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Dutchess_III's avatar

Would you ever throw a copy of the Bible, or the Koran, or the Torah, or any other religious book in the trash?

Asked by Dutchess_III (38413points) June 16th, 2011

Under any circumstances? Would you really? Would you take part in a “Burning of the Koran” rally?

Yes, this question was prompted by the responses to this other question of mine.

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84 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Seven times No.

josie's avatar

Only if I wanted to get into a fight. Not that there is anything wrong with getting into a fight. But if you do it, it should be for a good reason.
Why bother? It could never serve my interests, and it would only annoy other people to no productive end.
I still think you should let go the other issue. But it is your business.:)

Berserker's avatar

Nah. The destruction of books, of any kind, religious or not, I don’t like. I’d give it away or let it sit somewhere, but I wouldn’t dispose of it in such ways. Unless it wasn’t actually a book, and instead, some creepy monster with teeth that disguises itself as a book.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@josie Tis let go! As I said, I thought it was a good Fluther question…don’t you? I’m not really that bothered by it. Annoyed more like it. Curious, from here on out, to see how long that book is going to sit there before I drop a Torah on it! Heh!

@Symbeline Nice!

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

The book itself isn’t holy to Christians (at least the ones I know of). The symbolism of someone burning the Christian Bible may offend, but it’s not how it is for Muslims and Jews who feel their book is sacred. Like someone else said books just shouldn’t be burned.

KateTheGreat's avatar

Only if it belonged to me personally. I have thrown a bible in the trash before because I had no use for it. It was a gift from someone who knew I was an atheist.

I wouldn’t deliberately burn or throw them away unless they were my property and nobody was around to be offended.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@sarahtalkpretty You lost me…of course the Bible is Holy to Christians. Where do you get the idea it isn’t?

tom_g's avatar

I have recycled a bible before. This is paper – you shouldn’t be throwing this stuff in the trash.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

The WORDS are holy not the book. If a Jew drops a copy of the Hebrew Bible on the ground he immediately kisses the book after picking it up. Muslims are similar in that way. Christians have no problem recycling an old Bible because the message is what has value not the physical object it’s printed on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@sarahtalkpretty… we’re not talking about recycling. We’re talking about throwing a book in the trash because you don’t agree with the message contained in it.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

Oh, but you didn’t say ‘burn’ you asked about throwing them away. I would recycle a worn out copy of the Bible. If it was new and I din’t want it I’d give it to a thrift shop.

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

Hmmm no I wouldn’t ever throw a book away, because I don’t think that’s environmentally responsible. If it was like “how to build bombs for children” I’d hide it under some newspaper in my recycle bin.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Burn” was in the details, @sarahtalkpretty

sarahtalkpretty's avatar

Sorry, I’m spacing- my mind is elsewhere. but the truth is that it is not a grievous offence to destroy or dispose of a Christian Bible.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@sarahtalkpretty Absolutely nothing that happens in this world is a grievous offense. Depending on who you’re talking to.

Berserker's avatar

What would yall do if you found the Necronomicon lol?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Symbeline Never heard of it, but just from breaking down the base root of the word (something to do with the dead?) I feel I must quote a famous and wise Jellyfish who once said “Unless it wasn’t actually a book, and instead, some creepy monster with teeth that disguises itself as a book.” : )

Berserker's avatar

@Dutchess_III Ahahaha, yeah, The Book of the Dead can get pretty gnarly. :D

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I own a copy of The Holy Qu’ran and The Bible. Both were gifts and are used for reference. The only reason I would put them in the trash is if they were damaged beyond repair.

everephebe's avatar

I’m not really a rally person myself.

I burned a bible once, but it was for an art piece I was doing… I like bibles, well some of them, because of the mythological stories, but if I have more than one copy I’ll recycle it in the paper recycling. I have used bibles for multiple art projects, and by doing so, severely damaged the book. The Koran I wouldn’t burn but I would draw Muhammad. I’ve actually already done that too. I wouldn’t abuse a Torah though I don’t think, in any way. Not really sporting that. Well… maybe, never say never you know. I tend to love most books and do try not to spoil them, but… Hey, there are exceptions.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Heh! I do think Christians are a bit in awe of Jews. I’ve never, ever heard of a Christian who tried to “convert” someone they knew was Jewish!

