen

    Content versus intent

    The priest's excuse that depicting rape etc. in the bible does not imply that the bible condones such actions may be true, but that excuse could be used for everything from child pornography to snuff porn. You should base censorship on content, not assumed intent. Not because intent doesn't matter (it does to a certain extent), but because intent is very hard to determine in a court of law.

  4. Simon Day

    Rape not encouraged in the bible?

    He obviously doesn't know his old testament very well.

    Lot begged a crowd of men outside his house to leave him and his guests (who the crowd wanted to attack) alone.

    In return he offered the crowd his two virgin daughters to do with as they please.

    Sounds like encouraging rape to me....

    (The old testament is full of stories of a similar ilk - I heartily recommend reading it to anyone who likes a fuller view of a religion rather than just knowing the sections your local vicar chooses to read at sunday school)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...and Incest

    Lots daughters later get him drunk and have sex with him and bear him children. Encouraging both date-rape and incest.

    So, according to the bible, being curious and looking back gets you turned into a pillar of salt, but having sex with your children is OK. No wonder Hong Kong wants it on the top shelf.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow... how sad and stupid all at once

    Hey... lets outlaw every book out there on the planet!

    Oh wait.... thats foolish.

    Yeah... thats what they said about the Bible.

    Look... if people wan't to condem a book that invokes one's perverted imagination and refuse to study the text to a degree of understanding just what was going on in the first place.... then your better off throwing a every book out the door.

    This is the most stupid thing I've sene yet... sheesh... did the world get a ton of people with the IQ of 10 and below all the sudden? Yes I know the Bible has some rather nasty scenes.... but they are in the context of "Don't do this"

    If people don't have brains enough to understand that... they have themselves to blame. Outlawing a single book for that is only going to cause more chaos and what not... this is just flat stupid! Brainless morons!

    Try reading the book of Leviticus and you just might get the picture as to what the "Author(s)" of the Bible might say to the "implicit content" of the bible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No ban sought

    Nobody is seeking to ban the bible. A group of responsible HK citizens are merely trying to ensure that a book containing references to incest, rape, paedophilia and murder is targetted at a more appropriate age group.

    Once people have reached the appropriate age, they are more likely to have a better understanding of the subject matter, and not be unduly influenced by any negative content.

    How is this an unreasonable?

    In any case, it is academic - the age-target application was denied.

  8. adnim

    Children are..

    impressionable entities. So this really should be on the fiction shelves with a 16 age limit. It's pretty frightening the number of people who are convinced the bible is a factual work and the word of god, and not prescript from the mind of man for the purpose of control.

  9. Alex


    here's the thing. if you manage to ban everything that depicts these sort of things and you rely on strangers(teachers, priests, etc) or scared parents to do all the teaching on the subject matter how do you expect these people to have a better understanding of the subject matter? i say get them while they're young :P

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come on now.

    We are talking about the Bible here. How can someone wish to restrict such a pure and ethical book. I mean the Bible isn't presenting things like supernatural tricks and magical spells in a fun and enjoyable context. The superhero is Jesus himself and he does miracles not magic. I can understand the confusion but it isn't like he is Harry Potter or anything.

    Excuse me, hypocrisy is calling.

  11. Tiki Mon

    You only think the Bible pure if you've never read it

    Yes, children, the Bible encourages and condones many, many rapes, murders, incest, you name it. Denial and wishful thinking won't change that. To be fair, most religious texts have their outrages.

    Does the good in the Bible outweigh the bad? Absolutely not. If you have to cherry-pick what you believe, try to redefine what the words REALLY say, and so on, you're probably following the wrong "ethical" text.

    Time to stop glossing over the horrors in the Bible and stop focusing on John 3:16.

  12. Tom

    Harry Potter isn't the Bible

    Thank goodness. It is probably better fiction anyway. One can be thankful that Harry Potter IS classified as fiction. Some people believe that the Bible isn't.


    Please classify the Koran as well!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theophobic Chinese Cringe in Horror!

    The chinese rounded up a group of people practicing stretching exercises and deep breathing, put them in a prison camp, tortured them, and then sold their organs and body parts.

    Do you think the Bible Scares people like this?

    Foo Long a Ding Dong scared them so much and was such a danger to chinese society. These people are paranoid.

