Sunday, September 20, 2009


A recent facebook status from a friend of mine posed the following question:

"I went to the school library and got a book question and answers which only discussed evolution viewpoint. If I toss the book I can get a new one for the school, with creation included. Is it ethical to toss the book? I don't want my kids learning evolution is the only way, at school, this will confuse them!"

It seems like there is an obvious answer to the question "is it ethical to toss the book?" Well, no, the book does not belong to you, therefore you can't just get rid of it. Besides, you'd have to replace the same book. You can't just "lose" a book and then replace it with whatever you want. Problem solved. Content of the book shouldn't really come into play, here, because the book is not the property of said question-er.

Tossing books does not sit well with me. However, the following response to the query really pissed me off: "If you own the book, it is ethical to destroy it. I have destroyed/burned many books I had moral/ethical disagreements with because I could not justify allowing their continued existence to propagate a lie. If you dont own it, then your choices are obviously limited."
I have left names off to protect the stupid. Burning/destroying books? Really? Now I realize I have a slight bias, in that I am the daughter of a librarian and that I grew up with a great respect for books and what they stood for. To be careless with a book or to ruin it was, in some small way, to end someone's personal record. Respect for the physical book equated respect for the author, if only in that he/she spent valuable resources to get the book published and that book is that author's personal stamp on history. Here is my immediate response:
"Are we burning books now because of disagreements? I don't entirely believe in evolution but I do strongly believe that books are someone's opinion which they are as entitled to as we Christians are. I personally believe everyone has a right to their opinion, published or otherwise and if we start burning book we lose the ability to have conversation. Hitler burned books. I think you further your faith and strengthen by allowing yourself to consider other's points of view even if you disagree. You do others a disservice by burning books and not allowing that same learning experience. I am sad to hear that as Christians we can't enter any conversation that is in disagreements with out beliefs.
I fully understand that there are other view points on how we (humanity, the world, etc.) came into existence. I have a solid belief of how that happened, but I want the girls to have a full understanding of all viewpoints so that they are not threatened and confused when these inevitable conversations happen. My job is to teach my kids how tothink and reason for themselves and to be able to work their way through things they come across that they might not agree with in a manner that is respectful of others. I'd rather them learn evolution in my home with some helpful guidance than have them be snowballed by it when they get out into the real world. Christian cannot hide their head in the sand on these issues and expect to be taken seriously. We must be able to be a part of the conversation."
Sorry for bad grammar. I was typing quickly and I was angry. I later wrote a personal message to my friend somewhat apologizing for being reactionary, in which I included the above comments on respect for books in general. I also offered for her to remove my posts if she thought they were offensive. I'm glad she didn't.

I can't tell what angers me more- the sheer stupidity of plugging your ears like a child when you hear/read something you disagree with or the arrogance it takes to actually burn a book because you think you know better than your fellow man. Does that guy really think that I'm so dumb that I couldn't process the information in that book for myself so he's just going to do me a solid and destroy it before I get the chance? Or I shouldn't even be allowed the chance because the content of the book "propagates a lie".

Here's what is frustrating. That guy has a right to burn books in protest. He isn't disturbing the peace by doing it in his home. He isn't putting anyone at risk. He's just stupid. He has the farging right to be stupid, too, same as I have the right to increase my knowledge. It's just frustrating as hell when people are willfully ignorant.

Open season for discussion...go!