For a change of pace, President Trump caused a controversy today. He got the media and the Left hot and bothered this time around by lending his endorsement to Bible literacy classes. In a tweet this morning, he said: “Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!”
The “controversial” laws Trump is referring to, which are being advanced in a few states including Kentucky, would introduce elective Bible classes in school. The classes would teach the Bible in terms of history and literature. Students, obviously, would not be required to affirm the doctrine of Biblical infallibility, nor would they be taught, or forced to accept, any moral prescription or supernatural claim made in the text. The Bible would be presented as a literary work, and its historical context and impact would be examined from that perspective.
Why is this idea controversial? Well, because we live in an aggressively stupid culture filled with nincompoops who think “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” means that schools have to ignore the very existence of religion. The problem is that a well-rounded education divorced entirely from the Bible is impossible.
No matter what you believe or what God, if any, you worship, the simple fact is this: the Bible is the most influential and important book ever composed. It is the most translated, best selling, most widely read, most quoted, most debated, most cherished, most loved, most reviled collection of writings ever compiled in history. This book, more than any other, has molded the world in which we live, especially in the West. If you rip it out of education, it will leave a Bible-shaped hole behind.
You cannot begin to appreciate Shakespeare if you don’t understand the Biblical themes in his work. Same goes for Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or Dickens or Dante or pretty much any great novel or play or poem written by any Western hand anytime between the first and twentieth centuries. You will have an equally difficult time comprehending or appreciating Renaissance art, Western philosophy, the Enlightenment, the Reformation, and so on. And good luck getting a handle on men like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Abraham Lincoln or Magellan or Columbus or even Gandhi (who read the Sermon on the Mount every day), if you don’t have a handle on the Bible.
I’m fully aware, of course, that many of these topics are increasingly ignored in our public schools anyway. If we have simply given up on offering kids a real education, if we are unconcerned with silly subjects like history and literature and philosophy, then I suppose the whole “Bible literacy” concept is irrelevant. Bible literacy is necessary for general literacy in many important subjects, but if we are throwing out those subjects in any case, then it’s a moot point. But if our educational facilities ever did decide to actually, you know, educate, then the Bible must necessarily be one of the bedrocks of that effort.
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