    Ever heard of Tienemen Square Masacre?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pauls Epistles and sexual practices

    The sexual practices of the Christians in the churches compares sin and sex with God's approved practices .

    Paul record (lead by the Holy Spirit) superceeds the Old testament sex practices.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Wouldn't it be great if all religious books were made available only to those over 18 - instead of indoctrinating the young?"

    Yes, heaven forbid we indoctrinate any morals into our young people before they're too old for it to make a difference.

  16. Steven Moore

    RE:Wow... how sad and stupid all at once

    "Yes I know the Bible has some rather nasty scenes.... but they are in the context of 'Don't do this'"

    Excuse me, but Lot did all that crap and was still called "a righteous man".

    So, if you want to be "righteous", offer your daughters to mobs and/or rape them.

    And don't let me get started on Elisha, "The Child Killer".....

  17. Chris


    As I recall, in order to satiate the lust of the croud outside of Lot's home who were calling for him to send out the angels that were in male human form that had come to warn Lot of the imminent destruction of the city, at least one of the women who was sent out to the croud was repeatedly raped over and over and over again until she expired. I always found this to be horrific and very baffling that this could have been acceptable or even necessary in the eyes of God.

  18. Grant Bearman

    Not a book for children

    There isn't a crime I've ever heard of that is not advocated by the bible, generally under orders from god - from scorched earth policies, to killing children for cursing their parents (Jesus says so too: Matt 15:4), and when it comes to women, there is nothing like killing everyone in a city except for the virgins and handing those out to the victors. This is a major theme.

    I don't advocate banning it. A more perfect example of how bronze age butchers, psychopaths and paranoid schizophrenics you could not hope to find anywhere else. If it can teach us anything, it is that it stands as an example of the worst in us. It's time to move on and leave this monument of hate literature to the field of abnormal psychology.

  19. DrFix

    Get real...!!

    C'mon people! Remember that this is coming from a people and a government that executes anyone it doesn't like, and will send you the bill for the bullet.

    We should then ban every Hellenic, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist text because there happens to be "words" of one sort or another "mentioning" or "recounting" "episodes" of debauchery, murder, lies and the full gamut of human deceit?

    Its certainly good to have an open mind but clearly not one so open that ones brains fall out or so sealed shut that one cannot see the forest for the trees.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh, bad grief.

    I am not going to read through the forum comments here, as I can be sure that half o them are complete rubbish, as usual in these subjects.

    The mindless silly people are having yet another go. Acts of incest, one, maybe two (probably not related by blood in the second one), rape, apart from the one just mentioned I don't remember one, and other sexual items, are rarely mentioned in the Bible, they are usually mentioned in an context of historical reference. Bestiality is not mentioned from memory, except that it is not acceptable, and as an reference indirectly implied about Sodom and Gomorrah. Violence is in there an reasonable bit, but again mostly just in reference to what happened, and usually not in graphic detail. All other references are to things that are unacceptable, as we do nowadays in the law. All this is obvious enough to anybody with an half of an mind. Pity more of these people don't read it, with an unbiased and logical state of mind..

    This spareness of reporting of crimes of an sexual nature is far better then we manage in our society or our media. From our leading current affairs program, I understood that Hong Kong was the centre of the Chinese pornographic production industry, that were illegally sold in China. Interesting this happening in Hong Kong now under Chinese control. I suspect this stuff was just an bait, to get some publicity for some cause.

    To report something, at an certain level, is to hold back on unnecessary detail, this is often what is done in the Bible, and text books, and even general news articles. This level of holding back is what separates them from indecent use, and materials, otherwise we would have to band every publication and news organisation that reported that an crime happened, or roughly how it occurred.. (not that this isn't an good thing sometimes, so other people don't get similar ideas). Amazing what a bit of logic will do to the dumb masses of skeptics.

    Put that in your letters section.

    Wayne Morellini.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There will always be a place for religion, but...

    >>Yes, heaven forbid we indoctrinate any morals into our young people before they're too old for it to make a difference.<<

    Since when did religion have a monopoly on morality? Just because religion dresses itself up as moral teachings, doesn't make it the only source.

    It also appears to have failed as a tool for teaching morals. There are far too many religious extremists, justifying their actions with divine right or lessons from their holy books.

