Bringing the Bible Back: Could Growing Public School Movement Backfire?

I know some of you might not like Merrit but I thought this might be interesting to discuss.

@Patrick is sure to love it.

As long as you include sections on other holy books as well and keep in neutral I think it’d be a good idea as an elective.

Note: I have a dream of philosophy being mandatory. That’s what really needs to be taught


I’ve had something similar back in school. Of course, situation in Serbia is completely different. For one, pretty much everyone here is EO.

I am sure that millennial teachers who are about 40% Nones will teach the Bible as a book of fiction that has caused mankind enormous suffering over the ages.

In high school?

Did you study the Koran as well?


Nope, unconstitutional. They have to be neutral on the question of religion.

Works both ways.

Teaching the bible as literary and historical fiction happens to be neutral.

Do you really have such a low view of public school teachers that you believe it unlikely that they know how to do their jobs in a professional manner? (Do you believe that they are incapable of teaching their course material—whether it be Shakespeare or John Locke or the Bible—without imposing their own personal interpretive spin and indoctrinating their students?)

Or are you saying that “nones” in the teaching profession are just as biased and “prone to preach their personal opinions” as you think teachers who possess religious inclinations may be? :wink:

I have high esteem for secular public school teachers. They know what they are teaching and they also know the law on how to teach in the public schools. The only place the Bible would ever be discussed is in a public high school and neither in science classes nor US history cases. And if there is any discussion of a Bible history/literature elective class, the first question the curriculum director would need to know is WHICH Bible is going to be discussed. That has been a big problem when Bible history elective classes are introduced into the public school system. There is usually no agreement on which Bible is the one that should be studied and the curriculum never gets approved as some outside group objects and threatens to sue.

Nones are generally more educated on the law of what a secular education means. I would say that they are LESS prone than their older colleagues to preach their personal opinions on politics, religion, SSM, sexuality, gender, abortion, birth control, LGBTQ, woman’s equality. The young teachers I know are professionals and stick to the State approved curriculum with no deviation. It is hard enough for them as they are graded themselves on how well their students do on standardized tests.

Obviously. Has teaching the Bible in science and history classes been a pervasive problem in U.S. public schools? (You lost me on this one.)

The Society of Biblical Literature (and perhaps the American Academy of Religion as well or even jointly) has published curriculum guidelines and suggestions on this topic. Because a lot of high school textbooks on the Bible as literature have followed the lead of college textbooks on the Bible as literature, the RSV and NRSV Bibles have often been used for translation excerpts in those textbooks. A major reason for this is due to the inclusion of the Apocrypha. (Most modern English Bible translations don’t include the books of the Apocrypha, therefore making them less useful for Bible as literature courses.)

Do you have evidence of this? I have not kept current on this topic but when I followed this subject more closely in the past, I was not aware of any significant problem with the issue of selecting a Bible translation to be used in such a course. For simplicity and uniformity, students are usually encouraged to read their assignments from the same Bible translation as is used in the course textbook. However, they are also encouraged to read from other translations which they may find useful. (The more the better.) Because such courses do not get into heavy exegesis or complicated theological distinctions between various groups, the very minor differences between various Bible translations matter little to the course material. So I’m surprised at your claim that is a major problem.

By the way, I’ve heard of a few elective English courses which focus on the significance of the King James Bible in the development of the English language and literature. There are a huge numbers of words, phrases, and sayings from the KJV which English students need to understand in order to engage these aspects of our language. I’ve never heard of that use of the KJV to be controversial. (Have there been many objections against this?)

This is news to me. I am surprised. Can you cite examples and statistics which demonstrate that this is a “big problem?”

If that is the case, why did you cast aspersions against Millennials who are teachers?? Why did you state that they would be more prone to teach their personal spin against the Bible?

Yes, it has.

Here is one from yesterday:

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I don’t doubt that it has happened somewhere at some time. But my question was whether it was truly pervasive.

I saw a news item some time ago about a high school economics teacher promoting Marxism. That doesn’t entirely shock me but I wonder how often it happens.

I certainly do wonder if there are many such Bible-teaching science teachers in places like the U.S. southern Bible Belt. Perhaps. I wonder if there has been much investigation of this.

This would be a big problem for parents of Catholic, Jewish, Morman, Jehovah Witness, Muslim children in my local school district. It wouldn’t get past the many Conservative Judism law groups who would sue that the Torah is being mishandled.

I happened last week! Yes it is pervasive in those areas where Evalgelical Christians try to sneak it in. FFRF get 1000 complaints a year and it is always they same Christian groups doing it. Never see the Mormons doing, even JW doesn’t try much. Never seen various Jewish groups trying to get the Torah studied in public school.

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Patrick, why would parents of Muslim children care which particular Bible translation is used in the course textbook of an elective Bible as literature course?

Are you sure this is a “big problem” which has arisen in many districts where such courses are offered? Again, I’d be interested in evidence and statistics.

Isn’t Marx studied in school? I know I learned about Marxism and Communism in school and how wonderful capitalism was. And how evil socialism was except Social Security which kept Grandma and Grandpa from starving after the depression.

Considering the importance of capitalism in the history of this country, I don’t see anything surprising about this. Similarly, the U.S. Constitution is very important in our society so I’m not surprised that public school textbooks extol its virtues. However, in Russian public schools I doubt that there is the same emphasis.

Of course it is. But studied and promoted aren’t necessarily the same thing.

Are you kidding me? Around here Muslim students face enormous harshment at school. Parents of Muslim students would sue if a Bible class was offered and a separate sex-segregated class on the Koran be offered as well. As well as a place for Muslim students to pray. Parents of Muslims student have sued and won dietary restrictions on the school cafeterias.