Monday, August 01, 2005

Teaching the Bible

The Times reports that a Texas school is getting ready to teach an elective Bible class.

Echidne sez:
I sometimes get confused whether we are talking about Texas in 2005 or some part of medieval Europe. For example, I remember reading that this "sun standing still" argument was settled a few centuries ago. But I must have been wrong.
Kevin Drum seems more angry at the reporting than the event itself.

I think that any course which "ignores evolution in favor of creationism and gives credence to dubious assertions that the Constitution is based on the Scriptures, and that 'documented research through NASA' backs the biblical account of the sun standing still," should stick to the local churches' classrooms.

I'm in favor of a comparative religion course. I had one in high school, and it was one of the classes everyone looked forward to taking. Partly that's because the guy teaching it had experimented with mind expanding chemicals a little too much. That gave his lectures a particular flair that other classes lacked.

But the material was fun. We learned about religious views from around the world, but also about some of the history and culture of the area. We heard about hijab as well as the 5 Pillars of Islam, and we heard how Islam justifies practices that seem odd or sexist to us. We tried to get a grip on the Tao, knowing that the Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.

It was a great course because it expanded our experience. This Bible class isn't about expanding horizons, it's about narrowing them. And that's not what education is about.