    Very useful as a tool to rally for war though, and a superb way for society to cull its less intelligent, more impressionable members. The irony is sublime: religion as a tool to implement Darwinism as a policy.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one bad novel

    Someone will probably hang me for this, but I find the bible a really badly written book.

    I was always confused how one man and one woman, who had only two sons, one of them who was wacked by the other, managed to produce the entire world population.

    The whole bloody book starts of with incest and murder.

    Oh... I shouldn't take that literally? But other parts I should? And then base all my morals and lifestyle and behaviour around this peace of crap? And the same counts for any other backward religion based around the drunken scribblings of cultist buckweats following their "prophets" and "given sons".

    I personally found the Dark Tower series by Stephen King to contain more morals and respect and understanding and teachings of good against bad and real friendship. Maybe in another 1000 years someone digs up a Barnes & Nobles store from the ruble of a society destroyed by lunatic religious fanatic warfare and for the next 1000 years people will remember the face of their father and join in ka-tet and live happily forever ;-)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop taking things out of context

    I you read something in the bible and it seems horrible, then maybe you ought to ask someone who studies the bible and has a fairly open mind what it means. The best way to do this is to search for international versions with study guides on the topic, because as can be show by the responses here, we have a lot of people who think they understand everything yet do not.

    As can be seen by the events in Hong Kong, the knee jerk reaction syndrome is prevalent throughout the world. If something is so important and horrific that you feel you must do something about it, then at the least have the courtesy to carefully examine such issues.

    In reference to a the listed biblical events here are a few responses:

    1) Lot offers his daughters up for rape - Funny, I don't see anywhere in Genesis where it says Lot was doing a good thing by offering up his daughters.

    2) Chris says some woman was sent out to the crowd and raped until she expired - Thats odd, I don't see that anywhere, perhaps it is in another book? Or perhaps another "version" of the bible? Or perhaps Chris is mixing different events? I shall reserve comment further on that one until I have read more.

    3) Matt 15:4 has a mention of honoring your father and mother embedded in an argument about hypocritical behavior, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die.' - Interesting indeed, since the poster of this comment tries to insinuate that this reference is primed towards "young" children which is misleading since we are all children of our parents even when we are 50yrs. Of course the poster may not have meant that, but be honest with yourselves and consider what went through your mind when you read Grant Bearman's post. In terms of letting children die, what does that mean? Does it mean to actively kill them, or just not assist them? Does it mean eternal death in terms of not being saved after your mortal death? I don't have to make a decision on what that means, but I do have to state I'm not sure exactly what it means.

    We are not perfect, the people described in the Bible are not perfect, we are not supposed to be thus I suggest those frustrated with an inability to resolve the laws of the old testament should continue on to the new testament. Keep reading and be careful not to mistake the Bible as a simple book of the good guys verses the bad guy. Truly perfect people are rare, so don't expect those being commanded by God to be perfect.

    If you are still reading this (long post), don't believe everything you read. Have faith in something and carefully consider all that you feel is important.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a grip, folks

    "Nobody is seeking to ban the bible. A group of responsible HK citizens are merely trying to ensure that a book containing references to incest, rape, paedophilia and murder is targetted at a more appropriate age group."

    Not even that. They're just pointing out how daft it is to suppress a student publication containing some titillation by means of an ironic reference to the Bible, generally regarded as being of high moral calibre (or not, according to your belief). Here in Hong Kong the point was taken rather well.

    This whole sorry thread is largely the result of ElReg producing another 'jokey' story emphasising the wrong thing and not consulting the locals, but also with the credulity of some of its readers.

    Much like yer average daily rag, really.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love your neighbor as yourself

    The Bible essentially comes down to this theme: "Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself."

    If you want to speak of Lot, yes, he may have been called righteous, but Paul calls the church in Corinth "saints" even though he lambasts their immorality.

    The concept of "sainthood" or "righteousness" is one of redemption. Even "saints" make mistakes and surely Lot did too. David was "a man after God's heart" yet he did some bad things. Nobody is perfect, but purely loving God and treating others with love equal to yourself and acting on that love is what the Bible teaches.

    That is a wonderful, awesome, powerful concept.

    Let's be as open minded about the Bible as we are about tech news.

