Monday, March 26, 2007

Bible Class at a Public School Near Me

Interesting developments. I love the Time article, implying that "liberals" need to know their bible better if only to argue against conservatives more effectively. The idea used as an example:

HERE IS ONE OF PROTHERO'S FAVORITE stories of Bible ignorance. In 1995 a federal appeals court upheld the overturn of a death sentence in a Colorado kidnap-rape-murder case because jurors had inappropriately brought in extraneous material--Bibles--for an unsanctioned discussion of the Exodus verse "an eye for eye, tooth for tooth ... whoever ... kills a man shall be put to death." The Christian group Focus on the Family complained, "It is a sad day when the Bible is banned from the jury room." Who's most at fault here? The jurors, who perhaps hadn't noticed that in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus rejects the eye-for-an-eye rule, word for word, in favor of turning the other cheek? The Focus spokesman, who may well have known of Jesus' repudiation of the old law but chose to ignore it? Or any liberal who didn't know enough to bring it up?
This argument is even more nuanced than suggested. The "turn the other cheek" retort carried to its absurd end creates anarchy--no punishment for any crime is the often sophomoric reading of the New Testament. Jesus also said to "render to Caesar, what is due Caesar, render to God, God's", which implies that Jesus fully understood that there needed to be a law in the land and that it needed to be complied with, too. In fact, had Jesus been staunchly anti-war, anti-law enforcement, surely He would have mentioned that salient fact to the Roman Centurian, but he didn't. He also wouldn't announce his second coming with Trumpets alerting the world to war. He'd be dropping flower petals and singing Imagine.

The confusion suggests that the solution is Bible learning. People need more religious education. I've made the argument before that one can hardly be considered educated without a firm biblical understanding. Christians, especially need to get their noses in the Good Book. We can hardly share the "hope that lies within" if we don't the truth of God's word.

I'm all for this new development. Since kids aren't getting educated in church, they need to at least have an understanding of the Bible as literature.

1 comment:

carol said...

In 1985 I was shamed by an old professor of English, who was teaching a Shakespeare class. Of course Shakespeare is full of Biblical references, and the prof looked up and said he wondered if students even recognized those anymore. And that, yes, you're not educated if you don't know the Bible well.

Needless to say, I started reading the Bible soon after.