As I recall (although the author of the comic did not cite it and I cannot find it now) the poll referred to was a Pew Poll that has been widely misinterpreted. My recollection is that those polled who identified as atheists or agnostics also tended to report growing up within more conservative Christian contexts. Thus they received their biblical training within the Christian context. On the other hand, there are many who identify as Christian on polls who are not terribly serious about their Bible learnin’. Still, our congregations are woefully ignorant and the comic is funny.
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7 thoughts on “Biblical illiteracy”
made me smile…
I’d rather see the Bible as required reading for its literary and historical value (particularly given its relevance to the history of Western Civilization in general and Middle Eastern history in particular) in general education. If only Christians read it, it’s not getting the light it deserves.
I agree entirely. I had a big argument with Jonathan Culler once about the value of teaching the Bible. He (and many others in the Academy) believe that religion is the source of all evil and should not be taught or even mentioned. I pointed out that as a scholar of western literature he couldn’t very well do his job if he wasn’t well versed in the contents of the Bible himself. My position isn’t that we ought to allow proselytizing in the classrooms of secular universities, rather that, as you say, any person wanting to be educated in western culture needs this sort of grounding.
The kind of questions they ask are trivia, rather than critical religious knowledge, and they are spread over multiple religions. Definitely not focusing on the Bible itself. But hey, since when have polemic attacks and webcomics been the great bastions of accuracy?
From my personal experience, many atheist polemics think they know a lot about the Bible – they cite plenty of stuff they read on some polemic site. But the majority display just how shallow their reading is if you know even the most basic apologetics.
Professor, as you are an expert on Biblical literature, I was wondering if you have any insights on several trivial, but interesting questions I’ve been pondering.
A sample: 2) The faces of Ezekiel’s living creatures
Ezekiel 1:10-11 list the faces as man, lion, ox and eagle. In Ezekiel 10, the same creatures are spotted again, but this time with the faces of cherub, lion, man and eagle.
The ox face has been replaced by the cherub face, yet Ezekiel says that these are the same creatures he saw in Ezekiel 1.
I’ll have to admit that the “revelation/revelations” mistake is one I have often made in my life. I think it’s like when we go to “Lucky’s” grocery store, versus, “Lucky”. “Lucy’s” just sounds better. 🙂 I’m a seminary teacher for our youth, and I still make dumb mistakes like that. lol
bah…mispelled. “LUcky’s” sounds better.