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Free speech banned from .bible

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2015, 10:24:18 (UTC), Domain Registries

The Bible may be a piece of literature that belongs to the world, but in .bible it’s going to be a propaganda tool for Christians.

The just-published Acceptable Use Policy (pdf) bans any content that the American Bible Society, acting as registry, deems unsuitable. Specifically prohibited:

Pointing to any content that may, as determined in ABS’s sole discretion, disparage or blaspheme God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Christianity (to include any sects or denominations), the Bible, or any other such tenet, symbol, representative or principles of the Christian faith.

Pointing to any content that, as determined in ABS’s sole discretion, espouses or promotes a religious, secular or other worldview that is antithetical to New Testament principles, including but not limited to the promotion of a non-Christian religion or set of religious beliefs.

This would seem to ban, for example, a web site that used the Bible’s text to question whether human sacrifice and scapegoating are really moral precepts by which people should live their lives.

ABS is a non-denominational organization, so presumably you are allowed to set up sites that say Eucharistic wine is really magic human blood, and also that it isn’t.

The registry is the publisher of the “Good News” modern-English translation of the Bible, which ends with billions of people being cast into a lake of fire to burn for eternity.

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Comments (17)

  1. Richard Funden says:

    “Pointing to any content….”, so blasphemous domain names like the below are OK?

    all-lies.bible
    satans.bible
    etc.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Jews also not welcome, I would imagine.

      • That would certainly fall under:

        “the promotion of a non-Christian religion or set of religious beliefs”

        …with the exception of persons of Jewish background who have become Christians. That umbrella is commonly referred to by conservative American Protestants as “Messianic Jews”, exemplified by the group “Jews for Jesus” – the name of which confuses the heck out of people unfamiliar with US Christian culture in its entertaining variety.

        In a nutshell, one would expect exclusion of any group not professing the Nicene Creed, or a close approximation thereof, which essentially captures the broadest definition of “Christianity” tolerated by those American Protestants who delight in drawing boundaries deemed “orthodox”.

        I would expect anything short of professing a divine Christ and substitutional atonement for sin to be “disparaging” to the role of Jesus in that belief system.

        On the other hand, if you say those things and then go on to “Send me money and I’ll pray your diabetes away”, that’s probably fine.

        But no, Jews, with the exception of those Christians who call themselves such, are right out. The essential proposition of Christianity is that Jews don’t really understand Judaism – it was merely a launchpad for the Christian proposition that “nobody can really obey all those rules” but the good news is that nobody has to.

        • Kevin Murphy says:

          I mentioned the Jews only because as far as I know they’re the only other religion that has a “Bible”. Not usually called that, of course, but sometimes is.

  2. James says:

    When in human history has the Bible (or any religious texts) espoused free speech?

  3. Folks,

    A little perspective here from someone who is working closely with the American Bible Society to launch .BIBLE.

    As context, Epik.com is actually the first signatory of the .BIBLE RAA. We are also the first registrar to join the Pioneer Partner Program, which makes domains available at low cost, prior to Sunrise, to launch partners. I have personally met with the ABS team several times now and have had extensive dialog going back to November 2014.

    The word “BIBLE”, as operated by a Bible Society, is not some generic term. The ABS is a 200 year old organization that started out printing physical copies of the Bible. They are, and have always been, in the business of distributing Bibles. However, the next leap of progress, more than likely comes not from a printing press, but from ubiquitous access to the Internet where content can be distributed at little or no cost. So, logically, the ABS secured a registry, and they picked a great one for their purposes.

    As for the issue of acceptable use, the folks who come to a .BIBLE domain are expecting those content boundaries to be in place. The main audience is Christian organizations. In ABS’ defence, I have found them to be remarkably inclusive across “Christian” denominational lines. As such, I doubt they will be heavy-handed in their governance. As with with any website on the Internet, users will have to use discernment as to what to believe.

    Kudos to the ABS team for taking the initiative here and for getting this done in a quality way, governed by core values, first and foremost, rather than selling out. I wish them all the best with their launch.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I disagree on some of these points.

      The Bible does not belong to anyone.

      Let’s face it, it’s been out of copyright for a long, long time. 🙂

      ABS can’t claim ownership any more than Gutenberg could.

      The Bible is a cultural artifact that belongs to humanity.

