Can This Class Be Saved? Bible Course Teaches That Adam and Eve Were Actual Historical People

How inappropriate for public schools is the new Bible course curriculum from Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit created by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green? As Mark Chancey, a biblical scholar at Southern Methodist University, points out in his review of The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact, the curriculum echoes Green’s belief in the Bible’s complete literal and historical accuracy. From Prof. Chancey’s review:

The curriculum … follows Green’s lead by strongly affirming the Bible’s complete accuracy. For example, it presents Adam, Eve, and all other biblical characters unambiguously as historical personages. It frames stories of God’s interactions with various characters in such a way as to suggest that those passages, too, reflect historical events. (“Was Moses mentally unstable? No. His titanic swings of emotion and behavior sprang from his special call to stand in the gap between God and the people.”) “Travel through Time” sections found throughout the book encourage students to read biblical passages not only as reflections of the ancient cultures that produced them, but also as accurate historical accounts. The book also unquestioningly affirms traditional claims about the authorship of biblical books (i.e., Mosaic authorship of the Torah) without alerting students to the fact that much of the scholarly community as well as many Jews and Christians reject such claims for many books.

Chancey reviewed the new curriculum for the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. Click here for the review, Can This Class Be Saved? The ‘Hobby Lobby’ Public School Bible Curriculum, and his other reports on public school Bible courses for the TFN Education Fund.

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9 Comments

  1. Rhonda
    Posted June 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    It will be a wonderful world when ALL adults stop believing the myth that there is a god. I look forward to the day that ALL adults understand science and teach our children the truth about our universe and how the planets came to be. The idea that we humans need some god is due to ancient peoples wanting to find a way to control the masses. There is no god, there is no heaven, there is no hell. We have this planet thanks to the big bang.

  2. Charles
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    We know now FOR CERTAIN that creation did not unfold historically or scientifically the way it is set forth in the Book of Genesis, and it did not happen across six 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago—unless God lied to us and made everything look billions of years old when it is really not.

    The two creation tales in Genesis are most likely parables that teach spiritual ideas and principles, like the many parables Jesus told to teach spiritual ideas and principles.

    One could say that the origin of all the things on Earth, including man, was a subject SO IMPORTANT that God would have been remiss in not telling mankind the correct historical story and how He went about doing the creation.

    People forget that the ancient Israeli people were nomad herders with only a very primitive level of knowledge compared to what we know today. God would not have told them the correct historical and scientific stories for two good reasons:

    1) They had no basis or context for understanding the organic chemistry, moleculat biology, etc. It would have all sounded like meaningless jibberish to the Jewish people—and it would have been jibberish to them.

    2) God demands that people accept him by FAITH rather than by sight (what is known). If a 6,000-year-old scroll chocked full of modern organic chemistry, molecular biology, and calculus equations that fully and accurately describe creation (even things we do not know today about it), it would be prima facie evidence that God exists. At that point God’s existence would be KNOWN and FAITH would no longer be possible or needed.

    God knew that he had to tell two simple creation parables that could be readily absorbed by primitive minds holding only minimal and often false knowledge of the world around them. Compared to what we know today, these people and their knowledge was “child-like.” And in the Bible, God has given us his own operative principle as to why He was telling this creation parable to these child-like people:

    “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Corinthians 13:11)

    The past 200 years have seen God’s numerous revelations of how He really made all things through modern science. When Charles Darwin was born, God was saying: “It is NOW time to put away childish things because I have a better story—and soon you will all have the level of knowledge necessary to UNDERSTAND it.”

    And so it was. God is not stupid. Only Christian fundamentalists insist on remaining ignorant and stupid after God’s revealed scientific knowledge is set right in front of their noses.

    • Alison Reid
      Posted June 10, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Charles – I don’t buy your theory that civilization at the time was too primitive to understand many things we know to be true now, so therefore God made inaccurate stuff up for comprehension-sake. That could have been a middle ground, where things were reasonably accurate and still easy to understand.

      For example some things could have been written this way:
      1) All that we know and see began at a single point and exploded with such a great force it scattered across the infinite darkness sprinkling it with suns and moons and massive rocks with ice and water (note – this is my attempt at describing planets in a primitive way), and balls of mist (gas).

      2) It took a vast amount of time to spread it out and it reached so far away, at such massive distances, that almost all of the suns, moons, huge rocks with ice and water, and balls of gas in existence cannot be seen with the human eye.

      3) Man can only see an infinitesimal portion of this creation. It is like only seeing only one grain of sand and not being able to see all the other grains of sand in the desert. That much exists and is unseen in the vast space.

      4) Each star in the firmament are distant suns much like the one in our sky.

      5) Our big sun stays in one place and has many things circling around it including the earth.

      5) Although the land may look flat to man’s eyes, it really is a sphere so vast the curve is almost undetectable.

      6) This sphere is suspended in the sky and spins. This spinning creates day and night. When the part of the sphere is facing the sun, it is day. When it faces away form the sun, it is night.

      7) An invisible force keeps everything on earth, so it will not spin off into the firmament.

      8) There are 8 large spheres that circle the sun, including earth.

      I could go on, but you get the point. I don’t think anything I written would be beyond comprehension for a simpler mind. And it reasonably scientifically accurate, well at least far more accurate compared to what’s in the bible now.

      So I don’t buy your theory, and respectfully call you out as an apologist.

      • Charles
        Posted June 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Whatever.

      • Doc Bill
        Posted June 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        In short, Alison, you are totally wrong. But, it can be fixed. Basically it boils down to this: you can’t understand ancient civilizations if you view them through a modern lens.

        Yes, the Greeks were smart. Yes, the Egyptians were smart. They did wonderful stuff. However, they did not have a framework for building knowledge that we call science. And about the natural world, compared to us, they knew diddly squat.

        All religious texts are based on myths and legends including the famous “and there was light.” Sure you start with light. Why? Because “light” and the “sun” were considered to be two different things. Alchemy was not chemistry. Astrology was not astronomy. Both alchemy and astrology were forms of practiced magic, not systematic methods of collating information about the world.

        The “knowledge” of the ancients was rudimentary at best and mostly wrong collectively. A fourth grader in today’s society could know more than Aristotle did in his entire lifetime.

        So, don’t get all soppy about the “wisdom of the ancients.” They got more wrong than right.

        • Charles
          Posted June 11, 2014 at 4:11 am | Permalink

          Thanks Bill. For a guy who ain’t got degrees in anthropology or archaeology, you sure do know your stuff.

          • Doc Bill
            Posted June 11, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            Question of the Day: Why did Romans who fell out with the government elect to commit suicide rather than a quick execution?

            Answer: Inheritance rights. If you committed suicide then your family and slaves could inherit your estate. If you were executed then the government confiscated everything. It was a sign of honor to be given the choice.

            Annals of Imperial Rome. Who knew, right? It’s all there in old books, contemporaneous books. Of the millions of ordinary ancients who lived and died we only “know” of a few of them. The cream of the crop, so to speak. It’s not a representative sampling. Most ancients were born, lived and died within a ten mile radius. “Over the hill” was a dangerous place, possibly another kingdom and you’d have to be crazy to go there.

            So, to pretend that the ancients who sat around fires at night telling myths, tales and ghost stories had any real inkling of how the world actually worked is simply wishful thinking.

  3. NikkiDove
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    What I have done is replace Moses with Hercules and God with Zeus in that sentence. If it sounds utterly ridiculous then perhaps it is not taught in a method befitting a public school. To someone who was raised secular like me that curriculum appears to be some sort of Evangelical Sunday School lesson.

  4. abb3w
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    That they summarily reject the conjecture that Moses suffered from bipolar disorder without discussing the balance of evidence would seem to be a serious flaw to the work.

    Of course, working for an omnipotent narcissist might well make someone seem manic/depressive; but that leaves the question of how does an outside observer tell someone who’s crazy from someone being brow-beaten by a deity?

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