Monday, December 14, 2009

Will I "deprive" my kids of the Bible?!??!?!

Okay, I know I'm supposed to be studying, but I just have to respond to this message from a reader in response to this comment thread. The reader says:
  • Though your children may never sit through lessons or sermons that teach them to think that they were born with something wrong with them and that they need Jesus I trust that you are not going to deprive them of true "appreciaton of English literature". After all, "the English Bible needs to be part of our education because it is a major source book for literary culture." "The atheistic world-view provides no justification for cutting the Bible, and other sacred books, out of our education." (Quotes from 'The God Delusion' chapter 9) 
The tone seems to imply that if I don't teach my children the Bible, that would make me a neglectful mother. Let me ask something: Did your mother teach you Shakespeare and Chaucer? If she did, wonderful! If she didn't though, I could hardly classify that as neglect or having "deprived"  you of a proper education of English literature. My kids are 5 and 1, so I think they're a little young to be introduced to a book like the Bible. We're still on Stuart Little and Go, Dog! Go! But we do own a Bible. It's in the fantasy section of our bookshelf where it belongs, right next to The Iliad, The Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings, and if when they're older they ever want to read the Bible or take a class about it, they certainly will not be forbidden.


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  1. I studied some of the Bible in high school English class. We even studdied some of the hellfire and damnation sermons from the American Reformation period. I'd expect no less, as they did have influences on the human culture.

  2. Exactly, if you're kids want to read the bible when they're older, fine. I like how they have religious studies at schools here in the UK. Children learn about different religions through culture. It's like what Dawkins says about Christmas, it's a cultural celebration. Even though it does stem from religion. Christmas isn't very religious these days though, don't even get me started on the commercialization of the Christmas institution!

  3. I loved my world religions class in high school. Learning the facts about all the major religions of the world was really the start of my journey out of Mormonism, and ironically, my journey out of religion altogether.

    Do you really have your bookshelf sorted by genre, or is that just a clever way of stating your opinion on the Bible? :)

  4. I don't know about your kids, but I'd love to take a class on the Bible sometime. The older I get, the more I view it as fiction. I'd love to learn who is thought to have written what and why, and what was translated by whom and where and why. I would find that fascinating.

  5. Latha - you'll find that if you take a Bible class at Concordia, you'll probably receive the most secular perspective of anywhere...not kidding.

  6. I've been wanting to take a religious studies class, but haven't been able to fit one in. Someday...

    @Mike, you've seen my house. Have you ever known me to sort ANYTHING? I was being clever. I think our Bible is currently in my office somewhere, though I can neither confirm nor deny that definitively.

  7. I will so be the mom reading Othello to her toddlers as bedtime reading. Too much?

  8. Carla, your kids will be lucky. :-)


Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism