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Should the Bible be a part of the public-school curriculum?

In this week's cover story Time magazine says yes.


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Comments (41)

Yikes... I woulda lost a be... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Yikes... I woulda lost a bet.

Egad.... (Below threshold)

Egad.

I notice that they have a c... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

I notice that they have a caveat, "(But very, very carefully)". At Time, that probably means that they would prefer courses on the bible written by Dan Brown and James Cameron.

The fact is, it makes to te... (Below threshold)
Oxen:

The fact is, it makes to teach certain passages or parts for their literary value and the frequency with which allusions are made to the bible in literature.

In particular, it would probably be enough to teach some or all of Genesis, Exodus, Job, Mark, and possibly Revelation. And do so in a way that was aimed at giving people the knowledge background necessary for understanding the literature that's in the curriculum.

It wouldn't even have to be taught seperately, but could be brought in while the other literature in question was being studied.

This happens now, and doesn't require any changes as far as I know.

Undercover effort to force ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Undercover effort to force the teaching of the Koran in public schools. Never trust anyone connected with the media. They would sacrafice their own children to satisfy their inflated ego's.

Even as historical document... (Below threshold)

Even as historical documentation, why not the Torah. Certainly the Koran can't be left out either.

If we're trying to be inclu... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

If we're trying to be inclusive for value contributed to literature, I'd say Hindi and Buddhist texts would be of more value than the Koran.

We read bits of the KJV Bib... (Below threshold)
meep:

We read bits of the KJV Bible in high school -- it had a huge literary (and historical) impact in Western Civ, so of course it was important to be included.

However, it cracked me up that I, a Catholic who supposedly doesn't read the Bible, kept getting the Biblical allusions in our American lit class in high school, whereas my Protestant classmates didn't get it beyond the most obvious references. (Bathsheba? Who's that?)

So many questions don't hav... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

So many questions don't have a correct answer when the premises are flawed.

Get the government out of the business of running schools and allow the free market and individual parents decide what should/should not be taught in schools. Which religions should have their holy books taught isn't a question that government should answer.

Doesn't anybody think that ... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Doesn't anybody think that it's a dangerous idea for Americans to actually learn what's in the Bible rather than accepting what they are told is there.

An observation on the Bible from former NBA player John Amaechi:

"It also forbids eating shellfish. If being gay is as bad as going to Red Lobster, I'm not really worried about it."

Why aren't the people who protest against gay rights also picketing the local fish markets?

What they really meant to u... (Below threshold)
epador:

What they really meant to use was a picture of:

The Bible For Dummies

If you're only looking at i... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

If you're only looking at it for literary purposes, teach it in college, not in public school.

If this were any other holy book, no one would be particularly excited about the idea.

"If this were any other hol... (Below threshold)

"If this were any other holy book, no one would be particularly excited about the idea."

Of course not, since they're already teaching the other ones in our schools. At least they were in my public school many moons ago. I don't recall cracking the Bible until college, though, at least in school.

If this were any o... (Below threshold)
Bo:
If this were any other holy book, no one would be particularly excited about the idea.

You would be correct, Heralder, but only if you extend the idea to cover that if it were any other holy book no one would be particularly appalled at the idea. The Bible is the only book of its type that is fair game to be openly assaulted and ridiculed.

My own observation: the Bible should absolutely NOT be taught or studied in school, strictly because I don't want a government employee to be able to offer the "official" explanation/interpretation of the Bible to my kids, when they can't even get the Constitution right.

Falze,Of ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Falze,

Of course not, since they're already teaching the other ones in our schools.

I am honestly unaware of that happening. Has it been in the news?


Bo,

You would be correct, Heralder, but only if you extend the idea to cover that if it were any other holy book no one would be particularly appalled at the idea. The Bible is the only book of its type that is fair game to be openly assaulted and ridiculed.

I disgaree. Most would not like the idea of the Koran or Torah being taught is schools.

As far as fair game, in a way you're right. I'm not Christian (agnostic more like) but in my opinion it seems that Christians are doing something right if no one fears for their life for insulting their faith...or get's labeled as racist or anti-semetic.

