Subject: The B-I-B-L-E To: Jonny Vee From: Jesse Jones
Date: 10/7/94 Quoting JONNY VEE to JIM STAAL on 10-04-94:
JV>And I am equally unimpressed by the "bestseller" status of the christian bible.
Let me see if I can use my new toy -- the upgrade to the online
American Heritage Dictionary, with the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy:
"No one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible. Literate people in INDIA, whose religious traditions are not based on the Bible but whose common language is English, must know about the Bible in order to understand English within their own country. All educated speakers of American English need to understand what is meant when someone describes a contest as being between DAVID and Goliath, or whether a person who has the "wisdom of SOLOMON" is wise or foolish, or whether saying "My cup runneth over" means the person feels fortunate or unfortunate.
Those who cannot use or understand such allusions cannot fully participate in literate English. The Bible is also essential for understanding many of the moral and spiritual values of our CULTURE, whatever our religious beliefs. The story of ABRAHAM and ISAAC concerns our deepest feelings about the relations between parents and children.
The story of Job is a major representation in our tradition of being patient during suffering. The PARABLES and sayings of JESUS, such as "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," are so often alluded to that they need to be known by Americans of all faiths. The linguistic and cultural importance of the Bible is a fact that no one denies. Nonetheless, elementary knowledge of the Bible has declined among young people in recent years.
School authorities have felt that teaching about the Bible might be offensive to some parents, and might even be illegal, in light of recent decisions of the SUPREME COURT disallowing prayer in the public schools. The dilemma for Americans is that the CONSTITUTION forbids the teaching of religion in the public schools, and even without that legal prohibition, our schools should not impose religious teaching over the objections of parents. Is there a solution to this dilemma?
No person in the modern world can be considered educated without a basic knowledge of all the great religions of the world - ISLAM, CONFUCIANISM, TAOISM, BUDDHISM, Judaism, and Christianity. But our knowledge of Judaism and Christianity needs to be more detailed than that of other great religions, if only because of the historical accident that has embedded the Bible in our thought and language.
The Bible is a central book in our culture, just as the KORAN is central in other nations, whose citizens need to know more about the Koran than about the Bible. The logical conclusion is that our schools need to teach more about the Bible than about the Koran, but they have a responsibility to teach about both. Far from being illegal or undesirable, teaching about the Bible is not only consistent with our Constitution, it is essential to our literacy."
- Jesse Jones Origin: Sox! Live from Hialeah_FL_USA