'Texas Public Schools Now Required To Teach The Bible'
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I know that I went to a private parochial catholic high school, and reading greek and roman mythology was part of our "required" summer reading list. We also were required to read many other diverse books like "The Once and Future King" and there were 2 Ayn Rand books "The Fountainhead" and "Anthem" (most people reading the latter, because my god, the fountainhead is huge).
When we read these books and discussed them in English class, we never started the conversation with "Now remember, King Arthur was really real, okay?" Instead we talked about the IDEAS presented in the books and what we thought the author meant. We were exposed to new ideas.
I would definately have a problem if public schools taught the bible as the truth and the LITERAL word of god, but I don't agree with people who say the bible has NO place in school. It is one of the most ancient pieces of literature that is readily available to the masses, and even if you don't believe the story of the good samaritan, there is still something to be learned from it.
Those who read my posts often know that I am a proud and militant atheist, and that I distrust religion in general, and christianity in particular. But I am more turned off by the idea that we won't allow children to be exposed to new ideas just because some teachers would take it as an excuse to proselytize. I have met many teachers in my time, many of them christians. Almost every single one I met was more concerned with being a teacher than a christian. I trust teachers to be able to teach the Bible as literature, and not history. It's not like it would be a dedicated 4 year class to bible study. It's just a few weeks of bible parables, with roman and greek mythology, maybe some ideas from the torah and the quran. Nothing wrong with that.
If someone said "We cannot let kids read Ayn Rand! They will become atheists!!" then I would get steamed. So I have to be fair and get steamed when people say "We cannot let kids read the bible, they will become Christians."
And I am the proof of that. Actually reading the bible (instead of just repeating it by rote in church) turned this born and raised catholic into a card carrying atheist. Wouldn't it be great if it did that for other kids too?
I had exposure to Baptist religion as child, went to Lutheran college with 9 hrs of mandatory religion study which was actually very interesting and ecumenical because of the man teaching two of the classes I took...but it did not make me more religious or church-going...
when I had children, they were in the G/T program in our district and both of them were taught English/history by woman who was VERY religious--used to play religious music in class--used to teach with religious pov--
there were students in her classes who were Hindu, Muslim, and frankly aetheist as well as rfrom various churches--even those did not always agree with how/what she taught--
it was almost impossible for the district to do anything about how she was teaching
she was a blight on my kids' education
and I know teachers, taught with them, who go to church each Sunday and never really prosletize in class about their personal religious choices--
so I know that most teachers aren't preaching to their students...
but there are some people lately who would like nothing better in public schools--because they want to force religion (protestant/evangelical form for the post part) into public schools...
The issue with teaching the Bible as literature is
1--this course was spearheaded into the curricula as a way to teach religion in another guise
2--there are no standards set that establish the course of study or the requirements for the person doing the teaching--unlike almost any other elective that a school can offer
3--it seems designed to be a flash point for controversy---
4--the Bible IS already taught as literature in almost every grade in jr hi and high school--depending on the specific curriculum choices the district supports
When did most folks stop worshipping/believing in Zeus? What ever the answer to that is, apply it to the God of the Bible(example:if it was 3,000 years ago that Zeus became religiously/politically viable, we wait until 3,000 years pass after the death of Christianity), and then we can start teaching it in school, as we do, other mythologies...sounds good to me!
Schools DO NOT teach Greek mythology because it is important part of Greek history--
students learn about Greek/Roman mythology because of the LITERATURE that has been written that incorporated the myths/legends of that mythology from classical literature of the Greek era up to the modern day...
There is NOTHING really historically that accurate about Greek myths or Roman myths--
MYTH means something that is NOT HISTORICALLY accurate--
and the Bible in large content is myth as well...and it is myth presented through several different interpretations, languages, ethnic perceptions--
although many, many conservative Christians refuse to admit that point...
they consider the Bible version they use is literal historical truth--and the word of God at the same time...
that is just not accurate perception--
many of those people including their ministers have no historical understanding of how the Bible was created/adapted/transformed based on the culture doing the interpretation/assessment...
that mindset is similar to the ones that gave us the Salem Witch Trials, the Inquisition, slavery of Native Americans and Africans (not just in America either), the Crusades, the Bosnian War, genocide of Aborigines in Australia and New Zealand...
Teaching the Bible as literature is totally different than teaching the Bible as history (which is almost impossible since the Bible is not historically correct document) or as a religious/philosophical text--which belongs outside of public education...
I have degree in English, know that many writers in the Judeo-Christian body of works have used Biblical myth (old/new Testament) in their work--and to understand the work you have to understand the allusions made...
the Bible has beautiful imagery, poetic language, strong stories of human society -- but it is not accurate piece of historical information
Um, I said it was apart of Greek history, not that the myths in themselves told history. During Greece's heyday, that is what they believed and it was an important part of their culture. The Bible is an important part of U.S. history, not because it tells our history, but because it was used in our history. I'm sure an English major and someone who loves 2 read can understand that. I also learned about Greek mythology in social studies, not just English or language arts.
I have always taken the time to teach religion in my public classroom. This is not new. Abraham was the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I teach the tenants of Christianity and the ten commandments. The old testament and the new. I also teach students the fundamental principals of Islam and the five pillars of Islam. In addition I teach students some of the hindu religion contained in the vedas. We learn about Comfucianism and its moral teachings and spread east. We spend some time investigating taoism and shinto as well. The objective being comparative discourse on religion and its impact on human history, not "i believe in this faith, therefore you must accept and believe in the same."
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