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Sign The Petition (forced bible reading in public school)...

Gandhi>Bush

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Wow 27 signatures. You're gettin close, ehh?

Do you really think jamming Jesus down someone's throat is going to make them a good person, a good christian, or anything remotely good at all?
 

walrus

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I attended public school for twelve years. In my 11th or 12th grade year our Western literature book included selections from the Bible, the Qur'an, the Hindic Vedas, Confucius, and other religious works from around the world. I do not believe that anyone in that class felt that Jesus was being "shoved down their throats", and I did not believe that Allah, or Vishnu, or Joseph Smith was being shoved down my throat. I guess at that tender age I was already tolerant enough to hear the beliefs of others while remaining un-offended and maintaining the integrity of my own beliefs. If your child is 17 and in the 11th grade and is unable to be exposed to the beliefs of others without being either offended or converted; then the least of your child's problems is reading the Bible in class.

I do not believe that studying the Bible (or any other religious work) is an example of the government endorsing a religion (separation of church and state). I do not believe it is something we are protected from in the Constitution. I do not believe that it will make anyone a better person, any more than studying Hamlet will make you a better person. I do not believe it is a sneaky way of converting anyone. What I do believe is that any class which purports to teach Western literature and then leaves out the book which has influenced Western thought more than any other is doing a grave disservice to it's students.
 

The Noyse

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the difference is, only the bible is being studied...i can understand discussion and reading a broad range of reliious books...but to focus on the bible and to force kids to read it then get tested on it is rediculous
 

jpwright

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I agree. I think the article does a good job of pointing out why the selection of the Bible alone shows a clear difference between reading religious works for literary purposes and reading them with more hidden motives. And even aside from that, I think it's pointless to be reading religious works in school. Kids aren't going to get anything out of reading extremely religious books that they aren't interested in or despise. There are plenty of other great novels that would provide better education for a class and would avoid consequences such as having the state of Florida down your back.
 

walrus

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jpwright said:
I agree. I think the article does a good job of pointing out why the selection of the Bible alone shows a clear difference between reading religious works for literary purposes and reading them with more hidden motives.
Reading them with hidden motives? Do you mean the students? Who cares what motives the students have in reading them.? Do you mean the teachers have hidden motives in having the students read them?

What I find really ironic about this is that I am guessing most people disagreeing with this are probably either non or anti-religious, however, you are granting the Bible a magical level of power. You seem to be saying that this book, more than any other that a student might study, has the power to mysteriously influence the minds of those who read it. I hope you realize that about 85% of the Bible does not contain Judeo-Christian cosmological or mystical teachings. A large part of it is simply the history of the Hebrews. A lot of it is moral stories (and these morals are for the most part are shared by every religious group on Earth). A lot of it is poetry. There are HUGE sections of the Bible which can be studied as literature without the dangers of religion seeping into your child's apprarently vulnerable and indiscriminate mind.

Why do these same people (for the most part) who believe in a total abscence of censorship in school reading lists have such a great terror of the Bible that they make this book the one exception to the rule?


jpwright said:
And even aside from that, I think it's pointless to be reading religious works in school.
Yeah, absolutely pointless. I can't see anything helpful in being familiar with the beliefs of 80% of your fellow citizens and 1.5 billion of the world's inhabitants. No point whatsoever in having knowledge of the literary work which has done more to shape the history and culture of Western man than any other. By all means, study "Lord of the Flies" instead as it has had far more impact on history, literature, sociology, government, and culture than the Bible.

jpwright said:
Kids aren't going to get anything out of reading extremely religious books that they aren't interested in or despise.
So, we should base our reading lists on what kids like or are interested in? Might as well throw Shakespeare out the window. Funnily enough, no English teacher of professor I ever had ever seemed concerned whether or not I despised a work I was instructed to read. They just expected me to read it and understand it. I didn't have to agree with it, I didn't have to adopt it's principles in my life; but I did have to read it. As to the Bible being extremely religious, I have no idea what that means. There are religious teachings contained in it, as well as many other things worthy of study.

jpwright said:
There are plenty of other great novels that would provide better education for a class and would avoid consequences such as having the state of Florida down your back.
So, we should allow popular opinion to decide what our children are taught? Does that sound right to you?

