Bibles make students feel ‘uncomfortable’

Bibles make students feel ‘uncomfortable’

Aberystwyth University students pushing for thousands of Gideon Bibles to be removed from the premises.

According to the Christian Institute, a poll conducted by the students’ union claims that more than half of students felt that having the Bibles in university accommodation as a matter of course was “uncomfortable” or “unacceptable”.

The call to ban Bibles mirrors action by the University of Huddersfield in 2013 – it said it wanted its premises to be “ethically neutral”.

Student John David Morgan raised the matter at a student council meeting that 50 people attended in January. He claimed that:

The inclusion of Bibles in university bedrooms is inappropriate in a multicultural university such as Aberystwyth.

He added:

It could be offensive for some, and the university should provide a safe space for students to explore and develop their beliefs in a neutral environment.

A spokesman for The Christian Institute said:

It is hard to imagine how a person could actually be offended by a Bible simply being in their room. The Gideons have been supplying Bibles free of charge for over a century now, providing support and encouragement for Christians and non-Christians alike. Banning the Bible because some people might be uncomfortable with it would be a huge overreaction.

Students who feel uncomfortable having a Bible in their room could instead see this as an opportunity to try and engage with it. Local evangelical churches and the Christian Union will be only too happy to help them.

The University of Huddersfield’s decision to remove Bibles from its student accommodation was branded “anti-Christian” by a retired local minister, Revd Mike Smith.

The motion calls for all of the Bibles in university bedrooms to be removed at the end of the current academic year.

A while back we reported on the disappearance of Bibles from the Travelodge chain.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

30 responses to “Bibles make students feel ‘uncomfortable’”

  1. Ripper says:

    Just toss them in the bin…that’s what I do when I stay in a hotel. Not strictly true…I rip lots of pages out first. And can anyone tell me why every UK hotel room I stay in has a bible inside?

  2. Broga says:

    The Christian Institute says, “Students who feel uncomfortable having a Bible in their room could instead see this as an opportunity to try and engage with it. Local evangelical churches and the Christian Union will be only too happy to help them.”

    As a former boss of mine might have said, “They are holding the cat’s arse to the fire” on that one. All a student needs is to have access to bible contradictions, or obscenities, or cruelties or “The God Delusion” and similar books and the “local evangelist” will have problems.

  3. CJ Klok says:

    Students who feel uncomfortable having a Bible in their room could instead see this as an opportunity to try and engage with it.

    I usually engage the pamphlet right into the trashcan…

  4. Rob Andrews says:

    What I would do is one of two things.

    1) Go to whoever heads the dorm are give the bible back to them.
    2) If they didn’t want it or refused to take it back, then throw it away.

    Unless my room mate(s) didn’t want it of course.
    No god; no bible; no sin; no hell; NO PROBLEM1

  5. Broga says:

    @Rob Andrews: I can’t remember where I read this:

    Native in some far flung place to Missionary: “If I had never heard of Jesus would I still be sent to Hell when I died?

    Missionary: “No, of course not.”

    Native: “Then why have you told me about him?”

  6. Daz says:


    Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
    Priest: “No, not if you did not know.”
    Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?”

    Apparently it’s by Annie Dillard, of whom I know nothing.

  7. Marky Mark says:

    That was good Broga…kinda like the Mother Teresa thing where a patient was told that the pain he was enduring was Jesus kissing him, and his reply to the nun was; “Tell Jesus to stop kissing me!!”

  8. barriejohn says:

    Marky Mark: “I wish you’d stop being so good to me.” (Cool Hand Luke)

    Broga: “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said: ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” (Desmond Tutu)

    Both quoted here before!

  9. barriejohn says:

    Actually, according to many fundamentalist Christians today, those who have not heard the Gospel will not necessarily escape hell fire, as “nature” is a witness to “the truth of God”. I was told that those who accepted their “sinfulness” would be “saved” in any case, and spurious examples were quoted of “heathens” who, upon hearing the gospel message, immediately exclaimed: “This is what we have been waiting to hear!” It’s another argument put forward by those who realize that so much of what their Bible teaches actually goes against natural justice and morality, and many will just quote Abraham’s words: “Shall not the judge of all the world do right?” – as if that explains anything. Others can be quite callous, and will tell you that people don’t go to hell because they haven’t heard the Gospel, but because they are sinners – a bit unfair when you consider that they have all been “born in sin”!

