the Bible in
Between a Fundamentalist
First, it isn't legal to teach the Bible here in Georgia. We can't even put a sticker in our science books that says Evolution is a theory. The yahoos here think that a sticker will cause our school systems to lose the accreditation.
Second, the Bible is the most quoted book in history. If you havenít read it, you really canít say that you are literate. It makes no difference whether you are Christian, Jewish, or agnostic. If you donít understand the context of literature, it is highly unlikely that you will understand the literature itself. I imagine everyone of those students who are doing fine would be more prepared for college if they had studied the Bible.
I wouldn't go as far as to require teaching the Bible. But we are kidding ourselves if we say that it is possible to freely teach the Bible in schools. Maybe if the half-wits who ran Freddie and Fannie had read the business about not being able to serve two masters we could have avoided a major component in the housing crisis.
Teaching the Bible in a public classroom? Sounds like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams are all rolling in their graves about now. Yeah, I can see how the founding fathers would have suffered and struggled to create this country -- so that their children can go to school, and be told that their fathers are traitors, blasphemers, and heathens. Virtually all founding fathers, from Washington to Benjamin Franklin, opposed Christianity -- not only on religious grounds, but on moral, social, and cultural grounds. These founding fathers were good enough to make one of the earliest and biggest experiments in Republican government... but now you're telling me that they're not good enough to educate their children without some preacher shoving filth at them?
Ephesians, 6:5, New Testament, "Slaves, obey your earthly master, as you would obey the word of god." This contradicts the Constitution and the amendments that Americans have made to it -- namely, the abolishment of slavery. Naturally, there is a reason why the Bible is not taught in our schools: because its ideas are completely counter to the US Constitution!
I don't suffer fools gladly, and idiots even less well. Christian teaching says I should, but I really just don't. I truely wish that I were a better Christian.
The Bible isn't a collection of sound bytes. It is a guide on the way to live your life. Your quote : "so that their children can go to school, and be told that their fathers are traitors, blasphemers, and heathens." suggests to me that you think it is a guide on the way others should life their lives.
The next time, save your money and leave The Bible For Dummies in the bookstore. You might be able to trade it at a used bookstore for an American history book as well. I suggest Paul Johnson, but anything is probably a step up.
Greetings, and thank you so much for responding,
Actually, I have read the Bible, and this is what you would teach children if it was taught in schools...
slavery: (Exodus 21:2-6; Leviticus 25:44-46)
And if you doubt my interpretation of America's founding fathers...
Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, "What is it the Bible teaches us?--repine, cruelty, and murder. What is it the Testament teaches us?--to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith." ["The Age of Reason," by Thomas Paine, Part 2, Chapter 3.]
Ethan Allen, the American Revolutionary hero, wrote, "EVERY commentary and annotation on the Bible, implicitly declares its fallibility; for if the Scriptures remained genuine and entire, they would not stand in need of commentaries and expositions, but would shine in their infallible lustre and purity without them." ["Reason: The Only Oracle of Man," by Ethan Allen, Chapter 7, Section II.]
George Washington was a Deist. [Peter Lillback, George Washington's Sacred Fire (Providence Forum, 2006).]
Thomas Jefferson, another influential character in the American Revolution, was also a non-Christian Deist. He wrote on the absurdity of the Bible, "For example, in the book of Joshua, we are told, the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus, we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, etc. " ["Letter to Peter Carr," by Thomas Jefferson, 1787.]
Benjamin Franklin was another Deist, whose opinion on organized religion was "I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it." [Benjamin Franklin from "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion", Nov. 20, 1728]
John Adams is another name that comes to mind when you think of American Founding Fathers. But once again, you'll find a Rationalist and not a Christian. Quoting him, "As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" ["Letter to FA Van der Kamp," by John Adams, December 27, 1816]
Please, let me know if and why you would disagree.
Andy, I have no doubt that you have read the Bible. Probably more than I have but for what purpose. I imagine that you were beaten by nuns as a child when you missed your required work. But what else? Now you just come across as a guy who reads the Bible just so you can argue about it. What a waste.