Anybody who can not study the Bible as a literary work, and separate it's religious and literary significance, has severe critical analysis problems. I was under the impression that school was a place for growing minds to be introduced to different beliefs and to learn the skills needed to know for themselves what their OWN beliefs are. Do we teach this by "protecting" our children from beliefs that we disagree with?
 

edb19

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walrus said:
What I find really ironic about this is that I am guessing most people disagreeing with this are probably either non or anti-religious,
I have very mixed feelings about reading the Bible in a classroom setting. If it is presented as part of a world history class or comparative religion class - no problem. But I would worry about how it is presented - it would be too easy for the teacher to inject his/her interpretation and/or opinion. They could as easily do so with the Quran or the Torah or any number of other religious writings.

I'm old enough that I clearly remember prayer and daily Bible reading in school - and I remember when they stopped (thank you very much Madalyn Murray O'Hare). I used to think that was a great loss - no more. I'd rather not have people whose faith may not coincide with mine standing in front of a classroom and leading my child in prayer.

BTW - I'm a person of faith (Christian to be exact)
 

jpwright

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walrus said:
Reading them with hidden motives? Do you mean the students? Who cares what motives the students have in reading them.? Do you mean the teachers have hidden motives in having the students read them?
I don't care what the students think of the reading. They can enjoy reading it for all I care, and I don't doubt that reading the Bible from a secular point of view can teach some people a lesson in morality. But that, according to the article, was clearly not the purpose of having the students read them. Either way, if you read my post, you'll find that I never totally agreed that the school was trying to impose religious beliefs on its students. The "I agree" was in response to The Noyse's second post and the second sentence was a mere critique of the article's persusasive power. Don't react to my post in a generalizing manner when I really took no solid stance on the issue to begin with.

walrus said:
What I find really ironic about this is that I am guessing most people disagreeing with this are probably either non or anti-religious, however, you are granting the Bible a magical level of power. You seem to be saying that this book, more than any other that a student might study, has the power to mysteriously influence the minds of those who read it. I hope you realize that about 85% of the Bible does not contain Judeo-Christian cosmological or mystical teachings. A large part of it is simply the history of the Hebrews. A lot of it is moral stories (and these morals are for the most part are shared by every religious group on Earth). A lot of it is poetry. There are HUGE sections of the Bible which can be studied as literature without the dangers of religion seeping into your child's apprarently vulnerable and indiscriminate mind.
Hey, guess what? If you shoot a gun at someone and miss, it's still a crime. Once again, the article points out how regardless of how the students react to the material, the school's intent to impose religious beliefs on its students through the Bible is something to take action against.

walrus said:
Why do these same people (for the most part) who believe in a total abscence of censorship in school reading lists have such a great terror of the Bible that they make this book the one exception to the rule?
First, I'm not totally anti-censorship, and if I comprised a reading list the Bible wouldn't necessarily be the only book I would take off it. Second, I doubt you'd like it so much if the school assigned a book that was full of slurs toward Christians and other religious people. I might change my perspective if the school offered the reading from multiple points of view, as The Noyse pointed out.

walrus said:
Yeah, absolutely pointless. I can't see anything helpful in being familiar with the beliefs of 80% of your fellow citizens and 1.5 billion of the world's inhabitants. No point whatsoever in having knowledge of the literary work which has done more to shape the history and culture of Western man than any other. By all means, study "Lord of the Flies" instead as it has had far more impact on history, literature, sociology, government, and culture than the Bible.
I've attended religious education classes myself, and I know that it probably would be best for kids to understand the faiths of those around them. But an 11th grade English class is clearly not the place for such discussions, especially from a one-sided point of view. At the Unitarian fellowship I attended, we studied all religions and were encouraged to make informed decisions of faith based on all the works we studied. Either way, regardless of the impacts of reading a Bible on some kid's faith, the discussion here is about the intent of the school. Why bother dealing with controversy and DebatePolitics topics when you could read Lord of the Flies and still recieve the same amount of literatary knowledge in order to pass the final exam? You don't read books based on the effects they had on history in English class. You read them based on how much they will teach you about literature and the English language.

