Thursday, September 27, 2007

Should the Bible Be Taught as Literature in Public Schools?

I attended church as a child and well into my youth, but I was not raised in an overtly religious family. I never saw my father pray. He never attended church with my mother, my sister, and I unless it was for our baptisms or our weddings. When I was in church I ate up the wonderful stories such as Ruth and Boaz, the Christmas story, and King David. I loved to sing songs such as Deep and Wide and Bringing in the Sheaves.

However, I learned more about the Bible and its effects on society through a high school course that was mandated for graduation. I did attend a private school, but it was not a Christian school. The high school campus I attended each day housed students from every Atlanta suburb and from all over the world. This means there were students in my Bible class that were very familiar with the Bible and others that had never picked one up in their lives.

The class was taught by the school’s chaplain, however, there was no preaching going on in the class. We learned the history behind the stories, we learned the significance of the symbolism the writers used such as the numbers that repeat in the Bible, we learned about the culture of the people that lived in the Holy Land during the times the bible was written , and we learned how the Bible was put together.

As an eleventh grader being introduced to British and American Literature I was amazed how many of the phrases and stories told in literature have a direct root in the language and stories of the Bible. The course is key to assist students in discovering the where and the why behind many of our familiar sayings that pepper literature.

Perhaps your own school system has had or will have a debate soon on adding a Bible Literature course to your child’s curriculum. I strongly advise that such a move be supported.

A Time Magazine article from April, 2007 presents a great case.

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