Yesterday, as we took social studies notes so that we could finish out the first chapter, we were discussing the various locations of importance in Mesopotamia. I pointed out that students who attended Bible study should have already heard about these locations as they are key in certain stories. Nineveh is where Jonah was to preach, but didn’t want to due to the immense wickedness of the people. Babylon plays location to several Bible stories such as Daniel and the Lion’s Den, plus Nebuchadnezzar, its ruler, is mentioned.
At this point, each year, I discuss the importance of The Bible as a historical document as well as a literary one. While students may not want to read The Bible, they can check out books from the library that contain the stories of The Bible in friendly language. Each year I get the same response. A) Why would I advocate their reading The Bible and B) How do I know about it?
First, our civilization holds at its core these stories. Connecting them to history helps round out the experience. The Bible, while not always fully accurate (Genesis comes to mind), does still have a lot of history in it that is confirmed. Second, these stories are the ones we hold at the center of our culture. Learning the stories and the origins of creation myths, Jonah and the Whale, Lazarus, Lot’s Wife, etc. ties us both to earlier times, but also allows us to reinforce common thematic threads. These stories show up again and again. Obviously these were THE stories of their times (the best-sellers if you will).
As for the second, my lack of belief in a deity and my incredible disdain (skepticism) of organized religion does not keep me from having partaken of it as a child or being ignorant to it as an adult. I went to a Lutheran College. Religion class was a REQUIREMENT. Mind you, it wasn’t well done since it was being delivered by a rather conservative, narrow-minded minister (talk about skepticism and fear), but I went nonetheless and learned more than I had known previously. I also have a fascination with religion so I’m constantly reading up on it.
I’m an atheist, not a Philistine.