Losing Our Religion

4 comments March 14th, 2007at 11:37pm Posted by Eli

Digby posts a CNN transcript about how lots of Americans don’t even know who wrote the four Gospels of the New Testament, despite this being a Christian nation and all:

CHETRY: …Now, I thought that one was pretty easy. For the record, tell us.

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT: I thought it was pretty easy, too.

For the record, they’re Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but surprisingly it was the question that most people had difficulty with, Kiran.

CHETRY: All right. So what were some of the other findings, Delia, about — because the vast majority of people asked say they are religious, and many Christians don’t necessarily know the specifics of the bible.

GALLAGHER: Yes. Well, you know, a lot of people will say they believe, and they are Christian, and they are practicing, but when it comes to really knowing your bible or even knowing about other religions, we found that a lot of people don’t have a great breadth of knowledge about their history and their religious history.

This is terrible! How on earth can CNN salvage this embarrassing state of affairs?

CHETRY: Hey, does this sort of reopen the debate about whether we should be teaching religion in schools?

GALLAGHER: Well, this is part of the point that the author makes in his book. He blames the fact that were are religiously illiterate on the fact that in our schools we do not teach the bible either as history or as literature in any way.

The problem, of course, with that, as he points out, is that people are afraid to do this, because you will find yourself in court if you try to teach it, but not preach it. You know, there’s a fine line between those two. And in our public school system, that is something that the schools are really afraid to get into, and one of the reasons why kids today and adults aren’t getting any kind of bible history.

As Digby points out, um, isn’t this what the churches are supposed to? Shouldn’t this be, like, their whole raison d’etre? Or is there supposed to be some sort of trade, where the church charities do the work that the government’s supposed to be doing, and the government does the work the churches are supposed to be doing?

My own personal theory is that the lack of religious teaching in churches is deliberate, at least in right-wing churches. Because if their parishioners really knew that Jesus stood for love, peace, compassion, and tolerance, it would undermine every single one of the religious right’s political goals.

Entry Filed under: Religion,Republicans

4 Comments

  • 1. PoliShifter  |  March 15th, 2007 at 12:05 am

    “My own personal theory is that the lack of religious teaching in churches is deliberate, at least in right-wing churches. Because if their parishioners really knew that Jesus stood for love, peace, compassion, and tolerance, it would undermine every single one of the religious right’s political goals. ”

    I didn’t quite get through your whole post before I was hitting the comment button and I was going to say something along the very lines as what you said above.

    The last thing the ultrawingnuts in this country want is for their followers to read and comprehend the words of Christ. If they did that, they would see not just the hypocrisy of their religious leaders but also the blatant anti-Crhistian message they spew coupled with hatred.

    Chist didn’s say one word about homosexuals or abortion. Crhist did hang out with the sinners because after all as he reasoned it is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. Christ loved everyone and judged no one, a message that he preached.

    This is a far cry from what the radical evangelical churches teach today. Which gets back exactly to your point. Churches od not teach the true teachings of Christ. They selectively use the Bible (old and new testaments) to further their own personal beliefs and political agendas.

  • 2. Interrobang  |  March 15th, 2007 at 3:53 am

    Holy cow, and here I was last night lying in my bed trying to remember if I know the Hebrew words for the books of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament)… Just to make the context perfectly clear, I’m an atheist, my family are Anglicans and Presbyterians, and Hebrew is my fifth language.

    These religious people are such slackers.

    Just having checked, no, I didn’t know all the terms. I was missing two. They are:

    Genesis = Bereshit; Exodus = Shemot; Leviticus = Vayikra; Numbers = Bamidbar; Deuteronomy = Devarim.

    The only reason I was wondering whether I knew the terms was that I’d heard it’s a common question asked by Customs in Israel, and I had been thinking about visiting a friend in Tel Aviv. I vaguely feel badly that I haven’t yet been able to keep my promise to swim across the Sea of Galillee (Lake Kinneret) with him yet…

  • 3. Glenn  |  March 15th, 2007 at 6:34 am

    Man, you are so right in your conclusion. I admit I didn’t realize most of the right-wing churches did this; but the Catholic Church certainly did and does. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools until my last two years of high school. The last book the teachers would ever let you read was the Bible.

    They knew that it undermines authority. It’s seditious. It leads one to raise questions and then to think for oneself. Like the fruit of the forbidden tree it opens your eyes to the knowledge of good and evil.

  • 4. Eli  |  March 15th, 2007 at 10:13 am

    See, the absolute *last* thing the religious right’s leaders want is for their folloowers to recognize their resemblance to the Pharisees. The NT was actually *warning* people about religious hypocrites.

    Really, the Republican Party is an alliance of Pharisees and money lenders; Jesus would be their MORTAL ENEMY.


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