walrus said:
So, we should base our reading lists on what kids like or are interested in? Might as well throw Shakespeare out the window. Funnily enough, no English teacher of professor I ever had ever seemed concerned whether or not I despised a work I was instructed to read. They just expected me to read it and understand it. I didn't have to agree with it, I didn't have to adopt it's principles in my life; but I did have to read it. As to the Bible being extremely religious, I have no idea what that means. There are religious teachings contained in it, as well as many other things worthy of study.
In that case, forget the teachers. Students learn and absorb more when they are taught subjects they are interested in. Even if Great Expectations (though not a Shakespeare book) was the most boring book I've ever read, I doubt kids are going to refuse to read it because it goes against their moral beliefs which are somehow based on the morality of Estella and Mrs. Havisham.

walrus said:
So, we should allow popular opinion to decide what our children are taught? Does that sound right to you?
It's not just a matter of popular opinion, it's a matter of the educational value that will be recieved from the reading material. Besides, it's not like I'm saying "Instead of the Bible, kids should read See Spot Run!", the article simply suggests that reading lists be comprised of non-religious materials.

walrus said:
Anybody who can not study the Bible as a literary work, and separate it's religious and literary significance, has severe critical analysis problems. I was under the impression that school was a place for growing minds to be introduced to different beliefs and to learn the skills needed to know for themselves what their OWN beliefs are. Do we teach this by "protecting" our children from beliefs that we disagree with?
See the little bolded word? Different? I would agree with you 100% if this were the case. The Bible is clearly not the all encompassing point of view for religion, and teaching it to students solves none of these principles. I would certainly hope the students can read the Bible without converting to Christianity, but the discussion here is about the intent of the school, not the critical analysis abilities of its students.

And before you question my motives, I was raised as an Episcopalian.
 

nkgupta80

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So, we should base our reading lists on what kids like or are interested in? Might as well throw Shakespeare out the window. Funnily enough, no English teacher of professor I ever had ever seemed concerned whether or not I despised a work I was instructed to read. They just expected me to read it and understand it. I didn't have to agree with it, I didn't have to adopt it's principles in my life; but I did have to read it. As to the Bible being extremely religious, I have no idea what that means. There are religious teachings contained in it, as well as many other things worthy of study.
Maybe introducing the bible is one thing, but mandatory reading of the whole thing would be a waste of time in school. IN my school, when covering that part of history, or maybe studying various religions, we were given important ,relavent selections from the bible which we had to analyze and understand. And over the course of the 12 years we'd read some of the more important stories of teh bible which are often cited in western literature.

I think this should be the extent to which we study the Bible. Maybe if you were majoring in religious studies or history, studying the whole thing would be appropriate. The goals of history, humanities, or english classes in our school systems is to provide and encompassing, introductory view of western or world literature and history. Reading the full bible would be redundant in accomplishing that goal.

Yeah, absolutely pointless. I can't see anything helpful in being familiar with the beliefs of 80% of your fellow citizens and 1.5 billion of the world's inhabitants. No point whatsoever in having knowledge of the literary work which has done more to shape the history and culture of Western man than any other. By all means, study "Lord of the Flies" instead as it has had far more impact on history, literature, sociology, government, and culture than the Bible.
The Bible is a source of controversy even among Christians themselves. Now sparking some religious debate that can give more insight into differnt student's beliefs is alrite. But imagine, as you study the Bible, the conflicts taht might arise when one person's take on the text conflicts with anothers. It would be too much of a hassle. Lord of the Flies can spark some debate: maybe on human behaviour or societies impact, but these topics arent as deeply rooted in children's minds as religion.
 

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There is a difference between reading the Bible as a literary work, and as a theological one, if they are reading the book of Genesis, I see no reason why that would be a problem. As long as they are doing so within the boundries of the law, in which they are.
 

Courtneyx3

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I am a Christian, and read the bible on a regular basis. But the only reason why I think the Bible should be read in school, is if you are studying it. I do not think that it should be read like they would in Church. This is going to make kids resent it more, if you are forcing it on them. I think that church should stay out of public school, if it were to go in public school, there would be a lot of "hell" raised. LOL
 

geekgrrl

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The Noyse said:
it's for a good cause...seriously...it's not a joke...read it and sign the petition if you feel as we do...

http://www.thenoyse.com/battle.php

here's the direct link to just sign the petition:
http://www.petitiononline.com/noyse/petition.html

thanks, and pass it around!
I read the statement at your "Noyse" website, and, because I am dependent on your description for all the context, at first read I'd say that this is shoving religion down students' throats. But I won't sign your petition. Here's why.

