Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Bible and School

It's very rare when Time Magazine runs an article on "Why We Should Teach The Bible In Public School", and that mimics an article in Folio, the alumni paper for the University of Alberta. Their article, Separation of church and classroom, has remarkable similarities to the Time piece.
James Emery White quotes Stephen Prothero of Boston University who encourages the same idea. Clearly somehting is afoot here. Prothro tests his undergraduate students with a 15 question test that they regularly fail. Why not take it and see how you do?
Here’s the test (answers below):

1 point each:
Name the Four Gospels.

1 point:
Name a sacred text of Hinduism.

1 point:
What is the name of the holy book of Islam?

1 point:
Where according to the Bible was Jesus born?

1 point:
President George W. Bush spoke in his first inaugural address of the Jericho road. What Bible story was he invoking?

1 point each:
What are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament?

1 point:
What is the Golden Rule?

2 points:
“God helps those who help themselves.” Is this in the Bible? If so, where?

2 points:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” Does this appear in the Bible?

10 points:
Name the Ten Commandments.

4 points:
Name the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

7 points:
What are the Seven Sacraments of Catholicism?

2 points:
What is Ramadan? In what religion is it celebrated?

7 points:
Match the Bible characters with the stories in which they appear. Some characters may be matched with more than one story or vice versa. Characters: Adam and Eve, Noah, Paul, Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Serpent. Stories: Exodus, Binding of Isaac, Olive Branch, Garden of Eden, Parting of the Red Sea, Road to Damascus, Garden of Gethsemane.
Regardless of how well you did on the quiz, or your thoughts about the Bible in public education, my question is,
How comfortable are you discussing what your spirituality means to you with others?
That's the important question in my mind.
*Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
*Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Yoga Sutras, Laws of Manu, or Kama Sutra
*Good Samaritan
*Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
*”Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Mt. 7:12) Or a similar statement from Rabbi Hillel or Confucius. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is not the Golden Rule.
*No, this is not in the Bible. In fact, it is contradicted in Proverbs 28:26. “He who trusts in himself is a fool.” The words are Ben Franklin’s.
*Yes, in the Beatitudes of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:3).
*No other gods before me; you shall not make yourself a graven image; you shall not take the name of the Lord in vain; remember the Sabbath and keep it holy; honor your father and mother; you shall not murder; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor; you shall not covet.
*Life is suffering; suffering has an origin; suffering can be overcome (nirvana); the path to overcoming suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.
*baptism, eucharist/mass, reconciliation/confession/penance, confirmation, marriage, holy orders, anointing of the sick/last rites
*Ramadan is a Muslim holiday characterized by a month of fasting.
*Adam and Eve + Garden of Eden; Serpent + Garden of Eden; Abraham + Binding of Isaac; Moses + Exodus/Parting of the Red Sea; Noah + Olive Branch; Jesus + Garden of Gethsemane; Paul + Road to Damascus.


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