I am writing in response to the letter by Stephanie Dye titled "Keep Bible Out" Sunday, March 13, 2005. Although I disagree with the position offered in her letter, I nonetheless support her right to hold it and express it.
There are several areas where Dye is in factual error, and I would like to address those.
The first error is that Dye suggests this class will be mandatory. In fact, only students who desire to take the class will do so. It is not a requirement but an elective offered to students interested in understanding the Bible as literature in the history of human culture.
Secondly, it is an error to assume the scientific community is monolithic in its opinion regarding the study of origins. To posit that Southerners (of which I am a proud one) and those who hold to some form of creationism are less than intelligent, is uninformed at best and ignorant of the facts at worst. The scientific community is going through a revolution of sorts as it relates to the study of the origins. As recently as January 2004, Anthony Flew, a world-class philosopher and prominent atheist, embraced theism-intelligent design. Flew said that he has reversed his position on origins because "he simply had to go where the evidence leads."
Furthermore, committed naturalists/evolutionists have yet to rebut successfully Dr. Dembski's argument put forth in his book "The Design Inference." To try and summarize Dr. Dembski's position in the space allowed is impossible. A poor summary would be that intelligent design is attempting to demonstrate a real solution to problems based on what we know about design, not what we don't know about natural explanations.
Einstein's remark that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible is certainly a telling criticism of naturalism. Order in the universe must come from outside the universe or from within. But science tells us today that the only allowable answer is that it comes from within. Nature becomes the do all and end all thus, investing the world with a significance it does not deserve (William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999, p.101).
Intelligent Design or some form of creation theory offers a real solution to the question of origins instead of the naturalist position, which states in effect that nothing plus no one plus chance equals all that there is. Dye's contention that she does not want her child immersed in dogma is ironic at this point.
Dye says the founding fathers put the phrase "separation of church and state" in the Constitution. The phrase "the separation of church and state" is found nowhere in the Constitution. Rather this phrase is found in a private letter between then-President Thomas Jefferson and the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association. Jefferson was writing to these Baptists (the historic Baptist position holds that there should be no governmental interference in religious affairs) to assure them that they need not fear the establishment of state religion. The historical context is clear, irrespective of case law, that the separation of church and state seeks to protect the church from state interference and not to keep the church out of the state (cf. Patrick Henry Reardon, Free Press & Pulpit, Touchstone, November 2004).
The role of the Bible in the founding of our nation was pivotal. Numerous scholars hold that this role should be a part of any historical inquiry into our nation's beginnings.
Even Justice Clark in the Schempp (1963) decision wrote that a study of the Bible in its historical role would be appropriate in public schools.
It is a mistaken notion that this is a Euzoa Bible Church-driven effort. The desire to see the Bible taught as literature crosses denominational lines and is supported by people who have no church affiliation.
Finally, Dye errs when she suggests the Bible teaches the subordination of women and treats women as an after-thought. One amazing thing about the Bible is that "it tells it like it was." The Biblical writers did not try to hide the problems of their day. They accurately reported the prejudices and mistakes that were common. But I wonder whether Dye has missed the passion of the Song of Solomon, and the deep, intimate and romantic poetry that Solomon writes of his Beloved. I also would like to mention the elevated view of women that Jesus possessed that was extremely radical during his time. Maybe the soaring admonition of Paul to the men of the church of Ephesus to love their wives as Christ loved the church and to love their wives as they love their own bodies was missed as well. Yes, my opinion is different than yours on this account, and from my reading of the Bible, I would love to see a little more "interference" as you call it, in the public square -- even if only as an elective!
--Dr. Kevin L. King is pastor of Anchor Way Baptist Church.