The Bible Literacy Project is a movement to provide a Bible elective for public schools. Contrary to popular belief it is legal to study the Bible from an academic perspective. Devotional Bible study is not allowed in public schools. The Bible Literacy Project focuses on the impact that the Bible has had on literature, art and our culture, however it does not seek to teach theology or moral issues.
There is a growing problem in with students including honors students who are not able to understand Biblical references in Shakespeare and other literature. The premise behind this project is that a basic understanding is needed to understand much of our Western culture.
The Bible Literacy project course is differs from previously available Bible courses in that it offers both a teachers manual and student text. The course uses to texts The Bible and Its Influence and a Bible translation of the students choosing. The Bible Literacy project also offers on-line teacher training on how to teach the Bible in public schools.
This course specifically ties in the connection between the Bible and our culture. Studying the role the Bible the Bible has played in Western culture would enable teens to defend the legitimacy of their faith from a non-theological perspective. Why is this valuable? Due to the pluralistic nature of our society many people do even acknowledged the Bible as having significance.
16 thoughts on “The Bible Literacy Project”
I’m an Atheist and firmly support Creationism being taught in public schools … as soon as private Christian schools agree to teach evolution.
I hope you’ll be so bold as to check out my site http://doubtingthomas426.wordpress.com/ even though we clearly don’t see eye-to-eye on most subjects regarding the bible. I’ve categorized all my posts on the left. Take a few minutes to read through a few. Leave a comment if you like. I’m going to check out some of your other posts now. Take Care.
DT: Would you also require non-Christian private schools to teach Creationism? Are you aware that some Christian schools teach evolution and that it is included in Christian science texts?
Private schools are called private because they do not take goverment funding. This gives them the freedom to teach what they wish. If they are forced to teach evolution than they wouldn’t be truly automous.
I am an atheist, too. But I have no qualms with the principle of teaching the bible from an academic perspective in public schools. Religion is a very large part of the human experience and religious texts have an obvious impact on society and culture. What concerns me is that there are some tricky gray areas, and also the potential for abuse.
I will concede that, in many Christians’ hands, bible literacy would not turn into Sunday school on the government dime. Plenty of people are able to balance their personal values with their public duties.
Still, there are some dilemmas. What about, for example, Romans? There is nothing approaching a national consensus on homosexuality in our society. A lot of Christians don’t agree on the issue, either. How does a class on bible literacy approach this passage?
There is also a potential for abuse. There are a few Christians who take offense at the notion of separation of church and state. The ‘Intelligent Design’ texts introduced by the Pennsylvania school board where thinly veiled attempts to replace science curriculum with religious indoctrination. Don’t just take it from me, the judge who ruled the case made the same statement- and G.W. Bush appointed him. When the same school board got the boot in the ’06 elections, Pat Robertson said that Dover Pennsylvania deserved a natural disaster. Most Christians aren’t like this, but I still worry about what bible literacy would look like when taught by people who see no need to recognize that it is up to parents to teach religious values to their children, and that different religious beliefs deserve respect. It would be equally unfair for an atheist teacher to use the class as a way to teach children there is no God.
I also believe that including the bible in a general course about religion would be a safer solution. If I were a Jewish or Muslim parent (and there are plenty of both in this country) I would be offended that my children were compelled to learn about the bible at the expense of other religious texts. Judaism, especially, has also had an enormous impact on Western culture. A general religion course would create some balance, but some of the same problems would remain. It would also create new ones.
In principle, I have no problem with public schools teaching students about religion from an academic perspective. It could make public education even more rounded. But I worry about the inherent risks of abuse, and potential gray areas. There would need to be some very effective safeguards.
As Christian & a former public school teacher I do not want the public schools providing religous instruction.
The Bible Literacy project foucess on the role of the Bible in Literature and culture. It requires reading of works by Shakespeare, Milton and others that reference the Bible. It deals only with major narritaves. They specifcially stay away from issues of moral instruction. Also, teachers are provided instruction on how to teach the Bible as leterature.
Oh, don’t get me started on Pat Robertson. I would have to censure my own comments.
You have my utmost respect and thanks for your balanced and well reasoned response even though you disagree. My hope is that I treat those who disagree with me with such grace and dignity.
Thank you. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated.
Here’s an interesting article from Time magazine on this subject:
..and if you’re interested, my response 🙂
I re-read your blog. Think you need to actully check out the Bible Literacy Project’s website especially the listing of what is in the course.
Also, the Time article is interesting.
I must say I find this blog very interesting. ….
Editor’s Note: Rest of comment was an ad for dating site.
Thanks for your support on CC’s blog!
I am a strong-agnostic. And I will be teaching my children evolution and creation. I think they will benefit from both. Primarily, I want to give them thinking tools, analytical skills, & discernment… I want them to have strong BS detectors!
I would rather public schools stop taking my money!
I am a Christian and have taught both evolution and creation when I taught Science in a Christian school. I believe that it is important to provide my students a safe enviroment to question both & have questions answered without ridcule.
Thanks for the comments on my blog. I’m glad you’re reading!
I agree with Will also. I think complementary programs on other religions should also be available. Looking at the bible academically could exist as a forum to address both issues within Christianity and between Christianity and other faiths.
Religion is a large determinant in regards to current events and past history. Ignoring the subject, instead of trying to understand the impact it has had, might undermine future benefits.
You’re right religion has been very influential to society no matter how much one tries to ignore it.
I believe the Bible Literacy Project only address the influnce of the Bible in Western culture not theological issues.
Well said in the blog above. No doubt that convent schools are doing best in the field of education in the whole world. But my opinion is that the main focus in the schools should be on the education not on any religious matter. For information about KJV bible please visit my site.
The article refers to a course that teaches the Bible as literature in public schools. It is not a religious class. For more on the KJV, I recommend reading my post about the KJV.