Monday, August 17, 2009

Teach the Bible? Of course.

There was an interesting article by William R. Mattox Jr. that appeared in USA Today called "Teach the Bible? Of course." which called for "wine and bread summit" between the Obama administration and those people that guide public school curriculum. My first thought when seeing the headline was, "evolution versus creationism debate." However, the article had a greater scope. Literary scholars lamented their student's inability to understand giants such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Poe because they were not biblically literate. Likewise, public school history teachers are limited in their attempts to educate students about important historical events and implications due to a restriction to discuss religion. But, discussion of religious movements and motivations can definitely help. In fact, if there is not a firm understanding of the Bible and its impacts it could serve as a major disadvantage. Other fields in which biblical literacy is important include art and music.

Mark and I ran into a similar question when beginning the Economics and Compassion course. Early on in America churches were the primary vehicle for social welfare expenditures. In order to accurately depict our history and understand future possibilities we found it necessary to discuss this history and some current organizations that are doing good work. I believe we walked that fine line between offering a historical background that included Christianity without indoctrination, which is certainly the concern amongst the non-religious or other religions that wonder how well this can be done.

That also leads me to another point since we have stopped at that line. Mark and I would like to go further with the class than we are currently able. So, we have entered discussion about a possible "Wise as Serpents Forum" which is similar in many ways to the Economics and Compassion class, but, which allows us to more freely incorporate our faith. Keep on the look out for the time and place of those forums.

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