Time Article states Bible should be taught in school

MattShizzle
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Time Article states Bible should be taught in school

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1601845,00.html

Do you really think Christians are going to teach it as just a book of stories? I'm thinking about writing them a letter and telling them it's just a "backdoor" for fundies, like Intelligent Design instead of Creationism, and that there are those of us who consider the Bible primitive mythology which has done more harm than good historically. Just thinking how to word it. Anyone wants to write do it here:

 

 letters@time.com

 

and you have to include your address and a number they can reach you by the way.

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I think it would be a

I think it would be a horrible idea to start teaching the Bible in public schools. This would simply be an easy way for Christian Fundamentalists to once again force their beliefs on the rest of us - as "Intelligent Design" was a backdoor for creationism that our courts and voters wisely rejected. If someone really wants to read the Bible or learn about it it's very easy to purchase one (and plenty of religious people giving them away free!) There are plenty of books about it and religious programs on television, the radio, etc. It's actually difficult in the United States to avoid biblical messages! Remember, there are a substantial number of Americans who consider the Bible to be primitive mythology that has historically done more harm than good.(full name, address and phone deleted for the forum.

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Interesting!  I did like

Interesting!  I did like the comment from the girl stating she wanted to learn more so that she could argue against christianity from an educated standpoint...then again, there are other forums (such as this one) where she can find the same information.  I have to agree that this seems like another tactic by xian fundies to  slither under a door that has been closed to them.  There are other ways to provide this information instead of using funds that would be better spent on other subjects.

Their argument centers around the bible being the most influential book in history but if the numbers quoted in the article are accurate ("only half of U.S. adults know the title of even one Gospel&quotEye-wink, the bible doesn't seem to be as influential as they think. 


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I think this could

I think this could potentially be dangerous.  I'd really like to get my hands on the 'textbook' that's supposed to go along with the bible and see if there is a slant to any of it.  I suppose as long as the class doesn't become mandatory and states don't start passing laws forcing schools to offer the class is might not be too bad.  The one atheist girl was pretty much on target and I suppose the class would be good in that aspect. 

If god takes life he's an indian giver


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For some reason right now

For some reason right now their mail is full and any e mail is returned.


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Actually this could be a

Actually this could be a good thing IF they stick to the way of teaching that was mentioned in the article. If it's going to be about actually learning the Bible instead of teaching indoctrination then it could, in reality, turn more people towards being atheist. The reason I'm an atheist today is because of studying the Bible and learning what it really said as opposed to blindly going by what I heard from my pastor each Sunday. While I doubt that this will happen, imagine the impact that it could have if an atheist were to teach one of these Bible classes in schools. It could open a lot more minds and get these kids to think logically about their beliefs before they become hardcore fundies.

 

On the other hand if this is going to be done I say why stop with the Bible? Why not go ahead and get a class on the Qur'an in schools as well? While we're at it let's also throw in the Tao-te-ching, the Analects, the Talmud, the Upanishdas and the Veda too. Hell, let's go ahead and transform our schools from a place of learning science and math to learning philosophy all day long. Let's get them learning about the words of Jesus for an hour followed by Zeus the next.


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I hate to sound paranoid,

I hate to sound paranoid, but I feel once this class is instituted that it will slowly change until it is indoctrination.  All you need is one clever and overzealous teacher to warp the idea of the class. 

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pariahjane wrote: I hate to

pariahjane wrote:
I hate to sound paranoid, but I feel once this class is instituted that it will slowly change until it is indoctrination. All you need is one clever and overzealous teacher to warp the idea of the class.

 

I agree, it would eventually happen. There are way too many nut jobs out there who would cream their pants at a chance to teach the Bible in a public school and "save" the class. The only way to really go about it would be to have it taught by a skeptic, however it would still be biased. Like Communism this is a great idea on paper but I don't think it will work in reality. It's best to keep Bible education where it belongs, in Church.


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The whole debate can be

The whole debate can be summarized by a single question within the article: "A BASIC QUESTION: WHY TEACH THE BIBLE and not comparative religion?"

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1601845-3,00.html

That exact question was throbbing in my mind as I read the whole article, but it was never answered. It sounds like the textbook is basically a pro-Bible tool used to further the agenda of the Church:

 "Joe Conn and Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have expressed a concern about how teachers willing to give the Bible secular treatment would be found, particularly in states where vast majorities are evangelical. They note that Stetson's history sections are almost exclusively positive. "A textbook should offer objective study about both the positive and negative uses of the Bible," Conn writes. "Where is the analysis of the role of the Bible in the Inquisition or the Salem witch trials?" They specifically question the tone of a final section, "Freedom and Faith in America," which omits the high court's school-secularization rulings and ends on a truly odd note: a Chinese social scientist attributing the "pre-eminence of the West" to the fact that the "heart of your culture is ... your Christianity.""

If they want to teach a class about religion, it needs to be taught comparatively and from a historical basis. A book like "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam" by Karen Armstrong seems like an appropriate textbook for such a class.

http://www.amazon.com/History-God-000-Year-Judaism-Christianity/dp/0345384563

 But we all know that's not the kind of "Bible-class" they are looking to teach.


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My big question would be

My big question would be whether they would teach the BAD things in the Bible? We all know that, but others don't.

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The more I view the

The more I view the typical school curriculum the more convinced I become that free thought and self reliance have absolutely no value in the American educational system.  I'd like to think that the bible could be taught as robbing humans of this.......but it won't be.

Whoever decides to respond, don't forget to mention these: 

Quote:

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."

- Abraham Lincoln, American president

-----------------------------------------

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies."

Ben Franklin

-------------------------------------------

"In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."


"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."

James Madison - American President

---------------------------------------------

"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose. " – Thomas Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt, 1813

"The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity." –Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782.

"Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies."

Thomas Jefferson - American President

---------------------------------------------

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind." From - The Age of Reason

"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. "

Thomas Paine - true American founder

-----------------------------------------------

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

"This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."

James Madison - American President

-----------------------------------------------

"It (the Bible) is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies."

Mark Twain - Writer

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


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If they decide to teach the

If they decide to teach the Bible as a book of stories, they should also teach the Quran and a few other religious books as stories, too! Check Daniel Dennett's videos on youtube on that matter, he's got a great idea.


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Religion is a natural

Religion is a natural phenonemon which should be studied to inform our understanding of our own species ... Learning to comprehend the texts of religious traditions would only enhance our ability to rigorously study belief systems, esp. as they relate to socio-historical and contemporary social issues.

I went to a rigidly secular, libertarian secondary school and we studied the Bible because it is vitally important when looking at Western Civilization and American History ... I was lucky because my teachers tried to keep everyone engaged pedagogically, but also tried their best to remain objective ... the way we are pretty much totally objective when looking at Greek mythology for example.

I think we're all on the same page here - I'd just add, thought, that the Bible does get taught in many classrooms in this country, even in public schools ... You'd be surprise ...

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MattShizzle wrote: My big

MattShizzle wrote:
My big question would be whether they would teach the BAD things in the Bible? We all know that, but others don't.

Wasn't there a story of some gal that couldn't have children so her husband got one of the slaves pregnant?  Then, if the wife holds the slave in her lap while she gives birth, the baby belongs to the wife.

Would they teach THAT in school? 

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pariahjane wrote: I hate to

pariahjane wrote:
I hate to sound paranoid, but I feel once this class is instituted that it will slowly change until it is indoctrination. All you need is one clever and overzealous teacher to warp the idea of the class.

I think Dawkins wanted the bible taught in schools, along with other religions as a way to learn what religion is about.  I believe I read something along those lines in The God Delusion.  Hmmm...can't remember.  Maybe it's time to read the book again. Smiling

With the US the way it is now, I have to admit to feeling a tad nervous about allowing any Christian content into the classroom.  Like you said: there are too many nutbars out there.  They'd really throw a fit if facts about the bible were taught.  They throw a fit now about evolution.  As a result, our populace is completely uneducated on the topic.

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If the class is Bible-only,

If the class is Bible-only, it will turn into an indoctrination session, especially in the red parts of the country. Comparative religion is much better since it puts christianity in its proper perspective: just one religious viewpoint among many. Which is rather damaging to its claim to be the one true word.

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AnointedHeathen

AnointedHeathen wrote:
Actually this could be a good thing IF they stick to the way of teaching that was mentioned in the article. If it's going to be about actually learning the Bible instead of teaching indoctrination then it could, in reality, turn more people towards being atheist. The reason I'm an atheist today is because of studying the Bible and learning what it really said as opposed to blindly going by what I heard from my pastor each Sunday. While I doubt that this will happen, imagine the impact that it could have if an atheist were to teach one of these Bible classes in schools. It could open a lot more minds and get these kids to think logically about their beliefs before they become hardcore fundies.


I went to a catholic school. Due to being catholic they were allowed to force religion classes on us as they did from years 7-10. Years 8-10 we had a Jesuit Priest who was brilliant. He actually taught it as a class on religion. He gave us lessons from a point of view that encouraged us to learn and think critically not only about our own religion, but all religions out there. He taught us about them, the differences, the flaws, the good things, their histories etc. He was great. In fact, it was his encouragement of critical thinking in this arena that first made me start thinking critically on my own religion and eventually in year 10 to deny it. All this thanks to a jesuit priest!

For one semester in year 10, the headmaster of the school decided out of the blue he wanted to do more teaching and took over the class. It turned from an analysis of religion in general, to Sunday school. We still covered the topics in the syllabus but the style of teaching changed greatly. There was a notable difference in the attitudes of the rest of the kids in the class. No more questions and all answers had a pause while they thought "correct answer or the answer he wants?".


The point I'm getting to is that whether it starts off well or not, it will depend greatly on the teacher themself. Those in the bible belt will get what they've wanted for years and those who want to teach it properly as my jesuit priest teacher did will get criticised because in America it's more dangerous to be Atheist or teach Atheisticly than it is to in any other form of a minority. Having it taught properly will be a very rare thing indeed no matter how the syllabus is laid out.

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In grade school, holiday

In grade school, holiday activities included the usual innocuous tree/Santa/wreath motifs, but they also included making a paper dreidel with Hebrew characters and learning the song that goes with it. Looking back, that was pretty cool stuff for an underfunded public school in Los Angeles.
I'm all for comparative religion in school. The influence is impossible to deny, but if we're to bring up, we must also bring it out into the open. Teaching the bible exclusively, whether as a historical curiousity or more likely as shadow indoctrination, would be an unconscionable waste of public funding and time.
If you think about it, the people who want to see religion in school would probably (if they're not lazy hypocrites -- which isn't an easily dismissed possibility) probably already attend church, and have already indoctrinated their children. Why then would they need additional religious activities in public schools? As a method of conversion. Remember, lotsa Christians still think every knee will bow.


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I don't know if this is the

I don't know if this is the sort of thing that middle or high-school teachers should be handling.  This seems more the realm of the Collegiate level literature classes which delve into the literature of certain cultures to show their impacts on modern literature and culture.  At least in my schools High-school Lit. was the place to learn the different styles of writing and gain advanced comprehension skills.

I personally will be happily reading the bible to my children (of course until I think their old enough for some of that smut, it's staying on the top shelves).  If I'm going to be reading fairy tales and myths from other cultures, why not read them the big fairy tails from ours? 

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