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Do You Know Your History

Influence of JesusThere’s an article in the WSJ that argues that the Bible should be taught in public schools. I happen to agree. Now, my kids are unschooled, so I don’t have a lot of skin in this fight except to say that if one does not have a basic understanding of the Bible, they don’t know their history.

So much of what we do – education, government, hospitals, justice, morality, language, idioms and more – come from the Bible, and the people who follow the God it proclaims. For many, the knee-jerk reaction to teaching the Bible in school is a resounding NO. They are quite vocal about mixing what they believe to be nothing but an “imaginary sky daddy,” as one commenter put it, with the absolute reason and logic they expose.

But doesn’t a book that has influenced so much and so many for so long and so deeply, knowingly, or unknowingly, deserve at least some basic study? Here’s an excerpt:

Without the Bible, Shakespeare would read differently—there are more than 1,200 references to Scripture in his works. Without the Bible, there would be no Sistine Chapel and none of the biblically inspired masterpieces that hang in countless museums world-wide.

In movies, without biblical allegories, there would be no “Les Misérables,” no “Star Wars,” no “Matrix,” no “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, no “Narnia” and no “Ben-Hur.” There would be no Alcoholics Anonymous, Salvation Army or Harvard University—all of which found their roots in Scripture. And really, what would Bono sing about if there were no Bible?

I’ve written about the influence of Jesus and his followers. John Ortberg has a must-read book, entitled, Who Is This Man. In short, the historical record is astounding. No one has had the influence that Jesus has had. No one, ever. Shouldn’t he at least be looked at historically? And the Bible itself is rich with story and language that we all use, everyday. The WSJ article lists just a few idioms:

  • The handwriting was on the wall
  • The straight and narrow
  • Out of the mouths of babes
  • The extra mile
  • In the twinkling of an eye
  • A drop in the bucket

I suppose there is a fear that students will be evangelized. Or, perhaps the fear is that the life-transforming nature of the Bible itself would cause kids to…what? Go astray? Go astray from what? What we want them to think?

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson


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  1. Susan L. says:

    We’re an unschooling family, too 🙂

    I am of the belief that if children were taught nothing more than the Bible, they would be better off in every way than they are today. That is not to say that there is nothing to learn outside of scripture. It’s just that, without the basic foundation that scripture teaches us, nothing else can be properly understood.

    • Ted Olson says:

      Thanks for your note Susan! Yes – without God we are lost – so lost we don’t even know it – it’s scary. Been there. Done that.

      ~ Ted

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