Why aren't the peo... (Below threshold)
Why aren't the people who protest against gay rights also picketing the local fish markets?

Because the O.T. dietary laws were rescinded in the N.T. (Acts 10:9-16) while the prohibition of homosexual acts was not (1 Cor. 6:9).

Even as historical... (Below threshold)
Even as historical documentation, why not the Torah. Certainly the Koran can't be left out either.

Historically, the Koran hasn't played any significant part in shaping or influencing American culture. But to understand Western Civilization, American history, and untold numbers of literary and philosophical references, you really need to have at least a passing familiarity with the Bible, particularly the King James Version.

This is less so with the Torah. And you can spend your entire life as an American without reading the Koran and not miss a thing. Of course, maybe that's not so true anymore...

In the public school here i... (Below threshold)
Denise:

In the public school here in Louisiana, Bible is an elective already.

Are they thinking it should... (Below threshold)
wavemaker:

Are they thinking it should be taught as fiction or history?

So many questions ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:
So many questions don't have a correct answer when the premises are flawed.

Get the government out of the business of running schools and allow the free market and individual parents decide what should/should not be taught in schools.

Amen _Mike_.

A teaching of the Bible's i... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

A teaching of the Bible's impact on history I could go with. A teaching of the Bible as history I would be whole heartedly against.

Why aren't the people wh... (Below threshold)
fea nicks:

Why aren't the people who protest against gay rights also picketing the local fish markets?


Because the O.T. dietary laws were rescinded in the N.T. (Acts 10:9-16) while the prohibition of homosexual acts was not (1 Cor. 6:9).
Posted by: OregonMuse

Yes, Oregon, Paul was an antediluvian bigot as were the writers of the O.T., quite in contrast to Jesus who failed to mention anything on the subject

Faith -- why not use it as ... (Below threshold)
wavemaker:

Faith -- why not use it as an example of folk history?

How curious that Bible</... (Below threshold)
fea nicks:

How curious that Bible electives are offered in states like Texas, Georgia and Louisiana! That speaks volumes in itself. Can Mississippi & Alabama be far behind?

If the Bible is to be offered for study it should only be offered as part of a class that studies such literary pieces like the Cyclops or The Iliad & The Odyssey and other such works of mythology.

Absolutely we should. Espe... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

Absolutely we should. Especially if all the multiculturalists persist in cramming Koran's down our kid's throats.

My kid will be attending Catholic school where she won't have to put up with the idiocy. She'll get a classical education in the humanities which historically included studying Christianity, since it is the bedrock of our entire culture.

And she will have to go through life, dodging the miserable fools who have no clue why we are here, and what made the country what it is. What a happy future for the state school children.

Ack! Absolutely not!<... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Ack! Absolutely not!

Religion is a private matter. Moreover, I don't want some progressive teacher who doesn't know Peter from Paul or John teaching my child.

Agreeed Peter F. W... (Below threshold)
crazylibs:

Agreeed Peter F.

Whether it is the Bible, the Koran or the Book of the the Dead. This is something for parents, not schools, to address with their children.

"...I don't want a gover... (Below threshold)

"...I don't want a government employee to be able to offer the "official" explanation/interpretation of the Bible to my kids, when they can't even get the Constitution right."

BINGO!!

When I was in HS, I took a ... (Below threshold)
blackcat77:

When I was in HS, I took a comparitive theology class which was very interesting *and* informative. I'd love to see a class like that where all beliefs were treated equally so people could gain some perspective about the forces which are driving so many conflicts around the world.

Also, I'd like to see a lit class which deals with the material in the various holy books of the world. Clearly it's some of the moat influential literature around and so it deserves an objective discussion.

However, in today's politically-charged environment, I don't think either would be possible. The radicals on one side would be screaming to keep *all* religion out of schools while on the other side, they'd be screaming about leading kids astray with "false gods."

As a result, probably the best thing to do would be to keep religion out of the public schools entirely. The spiritual upbringing of children is one of the greatest responsibilities of parents and I'd hate to see it passed off to a bunch of civil servants.

