Dawkins Wants Kids to Read the Bible May 21, 2012Posted by cantueso in Bible.
Isn’t it a little late in the game? He says the children should read “the Bible”. The laws? The stories about wars? Or how King David arranged things to be able to marry Bathsheba?
He wants us all to realize that the Bible is a “literary masterpiece” and that we owe to it much of our language and even some of our institutions and ideas.
Now: how much Bible do you have to read to be able to think that deep? Can children do it? Without context? Against the views of their elders who would rather stick by Dawkins’ simpler set of slogans?
Very few people can read “The Bible”. I have never personally met any who could. The legal sections are from another world. The war stories do not make sense without geography. Saint Augustine who was famous as a scholar said that he could not read Isaiah: it was too hard for him. I myself cannot read the New Testament though as a Catholic I am supposed to know it. Besides, people who are able to read “The Bible” would likely also read Shakespeare with great ease; are you one of those? The poetry is similar as to difficulty: wild metaphor, breaking linguistic fetters, surrealism, frequent change of focus.
Not everything is difficult. The Creation, the Flood, and especially Joseph in Egypt are great stories to tell the children, but teachers and parents are very busy elsewhere and have anyway very massively been told it is mostly “lies”.
So I wonder. Dawkins says that many people believe the Bible is a guide to morality which would have motivated the Conservative party donors to finance the distribution of The Book.
I live in Catholic Spain where I found out that until recently the Bible has been prohibited reading for the general public ever since it became widely available via the printing presses and the translations. However, in Spain just like elsewhere in Europe, the Bible has been the foundation of all daily life all along the last 2000 years through art, architecture, philosophy, wars, and through all the great festivities.
Dawkins’ article was published yesterday in the British newspaper The Guardian at http://tinyurl.com/bvwh5ou