YARNLADY's avatar

Of course. I have thrown many such books in the trash. Why on earth not, if they are ruined or not owned by anybody? Actually, I have burned them in the fireplace, also, for warmth.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s just paper and glue. Sure, I’d throw it in the trash. The only books I wouldn’t throw away are those of historical significance and that are also rare.

Cruiser's avatar

I almost did I inherited my grandmothers hutch, armoire and study desk all that were loaded with bibles of all sorts. I had no use for the 30 + bibles and I honestly did my best to find a church or shelter that would take them and apparently my problem is a regular and nuisance problem and they all said sorry we have more than we can use. I still couldn’t toss them in the trash so I buried them in a box of children’s books and gave that box to the Salvation Army. I kept 2 amazingly beautiful copies of the bible that look like they should be in a museum!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Cruiser Put a pic of them on Ebay…ask the experts what they think! But first, picture them here!

As always, as I get the answers, I wish I’d added, “Would you throw away a Bible, Koran or Torah….to make a point about your thoughts on that religion?” As always, I just assumed the underlying was understood. My bad. : (

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Sure (although I’d rather recycle it). I get the reasons why people don’t want to throw them away or burn them, but I’ve done it (although in all cases, they had been ruined by me being really sick. I figure, being kindling is better that just going in the landfill – it’s a form of recycling.)

FutureMemory's avatar

I don’t believe in the sacredness of books. Just because a collection of information was published in hard copy format doesn’t mean it’s automatically worth preserving, no matter the content.

I had a friend that once joined the Hare Krishna cult. Despite going through that terrible brainwashing experience, he refused to dispose of the books they made him read, once he got out. “I think it’s wrong to destroy books” he said. I never understood that.

That being said, I’d like to have a copy of every religious text that exists despite the fact that I am an atheist. Know thy enemy and all that jazz.

Berserker's avatar

@FutureMemory Nice. I dig this post. :)

I still love books though. :D

FutureMemory's avatar

@Symbeline I recently asked my mother (a born-again holy roller) for a copy of the Bible. It’s one of those 4-in-1 versions that enables you to read it in Old English as well modern English, etc. Pretty neat.

If anything though, it’s only solidifying my beliefs even more…I just read that God punished women for original sin by making child birth extremely painful…such horse shit.

Berserker's avatar

Yeah I remember reading that. Who wants that for a god, I ask you.

King_Pariah's avatar

After I severed my “relationship” with Christ I threw my bible away, couldn’t give it to anyone as it had my name engraved on it.

ETpro's avatar

Sure I would throw a book away if the book had become to worn or tattered to be serviceable. I do not believe in idolatry, and claiming that a dead tree with ink on it is a Holy thing that can’t be thrown away is idolatry.

I would not take part in a Koran burning or any other sort of book burning party. That’s a whole different thing. That’s an assualt in information and knowledge. That debate should be won by logic and by advocating a better way, not by fascist tactics.

Brian1946's avatar


I’d either give it directly to someone who wanted it, or I’d recycle it.

Land fill expansion is already bad enough as it is in So Cal, without adding more literary garbage to it. ;-)

answerjill's avatar

You could give it away via ?

Qingu's avatar

I’ve smoked joints out of torn out and rolled up Matthew chapter 27.

I also have far less problem throwing books in the trash now than in the past, since libraries don’t want old books anymore and everything is on the Internet. I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to treat the Bible or the Quran any differently from any other book. And it’s not like the Bible or the Quran are scarce or hard to find.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

I wouldn’t think of it…No matter how tattered it is, I will not be the one to throw it out.. Perhaps i could get someone else to. Hopefully it will not fall into my hands. I’m not religious, but i don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone who does deem their book to be sacred or holy..

_zen_'s avatar


I also wouldn’t throw any book in the trash.