I don't see any problem tea... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I don't see any problem teaching the Bible in school for cultural literacy. But it would be wrong----and unconstitutional----to promote religion in publicly funded schools.

Richard Dawkins, an atheist, thinks that children should be taught about Christianity...and other religions. Makes sense to me...

The downside of this idea i... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

The downside of this idea is that teacher may end up actually PROMOTING (their) religion rather than teaching ABOUT religion.

bo said: "I don't want a go... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

bo said: "I don't want a government employee to be able to offer the "official" explanation/interpretation of the Bible to my kids, when they can't even get the Constitution right."


So true. Even most churces get it wrong. When the menage a trois in the Garden is taught as stealing "fruit" from an actual tree, the rest of the book doesn't quite make sense. Ex: Why was Cain born a murderer? The whole "bad seed" thing. Sticky wicket, that!


Oregon Muse: "O.T. dietary laws were rescinded in the N.T. (Acts 10:9-16)"

Are you referring to Saul/Paul's vision of the scroll with all the animals, which God commanded "Kill and eat"? Actually, that's his marching orders to minister to the Gentiles. God never rescinds any precept. The prohibition is not a mortal sin, only a dietary law against eating scavengers. They tend to make one less healthy. Eaters of rotten flesh is NOT good eats!

fn, with you on Saul and So... (Below threshold)
kim:

fn, with you on Saul and Son; phobic et mute.
============================

We're all cousins, and beas... (Below threshold)
kim:

We're all cousins, and beasts with two backs.
===========================

"....and other such works o... (Below threshold)
wavemaker:

"....and other such works of mythology."

Gee whiz, that's a little harsh. Even atheist scholars grant that there is some historical truth to some of the Bible.

fea nicks writes:<blo... (Below threshold)
OregonMuse:

fea nicks writes:

Yes, Oregon, Paul was an antediluvian bigot as were the writers of the O.T., quite in contrast to Jesus who failed to mention anything on the subject

Jesus also never mentioned anything on the subjects of cannibalism or incest, does that make those practices ok, too?

more from fea nicks:<... (Below threshold)

more from fea nicks:

How curious that Bible electives are offered in states like Texas, Georgia and Louisiana!

Yes, ir's probably George Bush's fault. Damn that man! Also Karl Rove. When they're not busy causing global warming, of course. Is there no end to their evil?

why not teach the bible as ... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

why not teach the bible as part of a world religions course? sounds good to me.

there are some pretty interesting and wise things in the OT and NT, just as there are some pretty interesting things in the Tao te Ching, the Koran, and the Vedas, among other things.

religion is a pretty fascinating subject. all societies have their systems for explaining the world, and for laying down social rules. good stuff to learn.

but it all depends on what kind of kids we want to create. do we want them to know about themselves and the rest of humanity? or do we just teach them about the "west"?

There's a big difference between teaching kids about religion and preaching to them, by the way.

I've thought for awhile, ry... (Below threshold)
kim:

I've thought for awhile, ryan a, that public spirituality will one day be Confucian in form, private spirirtualiy will resemble Buddhism, holydays will be on a Hindu model, and the cults of Abraham will be marginalized as too violent.
==========================

kim,interesting id... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

kim,

interesting idea there. i kinda hope that people might someday want to read about all of the world's relgions and philosophical ideas...so that they might begin to see that humans have certain commonalities in creating and explaining societies.

now, im not one who goes around saying that all religions are telling the same story (like joseph campbell did in a sense), im saying that it's pretty cool to see how societies have been formed throughout history and across the world. yes, the ideas differ, but the intentions are similar.

i am not familiar with the hindu model of holidays (holy-days). how do they differ?

last thought: it has always seemed to me that jesus and the buddha must have hung around in the same philosophical clubs at some point. in many cases, they sound very similar.

I have heard that Jesus tra... (Below threshold)
kim:

I have heard that Jesus traveled to India. He may well have heard of Asoka, even if he hadn't.

Festivals in Hind regale of Carneval.
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