The case against teaching the Bible in public schools
In response to Time Magazine’s new cover story “The Case for Teaching The Bible” by David Van Biema, I’d like to simply list a few of the stories and passages our children may be exposed to if the Bible is taught in Public Schools. In other words, let’s let the Bible speak for itself.
Not only will our children learn the beatitudes attributed to Jesus in Matthew, they’ll learn this one:
Psalms 137:8-9 O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed,
Happy is the one who repays you as you have served us!
Happy is the one who takes and dashes
Your little ones against the rock!
Our daughters will learn they are subjected to the boys in their class:
1 Corinthians 11:3 Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
Our daughters will learn that they next time they go to church, they should not speak:
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Let women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.
Our children will learn that if parents do not obey God, he will send wild animals to kill their children:
Deuteronomy 26:21-22 ” ‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.
They will learn the if parents do not obey God, he will cause them to eat the flesh of their children:
Deuteronomy 26:27-29 ” ‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.
Our sons will learn that they should be stoned to death for rebellion:
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
Our children will learn that if they mock their teachers, God may send bears to maul them:
2 Kings 2:23-24 Then [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
Our children will learn about all the genocides in the Bible sanctioned or commited by God including this one:
Genesis 6:17-23 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet. Every living thing that moved on the earth perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
(quite a great image for our children to meditate on, isn’t it?)
And finally, they’ll learn that the next time their parents go to church, they may not return if they lie to their leaders:
Acts 5:1-11 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” Peter said to her, “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Please note that this is a very small sample of what I consider to be the multitude of atrocities in the Bible.
While somewhat acknowledging in the article that the “Bible’s harmful as well as helpful uses must be addressed,” in his closing statement, David Van Biema writes:
And, oh yes, there should be one faith test. Faith in our country. Sure, there will be bumps along the way. But in the end, what is required in teaching about the Bible in our public schools is patriotism: a belief that we live in a nation that understands the wisdom of its Constitution clearly enough to allow the most important book in its history to remain vibrantly accessible for everyone.
Patriotism? I’m not as optimistic as this author. The issue I have with teaching the Bible is that it will depend greatly on the teacher how it’s portrayed. If the teacher is a religious conservative, these scriptures will be portrayed as the Word of God. If the children are of conservative Christian homes, they’ll simply accept this as God’s Word.
If this is a risk you’re willing to take, please support teaching the Bible to children in the public schools. If not, let’s start a blogging revolution against this concept.
– The de-Convert