  10. Marky Mark says:

    barriejohn…”Cool Hand Luke”is one of my favorite movies and was asked recently, how many dozens of eggs did Luke eat? I remembered the line, “Luke, no one can eat forty eggs!!” 40/12 = almost 4 dozen

  11. jay says:

    As much as I’m not crazy about a Bible dumped in a room, the much more disturbing thing is the major trend toward offense that’s pretty much become an industry in universities lately. Art displays have been shut down, lectures cancelled, even lawsuits started because some people felt ‘threatened’ or ‘offended’. If we don’t pull the plug on this idiocy, universities will start to become politically correct nightmares where anyone has the right of veto.

    If you don’t like the Bible, throw it out. Don’t freaking whine about it.

  12. JohnMWhite says:

    It is hard to imagine how a person could actually be offended by a Bible simply being in their room. The Gideons have been supplying Bibles free of charge for over a century now, providing support and encouragement for Christians and non-Christians alike. Banning the Bible because some people might be uncomfortable with it would be a huge overreaction.

    Ok, let’s also put a Koran and Satanic Bible in the room. What are you complaining about? How can you actually be offended by a Koran and Satanic Bible being in the room?

    Students who feel uncomfortable having a Bible in their room could instead see this as an opportunity to try and engage with it. Local evangelical churches and the Christian Union will be only too happy to help them.

    Fuck off. Seriously, I’m not going to sugar coat it, leaping to the idea that you can use people’s discomfort with your book of myths and atrocities as a way to get your claws into them is the reason these books make people uncomfortable – because they turned people like yourselves into gibbering, predatory lunatics who can’t be trusted not to be creepily opportunistic.

    @Jay – principles are important. There is no reason a public university should have religious material (and for a specific religion, naturally) foisted on students. It’s not the biggest deal to just ignore or toss the book, but it is a straw on the back of a very weary camel. Religion gets by on the assumption that it’s got some divine right to just appear unannounced in people’s lives and anyone who doesn’t want it that way is somehow whining.

  13. gedediah says:

    No, do whine about it. What is it with these Gideons that they think they should have a right to leave their holy book on other peoples’property? They said they don’t want them so accept it and move on. Public bodies like universities shouldn’t be encouraging belief in superstition anyway.

  14. Robster says:

    Hang on, this mob are asking the students to engage with the bible thingy, don’t they preach that marriage (engagement is a lead up to marriage)is between a bloke and a woman, not a bloke (or woman) and a nasty old book full of silly nonsense? These strange, god besotted people need to learn to sing from the same hymn book.

  15. John C says:

    Those generous gideon folks can save the day, When you have ran out of rizzla papers.

  16. Daz says:


    Would you be so happy to let it slide if you checked into a hotel room with your kids, and they found the Gideon Pornography Collection?

    If I pay for accommodation,no one should have the right to use it in order to propagandise at me, no matter how innocuous you happen to feel that propaganda to be.

  17. Dan says:

    The reason Gideon shouldn’t have privileged access to students’ bedrooms is not because it’s “offensive”, but because it’s wrong to give one particular missionary group the right to leave their literature in students’ bedrooms, while not including others (not least humanists/atheists); at the same time, to try to be representative would lead to absurd piles of literature filling every available space. Better to ask that recruitment activities take place on an equal basis, with no group able to have their literature distributed for them by University authorities.

  18. Newspaniard says:

    Come on you guys. It’s a book of printed words. A fantasy. I don’t see why you are getting so uptight. If you are in a hotel for a night or university accommodation for a year, what difference does it make? It sits there, rotting in its own little drawer or wherever. Do you think the contents are going to leap out and grab you while you sleep? It is not your property and so therefore not yours to throw away, that would be theft. In university, I would have thought, the students would have enough books to worry about without concern for the babble which has been foisted upon them and, I would have thought that, in a hotel room , there is usually a television or, if you can read, a publication you have brought with you. Some of the comments today are, quite frankly quite shrill over such a harmless act. I have been reading, elsewhere, about the political cover-ups by our political leaders in Rotherham which gives a far greater reason to get very loud about. Some of us should get real and not look for things to get hysterical about.

  19. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: Please don’t patronize us with that tired old argument that “there are far more important things than this in the news”, as it is so pointless. In any case, where the Gideons are concerned, they don’t just place their Bibles in rooms, but there is a formal “Presentation”, where they shamelessly preach the gospel to members of the institution concerned (I experienced this when at school and when teaching, and the family friend who recruited me to the Plymouth Brethren was a member, and wanted me to join the Gideons as well – for that very reason). Not only that, but their Bibles contain “helps”, etc, and a pamphlet, which inform readers of the “Way of Salvation” (evangelical, fundamentalist style, of course) which should NEVER be allowed in public institutions of learning or on any other state premises.

    typical Bible or New Testament from The Gideons International contains:

    a short preface;
    a pamphlet suggesting Bible verses that may be of assistance in various sorts of trouble;
    translations of John 3:16 into a variety of languages and scripts;
    the Bible text itself, without notes, references, or any other reference matter other than chapter and verse headings — this can either be the full Bible (typical of the copies placed in hotel rooms), or just the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs (typical of the copies handed out as gifts to individuals);
    a short description of the evangelical understanding of salvation, with biblical quotations, and a place for the reader to sign and date their confession of Jesus as their savior (this is especially common in the shorter editions featuring the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs).