First, I'm a Californian. From your description, this is strictly a local issue for the citizens and taxpayers, and more particularly, for the parents of the high school students of Boca Raton, FL to work out for themselves. For this reason, I doubt that my "signature" on your petition would impress anybody.

Second, I don't see any problem with assigning the reading of biblical passages as literature as long as other religions' scriptures are also assigned so that students get a balanced look at world religions, and at the nature of religion in general.

I had to study similar readings when I was in public grade school and because these readings were comparative in nature, I never had the impression that the school or my classroom teacher were trying to shove religion down my throat. (Of course, other, unrelated things happened later in my life to make me disgusted with those who did make every attempt to shove their religion down my throat and force me to like it.)

If this Boca Raton school has otherwise followed the law, then it's teaching literature, not religion. If some parents think otherwise, then they need to take that issue up with the local school board.

In short, it's a local issue. None of my business.
 

The Noyse

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it's not about taxpayers or local anything...its the stance...first off, then noyse is based in washington state...second off, kids are not being told how to read it or inturpret it...they are just being told to read it...youll get one kid who reads a line and goes "this is boring"...and youll get another kid who reads the bible steadily and says of the same line "this is he foundation of blah blah"...as bad of an example as it may be, what im trying to say is that religion and school are on two total different ends of the spectrum
 

WiseRufus

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Quertol said:
There is a difference between reading the Bible as a literary work, and as a theological one, if they are reading the book of Genesis, I see no reason why that would be a problem. As long as they are doing so within the boundries of the law, in which they are.
:beer: I don't see no reason either. ::Hiccup:: Those there kids need some good readin'. Genesis is a great ::Belch:: piece of literary work, full of some of that good English language and ::Hiccup:: grammar. :slapme:
 

walrus

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WiseRufus said:
:beer: I don't see no reason either. ::Hiccup:: Those there kids need some good readin'. Genesis is a great ::Belch:: piece of literary work, full of some of that good English language and ::Hiccup:: grammar. :slapme:
Thank you for that well thought out and informative post. These incisive insights have certainly cleared the air of debate. I await with eager anticipation the next pearls of wisdom we will be fortunate enough to adorn ourselves with by your generosity.
 

asmith555

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A true Christian would never support the forced reading of the bible. Coming to Jesus has to be of your own accord. It cannot be forced. God wants the individual to pick him over anything else.

Thats why he gave us free will.
 

Dogger807

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WiseRufus said:
:beer: I don't see no reason either. ::Hiccup:: Those there kids need some good readin'. Genesis is a great ::Belch:: piece of literary work, full of some of that good English language and ::Hiccup:: grammar. :slapme:
Good english literature? It's a translation from older languages no mater how you look at it. Hardly a basis for teaching modern language classes. You can not even point to it as a representation of the literature at the time of it's translation.

Though the historical impact of the different versions of the bible is undeniable it is not a work of classic English. But that's not the problem. This is a blatent probe for loop holes in the law. Reading the genisis story is theists trying to get a version of religion into the system because they fear evolution theory.

I wonder 2 things...
1) is the year they wish to introduce the manditory reading the same year they teach evolution?
2)does anyone have a copy of the complete reading list?
 

leejosepho

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dogger807 said:
Reading the genisis story is theists trying to get a version of religion into the system because they fear evolution theory.
Intentionally or not, there is a bit of spin in that statement, dogger807, but I do believe you are seeing the target: Certain people are concerned or even appalled that evolution (a bigoted religion) is taught as scientific fact (or at least as a defensible theory), and they want the scientifically believable fact of creation presented also ... and neither side clearly understands (or is completely willing and able to acknowledge) that matter apart from religion.

dogger807 said:
I wonder ...
... is the year they wish to introduce the manditory reading the same year they teach evolution?
Certainly not, for evolution teaching permeates government (public) schooling from virtually day number one ...

... just as those concerned about that should have already been teaching their children themselves.
 
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leejosepho

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leejosepho said:
... evolution (a bigoted religion) ...
I suppose that might be a bit of spin of my own, but I have just found the original title of Darwin's "Origin of Species":

"On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,
or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Origin_of_Species
 
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Simon W. Moon

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Quertol said:
There is a difference between reading the Bible as a literary work, and as a theological one, if they are reading the book of Genesis, I see no reason why that would be a problem. As long as they are doing so within the boundries of the law, in which they are.
It should also be noted that a huge number of Western literary works contain outright and subtle allusions to parts of the Bible.
It's an important work in re Western literature. To be asked to read one book of it seems eminently reasonable.
 