One more time. The Bible isn't written for other people. It is written for you. It isn't for you to tell me or anyone else what it means. If you want such a job, go become a priest.
Instead of telling me how God loves to rape slave children, who are to be fed to crocadiles. Tell me how all of your reading has changed you. If it hasn't changed you, you have wasted your time.
Thanks, Brenton, for listening to some of my arguments. But, my point was never to disprove the Bible. I was only trying to say that there are reasonable objections to forcing all people to endure its teaching. After all, every sect has disagreements about which Bible to use, and some of them consider each others Bibles blasphemous. Which Bible are we to choose, when you know you can't even pick one that will satisfy the majority of Christians? The argument IS NOT my reaction to the Bible, but the social reaction to it. You seem to joke about god's ordering of rape. Do you think that's really what we should be teaching our children?
"After all, every sect has disagreements about which Bible to use, and some of them consider each others Bibles blasphemous. Which Bible are we to choose, when you know you can't even pick one that will satisfy the majority of Christians? " That is an excellent question. My daughter was declined admission to a Christian school because I wasn't Christian enough for them. The texts are different. The 10 Commandment are different. In my faith, it says Thou Shall Do Not Murder. Other faiths, it is Thou Shalt Not Kill. These aren't the same. They aren't even close. I have been to sermons where the preachers context for scripture was exactly opposite. I don't have a good solution.
The situation we have today isn't good either. While teaching the Bible is legal de-jure, it is illegal de-facto. School boards are terrified of being sued. I live in the heart of the Bible Belt, and our school board is too wussy to even put a label in the science books that Evolution is a theory.
Generally speaking I don't buy into extremes. I just wish that school boards had more courage, and made courses more available particularly for honors classes.
"While teaching the Bible is legal de-jure, it is illegal de-facto. School boards are terrified of being sued."
Actually, I was taught the Bible in my history class, and I considered pathetically useless a teaching tool. If the Bible was really taught, it would blow most Christians away. In the Hebrew Bible, the original one, for every two out of three uses of the word "God," it is actually "The Council of El, and the Subordinate Gods." The Hebrew word is Elohim, but every single Bible that has been taught in US public schools has been the debauched Bible. Not the Bible as it was written originally, but the Bible as Christians had plagiarized and rewritten it. If you taught the real Hebrew Bible, which talks about a flat earth (Isaiah) and claims that many gods created earth (Genesis), you'd certainly deconvert many Christians. Their response, much like mine, would be, "Wow, Christians who talk about the Bible don't even know that it believes in multiple gods? Sounds like they're as far from god as you could possibly get." But that's not taught -- instead, what is taught is this completely fictional account. The Bible, as it was written by Christians, is completely useless in a historical sense -- but when we look at the original language, it becomes meaningful. We don't look at the original language in classrooms, though, for a reason: because it completely debunks the absurd religion.
School boards are terrified of being sued? Hey, that's better than science teachers fearing arrest and prosecution, like John Scopes, for teaching science.
This "evolution is a theory" sticker also baffles me. According to the Bible, the falling of objects can be explained with an "intelligent falling theory," specifically talking about the Isaiah 40:22 reference to a disk earth. When you're teaching kids about Newton, why don't include a sticker? "According to Christians, Gravity is just a Theory!" Yes, it's a theory, but for scientists, it is a THEOREM, just like Evolution. 9.8 Meters Per Second Squared? Yeah, given various changes in elevation, that is the rate of acceleration of an object traveling in the direction of the earth: or, more specifically to the theorem of gravity, the earth and the object are accelerating towards each other. In biological evolution, similar theorems are used, in terms of analyzing carbon life, in genetics, in breeding, in organic chemistry. Not a THEORY, but THEOREMS; not an idea of how life came about, but definite and demonstrable rules that haven't been disproven yet about how life came about.
"School boards are terrified of being sued? Hey, that's better than science teachers fearing arrest and prosecution, like John Scopes, for teaching science." But it sounds like you are completely OK with teachers being fired for trying to teach Intelligent Design. We have come full circle where the educational structure defends Evolution as staunchly as TN defended Creationism. The only difference is that there is no Darrow to come to your defense. Now you get fired and have your career destroyed. But you are OK with that.
