Dec 21, 2005

Teaching Bible

Hat tip to today's NY Times op ed section:

Teaching the Bible in Public Schools is a great idea. As someone who studied it extensively in Graduate School, it tested my faith immensely. The Bible indeed is a misunderstood book in secular culture and perhaps an in-depth conversation and study on it is something that can forge much dialogue and understanding between people of different faiths.

However...there always seems to be a however doesn't there?

Do we honestly think that public school teachers are qualified to teach the bible in a critical and non-judgemental manner? How many will teach that the bible is pure bullshit and how many will teach it from a fundamentalist point of view? How do we guard against religious bias and misinterpretions by instructors?

It seems to me that we first of all need to point out that the Bible isn't a book but rather a library of books. We need to get experts in, for example, the Wisdom Literature to design a course in those books and Gospel experts to design a course for those books.

Instead we'll get a knee jerk reactionary course for high school students that give them a superficial knowledge of the bible and not one that critically engages it on a number of levels.

Most teachers can barely expound on the wisdom in a book like Huck Finn. Do we expect them to know all the symbolism in the bible off the bat without any instruction?

1 comment:

Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Yeah, the article itself causes me to wonder. The author doesn't seem to know a great deal about the Bible or the religious scene. King David a model of the separation of church and state?! That's reaching! And, did you notice that he lumped all Catholics into one "centrist-modernist" category?

Have a blessed Christmas!!


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