Dogger807

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leejosepho said:
Intentionally or not, there is a bit of spin in that statement, dogger807, but I do believe you are seeing the target: Certain people are concerned or even appalled that evolution (a bigoted religion) is taught as scientific fact (or at least as a defensible theory), and they want the scientifically believable fact of creation presented also ... and neither side clearly understands (or is completely willing and able to acknowledge) that matter apart from religion.



Certainly not, for evolution teaching permeates government (public) schooling from virtually day number one ...

... just as those concerned about that should have already been teaching their children themselves.
I would have to disagree with the statement that evolution is a relgion in any form. Yes it is a way to theorize the begining of man and that is one aspect of relgions to try and do that thru mythos, but it is only one aspect of what makes a relgion. Evolution does not tell people to think or act a certain way. It is a SCIENTIFIC theory (please don't start the misdefining theory as an argument branch again please.. I''m sick of it.) no more a religion than the atomic theory.
 

leejosepho

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dogger807 said:
I would have to disagree with the statement that evolution is a religion in any form ... [other than as] a way to theorize the beginning of man ... but [that] is only one aspect of what makes a religion.
Agreed ... no big argument from me there.

dogger807 said:
Evolution does not tell people to think or act a certain way ...
... other than to misrepresent a flawed and easily-disproved theory as fact, and to further vehemently say the fact of creation is but a religious myth!

dogger807 said:
It is a SCIENTIFIC theory ...
Agreed, but neverthess a fallacy in the face of continual degradation.

However, all of that is about as much argument as will come from me here, for this particular subject is one about which I only know just enough to be dangerous!
 

deadroses

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Okay... so... I know that I might be restating previous words..


but how do you expect to have a melting pot of a society when you FORCE children to read the bible in school? PUBLIC SCHOOL NO LESS!! you have to be smoking something to think that the general population would agree with this... its bad enough people want to hang the ten commandments in public schools and buildings...

if you want the bible to be read by your *^*&% children... i have three words.... CHRISTIAN PRIVATE SCHOOL.. they exist don't they.. they throuw hissy fits and support the charter program.. so.. why can't you be satisfied with that? why do you feel that every human should HAVE to read and believe your religion????


you obviously disagree with teaching evolution in schools.. could you handle the teaching of the Qur'an? While we are at it.. why don't we add.. a required reading of satans verse... or "the devils word"

HAH. why do you think you have the right to make other people's children read your idea of what life should or shouldn't be?
 

Dogger807

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leejosepho said:
Agreed ... no big argument from me there.



... other than to misrepresent a flawed and easily-disproved theory as fact, and to further vehemently say the fact of creation is but a religious myth!



Agreed, but neverthess a fallacy in the face of continual degradation.

However, all of that is about as much argument as will come from me here, for this particular subject is one about which I only know just enough to be dangerous!
No.. there is no continual degradation. Science doesn't work that way. Theists will argue ever little fact and every bit of collected data that supports evolution but they have yet to disprove or even degrade it. Any degration is propaganda. Simple fact of the matter is it only takes one piece of counter empirical data to disprove a theory and make it lose it's status.

One thing stands true in the evolution debates. No evidence has been broght forward to disprove the theory. Those who oppose it base their arguments on what if statements and faulty logic.
 

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---
Science, noun (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study; knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method; such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena [such as the appearance of mankind].
---

dogger807 said:
No.. there is no continual degradation. Science doesn't work that way.
In that particular context, science does not "work" at all ... and, for example, it is now a fact that it is no longer safe (like it used to be) to marry one's cousin and expect healthy offspring. Evolution, then, does not include advancement or improvement, but degradation.

dogger807 said:
Theists will argue ever little fact and every bit of collected data that supports evolution ...
The religious persuasion (if even present) of any particular scientist is irrelevant, and that kind of issue would not even come up if the matter of evolution truly was but a matter of science.

dogger807 said:
... but they have yet to disprove or even degrade it.
Not so ... and with no pun intended, I will try to find a few links!
 
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