Tuesday, January 17, 2006
So we return to the discussion of the "Bible in History and Literature" class to be possibly included into Steamboat Springs High School curriculum. While other world nations surge past the United States in science and math, we will now use a book that was written in the first century by a variety of writers and translated (poorly) from an ancient language to teach our students history. As the people submitting this proposal to the School Board say to themselves, "It's basically a history course using the Bible as its main text."
Let's start with that. If this book will be used as a textbook, then it must be held to the same scrutiny as a textbook used to teach math, chemistry or English. Many of our textbooks are flawed, and there are continued changes to them. Has the Bible been edited recently? Are the many contradictions between authors validated, or proved inaccurate? And a very important question: Whom do we tell the students is the author of this textbook?
And will the teacher of this class pick and choose the parts to teach the students? Do we gloss over the parts were God says "if your brother, the son of your father, or your mother, or son or daughter ... tries to say to you 'let us go and serve other gods' unknown to you ... you must not listen, show him no pity ... No, you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death ... " Deuteronomy 13:7-11.
It's not just the Old Testament; you find these statements throughout the old and new.
Only by ignoring such passages can the Bible mix with modern life. And this is another issue, either you accept it all, or you can accept nothing. This is where it is easier for the literal, Bible-believing Christians than the "moderate" Christians. They can believe it is all literally true, where the moderate says "that's symbolic, or metaphysical." But how will scripture be interpreted by students? How has it been interpreted in world history? That would not be a very flattering subject for this history course -- how scripture has influenced men of God to torture and kill, and still does.
There are historical events in the Bible, but between them, there are many more issues revolving around "Yahweh, your God." Do we think that this class would boost students' morals and ethics? It is a fact that the more "godly" states and nations have lower morals and more violence and teen pregnancies. The secular nations such as Sweden and other European nations are much better than us on these issues. Not to mention they beat us on test scores.
Let's give our students the right of a good education. If they want to study the Bible, there are plenty of Bible study classes in town. My tax dollars are better spent on classes that will help them progress in the world. The people in India and China would like us to teach religious dogma to our young rather than science.
If a book written in the first century, with all its translation and other flaws, which has never been updated or questioned, is the best book we can teach our students with, there is a problem.
I hope the School Board will make a decision based on reason, and not from outside pressure, that this class would not be in any way beneficial to students.
Editor's note: Two parents have requested that the School Board consider allowing an elective high school class that uses the Bible as its main text.