Monday, May 21, 2007

Biblical Illiteracy

Yes, I'm still here - just hasn't been any good heresy worth writing about lately! I can't understand that, given the article in Pennsylvania's Times Leader on Saturday:

Failing the Bible
Polls: Too few Americans remember what’s in Good Book
PAUL ASAY The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Americans like their religion. Nearly half go to church regularly, according to a study by the University of Michigan, and at least 85 percent believe in God, according to a study by Baylor University. Our money reads “In God We Trust,” and we buy Bibles by the bushel.

But when it comes to reading and remembering what’s in the Good Book, Americans just plain stink. According to a 2004 Gallup poll sponsored by the Bible Literacy Project, American teens barely know their 10 Commandments from their 12 disciples, or their Pauls from their Peters.

Of the more than 1,000 teens polled, only a third could pick out a quotation from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and 25 percent didn’t think that the Old Testament’s King David was king of the Jews. Harper’s magazine reports that 12 percent of Americans say Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.

That’s an issue, experts say, considering how much world literature, American history and Western culture owes the book. Many high school teachers and college professors say we’re raising a bunch of biblical nimrods, and that it’s time to teach — but not preach — the Old and New Testaments in public schools.

“This is definitely about education,” said Sheila Weber, vice president of communications for the Bible Literacy Project. “The Bible is the foundational document for Western civilization and the best-selling book of all time.”

Weber is biased. The Bible Literacy Project produces a textbook titled “The Bible and its Influence,” one of a handful of Bible-centric textbooks geared toward public schools.

But she’s not alone. For its April 2 edition, Time magazine published a cover story on the issue, and, according to the Gallup study, high school and college English teachers are nearly unanimous in calling for more biblical education. The works of William Shakespeare alone contain more than 1,300 biblical references, and they want their students to get them.

Even the non-Christians realize the need for an understanding of the Bible. So where are the churches going wrong when their pews are filled with biblically-illiterate "Christians" who, for the most part, can't be distinguished from the secular world?



At May 22, 2007 10:36 AM, Blogger D. Engebretson said...

Good article! I believe the problem in our own midst is poor or inadequate catechesis. Even in junior high instruction we are lowering the standard for what we expect (for which I count myself guilty), and it is reaping negative rewards in contributing to this 'illiteracy.' And you have also hit on something with the awareness that even the unbelievers know a need to understand the Bible, if only as a literary tool.

If interested I posted three articles related to this topic, one directly concerning the textbook mentioned in your post:

America Gets an "F" in Religion
April 10

Biblical Illiteracy
March 9

Bible Textbook for Public Schools?
March 2

God bless,
Pastor Engebretson

At May 22, 2007 11:50 AM, Blogger The Heresy Hunter said...

I think it was Pastor Schaaf who mentioned that confirmation for many is seen more as a graduation from church where you don't have to learn anymore and that a lot of people fall by the wayside right after.

At May 22, 2007 2:35 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

No good heresy to write about? You must have turned TBN off for a while. There's always something good there!


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