  26. Jon Ward

    A Short Response

    Describing the bible as "pure" would certainly be hard to justify as a lot of it is the record of human actions and the continual failings of God's people, why would, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20.13), be in the 10 commandments if man wasn't killing man, and doing so against God's will, thus lacking purity in both God's eyes and, I would expect, in the eyes of modern day secular opinion.

    I recognise the existence of God is a controversial issue but when discussing parts of the bible or the bible in its entirety it has to be taken in the context of the appropriate author's belief in the existence of God.

    The story of Lot and his daughters (not using the word "story" to imply history or myth), found in Genesis 19 verses 30-38, could never be said to be inciting or even condoning incest given that the daughters had to get their father so drunk that he didn't know he'd slept with them (verses 33 and 35). This is simply a record of what occurred (in the author's belief). I have failed to find any reference to Lot being called ""a righteous man"". The story of Lot is told in the book of Genesis, within which the word "righteous" occurs twice (NIV translation), once in Genesis 6.9, in a description of Noah, and once used by Abraham when speaking to God (Genesis 18.23).

    The same goes for the story of Lot offering his daughters to the angry mob in Genesis 19 verses 1-13. For the record there is nothing to say that either of Lot's daughters were raped, let alone "repeatedly raped over and over and over again until she expired", on the contrary, the mob declined the offer of his daughters, then the two angels blinded the mob so they couldn't find the door and pulled Lot into the house, keeping Lot (and we can suppose his daughters) safe. Both of his daughters were still alive later in the chapter.

    The last mention of Lot is in chapter 19 where both the stories mentioned here about him occur, so if he is referred to as being righteous in another translation it would have to have been said before he did these things.

    Matthew 15.4 is not Jesus saying to kill children for cursing their parents, it is him referencing Exodus 20.12 and Exodus 21.17 to point out the hypocrisy of the Jewish teachers about a matter of ceremonial washing, as for the verses themselves it is the latter of these two verses that states the punishment, the former that sets the rule (not to curse one's parents), they are separated because the rule applies in all circumstances, whilst the punishment was meant as part of the legal system of a then nomadic tribe.

    As for the matter in hand, the content of the bible being explicit, there are parts of the bible that are explicit, however people haven't been picking them out, instead they chose examples where they wish to question the morality of the bible. We wouldn't object to the daytime news mentioning that someone was on trial for rape, surely if the word "rape" can be used then the word "sex" is acceptable, which is the most explicit these stories get (Genesis 19.5). As for obscene, again, if rape and paedophilia etc. can be mentioned on the daytime news then how can we object to them being mentioned in a spiritual text?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DrFix is incorrect

    He/She says, "He/She says, "this is coming from a people and a government that executes anyone it doesn't like, and will send you the bill for the bullet."

    It is NOT coming from the government of mainland China but from the government of Hong Kong. We are autonomous. Check your facts.

    Once again, allow me to repeat: the residents of Hong Kong referred to here were criticising a recent action by the Obscene Articles Tribunal (a branch of the HK government) of censuring a silly article in a student publication. The Bible was cited as an ironic device, since few genuinely consider it to be "obscene". The orginal student artcle was mere titillation and was not illegal.

    There is, nevertheless, an undertone of local politics in this, since ultimately HK is under Beijing control, and such actions as that of the Obscene Articles Tribunal are a sign of what may come when our autonomous status ends.

  28. the Jim bloke Silver badge

    best thing that could happen to it

    Give the Bible an X rating, only sell it under the counter, and kids will sell their iPods to get hold of a copy... (well, no. Actually they will just download it )

    But re-marketing it as something racy, perverse and dirty will boost interest at least for a little while, and then hopefully the traditional Christian recruiting mechanism will get the chance to swing into action ( Christian youth group chicks )

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    For thoses interested the reference to a woman being repeatedly raped until death occurs in Judges 19v22-30. After she was found dead her husband cut her up into 12 pieces and sent them around Israel as an example of the wickedness of the city. The city was then razed to the ground and its populace massacred, together with most of the tribe of Benjamin which had defended it. This was all in the context of "every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Clearly the influence of God is needed to prevent the natural evilness of man producing such atrocities.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    media's judegment.

    "This whole sorry thread is largely the result of ElReg producing another 'jokey' story emphasising the wrong thing and not consulting the locals, but also with the credulity of some of its readers."

    "Much like yer average daily rag, really."

