Sunday, March 18, 2007

American religions "education" revealed!

From Hell's Handmaiden I followed a link going to to this Wonkette article about LA Times article. So works the blogosphere. Someone needs to link me, next, and thus continue the cycle of life.

Anyway, it's about how even religious Americans know next to nothing about the Bible, even tho' many of us feel that it is the inerrant word of the Fairy in the Sky.

Some quotations! We love cherry-picked quotations, right? Right!

U.S. citizens know almost nothing about the Bible. Although most regard it as the word of God, few read it anymore. Even evangelicals from the Bible Belt seem more focused on loving Jesus than on learning what he had to say.

In the course of talking to people about writing Simon Peter, I have to say that this is largely the case, yeah. Even people who claim to be Christians know, at best, a few stock phrases out of the Bible, generally meant to "prove" a very specific point. My favorite being that the Bible isn't really anti-gay. I never get tired of hearing how the Bible isn't anti-gay, really. Let's ignore the part about murdering them.

Surveys that are more scientific have found that only one out of three U.S. citizens is able to name the four Gospels, and one out of 10 think that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. No wonder pollster George Gallup has concluded that the United States is "a nation of biblical illiterates."

The depths of ignorance astonish me. Most Christians can't name the Gospels (accepting that around 70% of the populaton is nominally Christian). The irony here is that many atheists are pretty well versed in the Bible. Go figure.

Then, of course, they swoop in for the kill. The Bible should be taught -- in a secular fashion -- in schools, and specifically the Bible.

Some have argued against Bible courses in public schools on the theory that they would unconstitutionally "establish" Judeo-Christianity. For Scripture courses to be lawful, this argument goes, teachers must give equal time to all the world's scriptures, treating the Bible as one scripture among many. But the Bible is of sufficient importance in Western civilization to merit its own course. Treating it no differently from, say, the Zend-Avesta of the Zoroastrians or Scientology's Dianetics makes no educational sense.

Which, if I had any confidence that such a course would factually be taught with the Bible as literature I'd be all about it. Indeed, I'm also thinking that it would be better to teach the Bible as sacred writ -- it's so bad, boring, nonsensical and altogether banal that it would drive people away from Christianity in droves. However, since it is Georgia that is pioneering a program to teach the Bible as literature as an elective . . . well, I think that we all know what's really gonna go on in those classrooms. It is a (transparent) attempt to establish religion which is still illegal.

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