      It belongs to me just as much as it belongs to you, or to ABS.

      I studied the Bible at University. I’ve always treated it with the same skepticism as I treat yesterday’s newspapers.

      I’m a potential user of .bible domains.

      I would *hope* to see some serious analysis of the book among the wish-thinking, cognitive dissonance, outright evil and institutional propaganda.

      Under ABS’s policies, it seems unlikely I will see that.

      • Kevin,

        First of all, as a Bible-believing Christian, I consider the Bible as the inspired Word of God. A few hundred years ago, most Americans would have agreed wholeheartedly with that statement. I realize that times have changed, but indeed the Bible prophetically predicts that this would happen prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. 🙂

        As for Bibles, the King James Version is actually in the public domain. See reference:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version#Copyright_status

        Most other modern translations are actually copyrighted. These publishers were able to secure and enforce copyrights because they are quasi-commentaries with original content. Personally I stick with the KJV. 🙂

        As for the .BIBLE TLD, I have a high degree of confidence that the ABS will be a responsible and balanced steward of that small piece of the Internet namespace. In the meantime, any other domain can use a BIBLE subdomain to their heart’s content, and can do so for free. In other words, on the Internet, free speech is alive and well — at least for the moment!

        • Kevin Murphy says:

          Your Thetan level appears to be dangerously high. Xenu will not be pleased. I suggest further auditing.

        • Richard Fubden says:

          Oh, a nutter…!
          I hate to break it to you, but God is made up. No such thing! So if you want to waste your life following a phantasy, don’t say I didn’t warn you…

          • Kevin Murphy says:

            Try harder than that mate!

          • @Richard –

            Before concluding that anyone who believes in God is a “nutter”, I suggest you spend some time deeply researching the history of evolutionary theory. There is a cheap (less than $10 on eBay) 1000 page primer on the topic called The Evolution Handbook by Vance Farrell. Alternatively, you can browse some free abstracts on the author’s site:

            http://evolutionfacts.com/Handbook%20TOC.htm

            To believe that there is not a creator/architect of the universe, you have to convince yourself that (1) the universe that you can set your watch to is the product of randomness and (2) the tremendous complexity of life, in all its forms, is the product of random iterations of chance, all of which originated from nothing, and yet has produced a universe of awe inspiring sophistication, precision, and variety.

            If there is a creator — and without a preconception, I concluded that there indeed is — then it seems like it would be a good idea to figure out what that creator had in mind. The great thing about the Internet is that it affords a large and growing part of humanity with the opportunity to search for truth. And if you have found your truth, and are comfortable with your conclusion and life choices, so be it.

            • Kevin Murphy says:

              He/she/it clearly hates us and wants us to spend our mostly short lives in horrible pain.

              Not an entity that deserves our worship, unless it’s through the fear of what it will do to you if you do not.

      • John Berryhill says:

        No, you aren’t going to see critical commentary on the bible in .bible. You are also not going to see any nominal Christian denomination which, as defined by the ABS is not “really” Christian, even if they say they are.

        For example, in their analysis of trends in Bible readership, the American Bible Society counts Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses as non-Christian:

        http://www.americanbible.org/uploads/content/state-of-the-bible-data-analysis-american-bible-society-2014.pdf

        “No faith/Other faith:
        Individuals who do not consider themselves Christian (including
        atheists, agnostics and other faiths); Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are also included, even if they describe themselves as Christian.”

        (See page 5)

        Since Mormons and JW’s are not recognized as “Christian” by the ABS, it might be helpful for the ABS to flesh out some categorical lists, such as whether Unitarians, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists (no, not Scientologists; the Mary Baker Eddy sort) and a variety of other groups with whom conservative American protestants with which the ABS is principally aligned tend to argue over “cult or not a cult?”

        The Mormons are particularly upset by the way the ABS has categorized them in the past, and their exclusion here should come as no surprise.

        What would have been much, much cooler would have been a dispute policy under which heresy trials could be conducted. I’ve been getting sort of bored with cybersquatting cases, and having outcomes like “burning at the stake” on the table would certainly make domain disputes much more interesting than whether or not a domain name is transferred.

  4. Barnie says:

    I think it was really foolish to allow this generic world to be used as a tld. No good will come of it, but realistically, since the likelihood of it and all other gtlds failing is so high, I won’t sweat over it.

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