I will spare you a lengthy discussion of the impracticality of Evolution as a theory. Watch Expelled with Ben Stein. Ben's explanations are much funnier than mine - well other than the teachers whose lives have been ruined by a cabal of intellectual cowards.
As History teacher, you should understand the Bible's influence rather than looking to take quotes out of context. You are right that some of the founding fathers were deists, but they were smart enough to keep it largely to themselves. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." As part of any history course you are going to teach the difference between unalienable rights and legal rights. How do you do that without referencing the impact of the Bible on our Founding Fathers?
"I will spare you a lengthy discussion of the impracticality of Evolution as a theory. Watch Expelled with Ben Stein. Ben's explanations are much funnier than mine"
It seems odd that all types of species that live in deep, dark caves are blind; yet, they also have eyes with absolutely no use, and some even have eye sockets without eyes. Either they slowly evolved from other forms, and their existence is proof of the mid-way between two species. Or god has a very sick, twisted, and perverted view of designing animals!
"But it sounds like you are completely OK with teachers being fired for trying to teach Intelligent Design. We have come full circle where the educational structure defends Evolution as staunchly as TN defended Creationism. The only difference is that there is no Darrow to come to your defense. Now you get fired and have your career destroyed. But you are OK with that."
Absolutely. Public teachers don't exist as a religious service. They're there to serve all people, not just those of the Christian faith. To keep it fair, we'll have to present every single creation story in existence. And in my opinion, I think the theory of creation involving the Flying, Spaghetti Monster is the best. After all, more people on the globe believe a variety of the Hindu theories of creation. Why not present that first?
And what's wrong? You can't get people to come to your congregations when you're appealing to them with the word of god? You have to use the state to subsidize your religion, because you're failing anyway? I don't want a religious bailout here! Let it compete with the other religions on fair grounds -- that seems to be the only way to defeat it. Or at least, Christians seem to think so. What does that say about your estimation of your own religion?
"You are right that some of the founding fathers were deists, but they were smart enough to keep it largely to themselves."
The quotes I provided above definitely demonstrates that they did not keep it to themselves. Thomas Paine wasn't afraid of letting others know his opinion. From the first chapter (part 1) of "The Age of Reason," he wrote, "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." I'm with Paine on that!
"How do you do that without referencing the impact of the Bible on our Founding Fathers?"
What impact? They all seem completely disgusted with the history of Christians and those who follow the Bible. Yeah, Thomas Paine was clearly impacted by the horrors of the Bible, "In short, the matters contained in this chapter, as well as in many other parts of the Bible, are too horrid for humanity to read, or for decency to hear; for it appears, from the 35th verse of this chapter, that the number of women-children consigned to debauchery by the order of Moses was thirty-two thousand." (From part 2, chapter 1. He's talking about chapter 31 of Numbers.)
Andy, It is getting exhausting in here. Just get to the point.
"It seems odd that all types of species that live in deep, dark caves are blind; yet, they also have eyes with absolutely no use, and some even have eye sockets without eyes. Either they slowly evolved from other forms, and their existence is proof of the mid-way between two species. Or god has a very sick, twisted, and perverted view of designing animals!" Get to the point.
No I don't have time/courage to watch a 1.5 hour movie.
Your writing style is painful. I honestly quit reading after "Absolutely. Public teachers don't exist as a religious service." It is a faulty and banal reasoning to equate questioning Evolution with a religious service. It is actually pretty silly. This is where you lose the credibility to get me to read the rest of your longwinded essay. It just isn't worth the time.
Look, you read the Bible for the sole purpose of discrediting it. Good luck. I wish I had that kind of free time. You come here to argue. At this point, I regret feeding your hobby.
Now you get the last word. Please make it brief.
You haven't explained to me the moral lesson of god ordering the rape of 32,000 virgins. And I doubt you ever will.
Read it: [Numbers 31]