Brian1946's avatar


“I’ve smoked joints out of torn out and rolled up Matthew chapter 27,”

Pat Robertson would call that blasphemy, but I call it Holy Smokes!

Jeruba's avatar

I would never throw ANY book in the trash.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I will donate them to poor children with related religions. Or…let them rot in my storeroom.

ucme's avatar

Throwing a book in the rubbish is tantamount to raping a unicorn. It’s not big & it’s not clever!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I never throw paper in the trash. Twenty pounds of paper has the same energy content as a $4 gallon of #2 Heating oil.

Qingu's avatar

Man, you guys. Books are such a sacred cow! Get with the 21st century—it’s the information contained in books that shouldn’t be thrown away, not the medium of the book itself.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Qingu People in another question were talking about throwing an unsolicited Bible in the trash. What they were saying was that they were symbolically throwing the information itself away.

People keep wanting to talk about recycling old books, etc. and that isn’t the issue, of course. I know I should have been more specific, but I assumed my intentions would be understood.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I knew what you were talking about. I was not going to get drawn into the religious/holy spirit type discussion. I wanted people to know that even if you think a book or its contents have no value, a 2 pound book is still worth about 2 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and $0.40 in heat and I would never throw out 40 cents. ;-)

Jeruba's avatar

So, @worriedguy, what do you do with the book, then?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@worriedguy The question isn’t so much about religion or holiness, it’s about respect.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Put another way. The JW’s come to my house and give me tracts. I accept them and get rid of the people. When they are no longer in sight I throw the tracts away.

What kind of person would take something that is that important to someone else, and throw it into the trash in front of them, or where it could be seen later?

Qingu's avatar

Holy books shouldn’t be that important to people in the first place.

Especially holy books that condone slavery, rape, and genocide. I’d say such a book belongs in the trash, though I’d settle for the “dustbin of history.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Qingu You’re missing the point. You don’t have the right to say what should and shouldn’t be important to people. They aren’t important to you. Fine. They ARE important to me, and you have no right to tell me they shouldn’t be. I respect your feelings, and, as an intelligent, thinking human being you should respect mine, at least on the surface. That’s what ladies and gentlemen do.

That’s like telling a women she shouldn’t get all bent out of shape about sexual harassment, just because it wouldn’t bother you.

Qingu's avatar

Sorry, but I don’t respect the feeling that a pro-genocide book is important (at least, in the sense of being worthy). I absolutely do have the right to say so—just as you have the right to tell me that I shouldn’t say so.

And I certainly don’t think saying so is anything like telling a woman not to care about sexual harassment.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Jeruba It sits on the shelf with all the other books, a light coating of dust, pollen and mold spores protecting the top edge from the harsh rays of my reading lamp.

It’s a book, and books are special bits of cellulose, hemi-cellulose, lignin, and ink.

@Dutchess_III I have no trouble heating my home for 30 seconds with a Watchtower.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m a compulsive book hoarder. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a book away.

And I wouldn’t burn or otherwise deface any book for political reasons, or whatever. That’s just fucking retarded.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Q Yes, you have the right to say whatever you want. You have the right to feel whatever you want. I’m saying, you’re wrong to tell other people how you think they should and should not feel.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I would never do such a thing!

Qingu's avatar

@Dutchess_III, do you think it’s wrong to tell a neo-Nazi that he shouldn’t hate blacks and Jews?

mattbrowne's avatar


But I would put writings of dangerous cults such as Scientology in the paper recycle bin. The same applies to pamphlets of the Westboro Baptist Church or any other religious organizations with radical interpretation of holy texts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Qingu This started because you said, “Holy books shouldn’t be that important to people in the first place.” But the fact is, they ARE.

Your neo-Nazi comparison is like me saying, “They shouldn’t hate blacks and Jews.” But they DO. I disagree with their philosophy. You disagree with the philosophy some people have regarding “Holy Books.” But telling people they “shouldn’t” feel a certain way is wrong, because you’re talking about feelings, not actions.

You can’t change feelings just by saying you don’t think they should feel that way.

You can change actions by stopping the action if you’re in a position to do so.