    Isn't that similar story here? Student Press post an article, contents are questioned. But WHO and HOW should judgement be made? What's the guideline? if there is really one? That's a hard job for TELA.

    Personally, I'm thinking, is the student press' reference to Bible appropriate?

    Do they imply Bible as their guideline? Seems thinks are too complicated for me to think... :-(

  31. Ryan

    blah humbug

    Too bad poor old Lot didn't have some of you chaps to throw to the mob.


    p.s.- God never took back His original gift to us, free will and the ability to make choices. Whether it's a good samaritan helping the homeless or a mob of demon driven psychos intent on rape.

  32. Ryan

    blah humbug


    In Lot's time, you where responsible with your life if necissary for the well being of your guests. They took this very seriously. Hence, a very serious and hard decision about what to do.

    People did great -and- terrible things back then, because people held to principles greater than themselves, something you limp wristed air conditioned vallet-parking call the police shiny little pretty people could never understand.

    Under that veneer, the beast is still there. You little faggots would be capable of the same actions in the right circumstances.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sounds like an olden-day version of Lembit Opik and the Cheeky Girls, except I'm sure he'd have to get them drunk.... And all the best to him too! Lucky bast....

    I don't see any religion teaching true moral values to its 'flock'. Every child brought up with a religious taint grows to have certain perceptions and negative discriminations against certain social groups.

    I'm glad I don't adhere to religion - I have a free mind to think what I will - free from the fear of Holy retribution in the afterlife. My morals are governed by my social principals, not by a human powermonger.

    Without religion the world may well be a safer place, or not. But without religion there would be none of these 'discussions', and the world would be much duller :-)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re blah humbug

    "something you limp wristed air conditioned vallet-parking call the police shiny little pretty people could never understand.

    Under that veneer, the beast is still there. You little faggots would be capable of the same actions in the right circumstances."

    Thank you to Ryan, our very own El Reg militant Militia. Ever thought that the reason people don't act is because the Law, laws which stemmed in large part from "Religion through the ages" in general, tends to frown upon people taking the aforementioned law into their own hands. I'm also not pointing out the technical inaccuracies in your rant.

    It is an interesting point though - what if this were a fictional novel and NOT some religious text? Would it still have been turned down given the "infammatory" nature of some of it's passages (read the Bible one way and it preaches love and peace, read it another it advocates genocide, rape, torture death)?

    Besides - how many kids actually read the Bible cover to cover these days? Aren't they just told to turn to page such and such? Are we relying on a thrid party (eg that enviable Bastion of Morality, The Church) to define what parts of the Bible are taught and which aren't?

    Sorry, that got totally off topic there......

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New for Old

    I thought that the "Bible Brigade" had seen the error of their ways and fixed the "Old" version with an upgrade... Bible 2.0 - New Testament!

    This updated version has allowed for a number of the old flaws to be removed, allowing the user of Bible 2.0 to sleep easy at night in the comforting fact that their religious teachings does not have numerous references to rape, murder, destroying cities and keeping the gold for "God's Treasury", et el.

    And most rational people call Scientology madness; I think the same would be levelled at Christianisationism (George Bush Jr, 2005) if not for the masterstroke that is Bible 2.0.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    book reviews

    Hey, can't we just drop the "book" (Bible) reviews and focus on the fact that those who make decisions in HK decided that this _should_not_ be_ a top shelf book.

    Until all religions are banned worldwide we're just going to have to learn to live with this kind of governmental intervention (i.e. do nothing in this case).

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bible 2.0, interesting that the New Testament does not "remove" "flaws" but is complimentary allowing an new way to live, rather than retrospectively negating the old way. That the first, addressed an way of living for an particular people until the time, in preparedness, for an new way of living for all peoples in the next book,. Incidentally, the new way of living is also in the previous book, and stated (Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul, and love your neighbour as yourself.) and also before that book, and as the desirable way to live the old way of living. So, the new way is actually the basis for living the old way too. Things are not removed, but simply act 2, with things from act 1 still current in reference to general morality.

    It should be pointed out, that novels make an better read than records, and the Old and New testaments are actually an collection of trusted books on different things and times. Interpreting history as wrong, is rather like straining at nats and swallowing camels, as opinions tend to override what little evidence is left (and logic).

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