Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Old and New

Calling it an important part of Western culture, members of a House committee voted Monday to let schools teach the Old and New Testaments to students in public high schools.

Bill to bring Bible onto High School

I find this kind of interesting and thought I might comment on it.

It is certainly controversial. I am sure some will say something like, "How dare they teach the Bible in public schools! It smacks of establishing a religion and will open the door for those evangelicals to make more converts and send more kids to pray around the flag pole. What is going on with this legislature!"

But, here are some reasons to include a study of the Old and New Testaments:

- The legislature is correct. Without an understanding of the Bible, it is literally impossible to understand many literary references. It also has had an undeniable affect in western civilization, and is difficult to understand the foundational background of our laws, ethos and culture without an understanding of the Bible.

- It is perfectly acceptable to study the tenants of other religions, from the deep held beliefs of the ancient Greeks to the text of the Bhagavad Gita to the tenets of secular humanism. There is no reason to exclude a study of the Bible simply because it's existence makes some people unreasonably angry.

On the other hand

- It is already perfectly acceptable to study the Bible as literature, or as a foundational cultural reference or as a religion. Why does a law need to be passed to implement this? Diane (my lovely wife) attended an Arizona High School not that long ago, and she had a course on the Bible as Literature. Did something shift, besides the volume of the voices of some in the culture, that made it necessary to codify a whole new course? It seems to be a bit of someone feeling the need to make a law about something so they can say they did something. Election season is now!

And a personal bias

I am very much in favor of schools that are "Christian" in beliefs, teachings and practice. I go so far as to say that our public education system, and especially our university's, seem to work hard to indoctrinate the young people in our culture to reject Christian beliefs. So, if you are a parent that wants your kids to learn about the Bible, flee the public school system as quick as you can. Or else do what you can to teach your children what you believe is the truth. If you are otherwise, then disregard my opinion.

And here is a reasonable statement from the ACLU (and some of you find that hard to believe) about the Bible in Public Schools:
The Bible in Public Schools: a First Amendment Guide

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