Qingu's avatar

I think that’s grasping straws. Feelings and actions are intertwined. Obviously I cannot stop people from having feelings. I would not even lobby to make certain feelings—unlike certain actions—unlawful, since I believe everyone (even neo-Nazis) should have the right to feel however they want, no matter how stupid, ignorant, and hateful.

But I’m perfectly comfortable with saying that people shouldn’t feel things that are stupid, ignorant, or hateful. And people who say otherwise have jumped the shark of multiculturalism into bizarro-land where we can’t criticize neo-Nazis for believing neo-Nazi bullshit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Feelings and actions can be intertwined @Qingu. We have more control over our actions than we do our feelings, though. My feelings (in the other question) were that she was wrong to plant that Bible-study book on my desk. My actions, however, I controlled.

SABOTEUR's avatar

What’s more important…the book or what’s in the book?

What’s funny is, even if the book and what’s in the book are equally important, I’ve seen Christians treat The Bible in questionable ways.

Like, I know that displaying a Bible in your car window demonstrates to other people you love the Lord.

But sunlight and heat destroy books.

Wouldn’t that be the last place you’d display something you acknowledge to be sacred?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SABOTEUR It’s not about the physical book. It’s about being respectful of others, whether you agree with them or not.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I understand that.

The whole emphasis, IMHO, is all wrong.

If you understand what Christ said about not storing your treasure here on Earth, you wouldn’t place as much value in the written word as you would in incorporating the values the book teaches and becoming the Living Word.

Jesus never demanded respect. You couldn’t insult Him.
There was nothing on the planet that could injure Him.
And He went on to say,

“These things I do, you can do also.”

We don’t get it.
We’ve missed the mark.
Which is why we’re all sinners.

Dutchess_III's avatar

…I agree. But…it’s a little off point, I believe.

But, while we’re at it, he also said something like, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren so you do to me.” Or something like that. So, by your own examples, insulting someone, anyone, in that way, or in any manner just because you disagree with them, is just wrong.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Yeah, but we can play “The Quotation Game” all day long.

The common thread that all major religions have in common is “this is not our reality”.
What religion you are or aren’t…whether you believe or not…doesn’t matter.
This awareness allows no deviation.

Few of us (myself included) are willing to surrender ourselves so completely.
And we justify our unwillingness to surrender by creating deities to worship instead of emulate.

We then proceed to bicker among ourselves about whose deity is “best”.

This is exactly the point.
It’s never been about religions or books or races or political affiliations…or insults.
Or anything else we can wrap thought around.

These things we prop up to avoid facing our unwillingness to see and accept our true reality.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ok, then, it’s about people’s perceptions and feelings. You can say they’re all made up and “shouldn’t” mean anything, but they do. You can stand there all day and be all existential, but that doesn’t justify rude behavior on your part. Thinking you “understand” better than others isn’t any kind of excuse, either.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I agree.

As long as you put things in their proper perspective.

And for the record, I don’t understand anything “better” than anyone else.
If I did I wouldn’t be here.

I’m continually learning…and erring…just like everyone else.

SABOTEUR's avatar

One other thing.

Just because we don’t, won’t or can’t do things a certain way doesn’t mean we shouldn’t occasionally re-mind ourselves that maybe there’s another way at looking at things.

After all, many of the things we’ve been trying we’ve tried an infinite number of times already.

Doesn’t make me “right” or you “wrong”.
It’s just another perspective.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I appreciate that @SABOTEUR. I think empathy is an important trait for others to have.

chewhorse's avatar

I have little to no interest in any of these books (for reasons of my own) but out of consideration and respect for others I would never insult them by destroying something they revere. Even with no one around I would rather donate to a goodwill than trash it. Burnings are petty and are linked to mob reaction.

@Qingu… no.. No.. NO! Only use the blank pages in the back.. Who knows what type of ink they use.. Remember “The Name of the Rose” (sean connery, 1986)..?

