Michael J. Knowles humorously pointed
out recently that the mainstream media’s embarrassing lack of
Biblical literacy reared its humiliating head again, this time in the wake of
the disastrous fire at the Notre Dame cathedral. The Associated Press seemed surprised to
learn that a cathedral was a place of worship, and the New York Times
hilariously assumed that a priest rushing into the fire to retrieve the “body
of Christ” meant he was going in after a statue rather than the Blessed
Remember this is the same New York Times that, completely
oblivious to the fairly significant Christian belief of Christ’s resurrection
from the dead, wrote a few years ago how the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is,
“marking the site where many Christians believe Jesus is buried.” If you want more examples,
Mark Hemingway has you covered.
Shaking my head at the Biblical illiteracy reminded me again
of a cause I’ve been pushing publicly since at least 2016: put the Bible in
every public school in America. Not for
religious indoctrination but for cultural awareness. This is the West. The West’s values, government, culture,
underpinnings, and core identity is wrapped up in the Biblical text. Whether someone believes its Divine
inspiration is immaterial. An educated
person knows the Bible, period.
As I wrote three years ago,
If a student graduates from high school without an understanding of basic addition and subtraction, we say the school has failed. Why? Because those are the foundation of understanding mathematics.
If a student graduates from high school without an understanding of basic grammar and spelling, we say the school has failed. Why? Because those are the foundation of understanding the language necessary to function in society.
If a student graduates from high school without an understanding of mitosis and photosynthesis, we say the school has failed. Why? Because those are the foundation of understanding the natural world.
And the dirty little truth is that if a student graduates from high school without an understanding of the Bible, we should say the school has failed. Why? Because it is the foundation of understanding Western Civilization.
Let me explain what that last statement means for those
convinced this is some kind of underhanded religious ploy by a Christian
dominionist (I’m not).
- Shakespeare makes at least 1,200 Biblical
references in his plays
- Old Negro Spirituals sung by American slaves
were Biblical in nature – Go Down Moses (Exodus 7), Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (2
Kings 2), Didn’t the Lord Deliver Daniel? (Daniel 6)
- Modern music also has such Biblical origin
(intentional or not): Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors (Genesis 37), CAKE’s Hem
of Your Garment (Luke 8), Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (2 Samuel 11 and Judges
- Western literature, from the poetry of Robert
Frost to the opening line of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, is rooted in Biblical
- Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is
predicated upon Biblical foundations, and his I Have a Dream speech is littered
with Biblical allusions
- Western legal traditions, dating back to Sir
William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Law are tied, by reference, to
And those don’t even include the totality of Western art
being birthed from Judeo-Christian, Biblical roots.
As hilarious as it might be to see the proud forced to
correct a glaring error, being unaware of your history, heritage, foundations,
and fundamentals is no laughing matter.
It’s a recipe for collapse. We
have to expect better, particularly when there’s such an obvious,
court-approved, currently flourishing solution at our fingertips. Head over to BibleLiteracy.org to see what
I’m talking about.