Monday, March 12, 2007

The Bible: Georgia in the news again

From the Associated Press ("Ga. close to OKing Bible classes," The Associated Press, March 8, 2007):
Georgia is poised to introduce two literature classes on the Bible in public schools next year, a move some critics say would make the state the first to take an explicit stance endorsing — and funding — biblical teachings.

The Bible already is incorporated into some classes in Georgia and other states, but some critics say the board's move, which makes the Bible the classes' main text, treads into dangerous turf.
I say, cool! Anyone who actually reads the bible isn't going to come out believing a lot of that crap anyway. Learning the Bible properly is a critical component of understanding our culture and traditions, and why many of them are so goddamn ridiculous.

While many might be skeptical of teaching the Bible, it must be remembered that it doesn't need to be taught in a way to indoctrinate the youth to make fundamentalists happy. This might even backfire for religious fundamentalists. Fundamentalists depend largely on teaching their own interpretations of the Bible in churches, newsletters, party propaganda, and on TV. I'd really be quite surprised if fundamentalists actually wanted their congregations to read and understand the Bible. When they do the interpreting, it's easy to just ignore the really absurd passages like:
Deuteronomy 23:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Some may scoff at the degree to which religious fundamentalism is taught, but it really should be remembered that the Catholic Church depended on keeping scripture esoteric for centuries. Part of the reason the printing press was seen as so dangerous was because it actually made mass production of ideas, including religious ideas, viable. When scripture was translated from Latin to colloquial languages, scripture became accessible to the masses.

When students actually have to read the text of The Bible, or at least significant portions of it, they'll inevitably draw their own conclusions. Naturally, as happens when students actually are stimulated to think for themselves, the conclusions they'll draw about the Bible won't make some people very happy.

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