Nullo's avatar

I’m set against destroying books in general, with exceptions for those with no redeeming value. Bibles are common enough gifts that I have several, none of which have enough miles on them to be falling apart; disposal hasn’t become an issue yet.
The family library has a Koran and a Book of Mormon; I don’t use them, but they’d be handy if I ever decided to see what the Muslims and Mormons actually believe. I actually have a number of reference books that haven’t been referred to in a very long time. I should probably clear some of them out.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

I happen to beliece that ALL books are sacred. However, when the time comes that they are falling apart then I would properly dispose of the book. I go to my recycling center and put the book into the bin marked “books” so it can be recycled into new paper that can be used for new books. Even religious books. Ah, the circle of recycling.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Mr_Paradox… I was referring to religious texts that are in good condition…burned or thrown in the trash for religious or political reasons.

chewhorse's avatar

that’s vindictive and petty, somewhere along the lines of spitting on someone for their beliefs or ideals..

Mr_Paradox's avatar

@Dutchess_III Oh, then absolutely NOT.

Inspired_2write's avatar

Throwing away a book is like trashing anothers perspective.
It just means that the person who threw this book away is limited in his repect for anothers idiologies and has closed his mind to other possibilities.
It shows how threatened he is, just by someones opinion?
A lack of respect and he loses in understanding .

Shinimegami's avatar

Yes, if someone give me one I discard it, I not need it, is worthless trash. At San Francisco some people stand at street, give people they meet copies of Bhagivadgita, Bible, Book of Mormon, Quran, etc. I not argue, just take books they offer, later throw them all at trash. Many religious people have no respect of anyone not share their beliefs, try force their religions upon everyone, their books deserve burning.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Shinimegami You might want to look at other thoughts on the subject. Read through the thread. It’s a question of respect.

Shinimegami's avatar

@Dutchess_III Anyone try force everyone take holy book of his religion have no respect of anyone. You ignore that. They not respect me, I not respect them, they start battle, I win when toss holy book at trash can. I not want Bible, Quran, Vedas, Eddas, Tao Te Ching, etc. Some people not think enough. Have distractions, not see basic truth of matter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think that showing disrespect like that on your part makes you any better than people who try to “force” a religious book on you.
I’ve never had a Bible or any other religious book “forced” on me, so I don’t know what perspective you’re coming from. I’m not talking about flyers, like the Jehova’s Witnesses pass out. I toss those too, but I’d never throw an actual Bible or Quran or any other religious book that others deem as sacred in the trash just because I don’t think it’s sacred. It’s a little higher thinking, I know, and isn’t for everyone.

Shinimegami's avatar

@Duchess_III You have double standard, cannot see whole picture. Anyone want give me their holy books have great disrespect of me, I just show contempt of silly book and person believe such absurd “kuso”. I not like public scenes. If someone start fight I fight and win however. You allow religious fanatics have special priveleges. You need think much more of this. You are emotional not logical. Is not higher thinking have logical flaws and use emotion more of reason. You glamorize yourself, try tear me down. Is sad anyone have such feeble ego.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, they don’t have great disrespect for you and I don’t know why you feel that way. They just have their opinions and you have yours. You are both within your rights to express them. You are well within your rights to refuse to accept their opinion. I just can’t see it turning into “fight” unless it’s because instead of politely refusing them or ignoring them you turned into an asshole to try and force them to believe the way you believe.

Shinimegami's avatar

These worthless people try force their beliefs upon other people. I not want even talk at them, some of them try force me hear them. They have no respect of anyone disagree of their absurd beliefs, is futile deny it. I not mean physical “fight”, mean battle of wills, someone tell me words I not want hear, give me religious literature I not want, I fight back, win. You are “ketsu” (Japanese ”@$$h01e”) if anyone is that. Some believers push too hard, I push back. Japanese try be polite, often just take trash people offer, then throw at trash can. i have right do that. Issue not disrespect, anyone force junk upon others deserve no respect. You cannot see full and real issues.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t push back. I just walk away. I only push back if something truly important or if someone is in danger. I don’t fight, verbally or otherwise, over trivial, silly stuff like what someone wants to believe. It’s called “Freedom,” dude.

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