  20. barriejohn says:

    Incidentally, the Gideons still don’t allow women to join their organization!

    Membership is limited to current or retired business or professional men aged 21 or older who are members in good standing of an evangelical or Protestant church. Wives of Gideons may join the Gideons International Auxiliary.

  21. Newspaniard says:

    Why on earth would an atheist even open the cover of this book left in a hotel room?

    I’m not being patronizing, just saying, life’s too short, PHUQUING GROW UP!

  22. Angela_K says:

    @Newspaniard. I suggest you may be missing an important point in that the placing of bibles in halls of residence and Hotels allows religion a privilege denied to other books and gives religion an opening in which to force more of their bilge. It may seem a small insignificant thing but by attacking the minutiae the religious can to some extent be held in check. I used to travel the World a great deal and would seek out the odious tome in my Hotel room just so I could put it in the waste-paper basket;childish some would say, but such is my revulsion to this ghastly book.

  23. barriejohn says:

    The Bible and religious tracts have caused untold misery to those who, like myself, were seduced by them. I don’t like bookburning, or authoritarianism for that matter, but we all favour action when a plague threatens. I happily pulped my own theological books, and felt a great sense of relief that they wouldn’t be infecting any other minds!

  24. Carlin Hicks says:

    @Newspaniard: I think you’re missing the point in this one. For me, denying the Gideons and any other religious group the opportunity to place their material in hotel rooms, student accommodation and other such places is another important step in curbing their actions insofar as they impact on the rest of the population. As you yourself wrote in your post, the students are having this material foisted upon them, and it is precisely this type of behaviour we should be resisting at every turn. The religious must be taught that they cannot impose their beliefs on other people, even if it is through a relatively innocuous act such as leaving their printed dogma in other people’s rooms.

    Hitchens sums it up best in this short excerpt:

  25. JohnMWhite says:

    Newspaniard, your remarks came right after it was repeatedly explained why this is an issue, and what the real focus is on. It’s great if you don’t feel like reading a bible left in a drawer, but please do try to read the comments that already pointed out the issue you failed to address. Surely life isn’t quite too short to read those and grasp the point that has sailed over your head numerous times already?

    Or just let me leave a copy of Mein Kampf in your bedside table while blocking any other political parties or figures from having their literature distributed to you. We’ll see how that works out.

  26. dennis says:

    EITHER ALL OR NONE, but I do get such cheap thrill out of tossing the gideons in the trash.

  27. gegsieline says:

    I think if people are offended they’ve got a duty to complain. How else are peoples opinions going to be measured?. Personally I couldn’t give a monkey’s, but next time I find a bible on the bedside table of my hotel room I shall ask them politely to remove it. I can’t wait.

  28. Rob Andrews says:

    @gegsieline: Yes. I’m offended by having a book near my bed that says in the old testament Leviticus: “Homosexuals should be stoned to death.

    I would be less offended if other religions were given the same privalige. I just don’t like the way other religions are given short shrift. This is especially true in jails; where xtisns can have bibles but other religions arn’t allowed to have their holy books

  29. John says:

    The gideons should certainly fuck off. But let’s face it, who here ,in times of trouble, hasn’t turned to the Bible? You know how it is, you’ve sat down on toilet, done a massive wet shit and you look to the empty toilet roll holder in horror – when suddenly the Bible saves the day! Not only that but, as John C has already pointed out, it makes perfectly good rolling paper in a pinch!

    I really can’t think of any other reason why someone would want one of these in their hotel room.

  30. Cali Ron says:

    Late in the discussion, but I have to acknowledge the “Cool Hand Luke” quote. “Takin’ it off over here, boss!” It’s one of my favorite movies, too, marky mark.

    And to complete the Gideons references you must include the Beatles, “Gideon checked out, and left it no doubt, to help with poor Rocky’s revival.” Of course, I’d find it more helpful if they just left the money used to buy the bible so I could pick up a good book on atheism.

    I concur with the masses here (sorry Newspaniard, but your an island on this one) that it’s inappropriate to allow proselytizing for 1 religion. You should be free from religious intrusion in the privacy of your own room, even if it’s just a book. Personally, I’d like to make airplanes out of the pages and fly them off the balcony, but I struggle with the guilt of knowing I’m polluting twice-once with paper and again with the mind pollution printed on it.