Holy Bible In Public Schools…

Judeo-Christian values are the foundation of Western society. This immutable fact cannot be intelligently refuted, yet it remains a belabored point nonetheless. It’s an argument had every couple of years, or whenever a politician or special interest group, motivated by piety or not, demand that the 10 Commandments be displayed inside public institutions. 

Of course, replicas of stone tablets are only part of the story. People want prayer murals and crosses stripped from public property, too. And the mention of God in the public schools? Ha! I’ll bet most schools don’t even teach kids that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian minister.

Does the First Amendment read “freedom OF religion” or “freedom FROM religion,” I ponder. It’s hard to tell anymore.

Regardless, I’m going to press on. I’m going to argue that the Holy Bible be taught in every public school across the country. And for a good reason: It is the foundation of Western society. Children should know who we are, what we want, and where we come from. To deny them this knowledge is like blacking out the faces of crazy aunts and uncles in the family picture album. It might float for awhile, but eventually the kids are going to wonder whose face that is…

What do you think? Should the Holy Bible be taught in public schools as part of a civics class?

Comments

  1. Apparently there is an organization which lobbies and provides curricula for the bible in public high schools as an elective. (http://www.bibleinschools.net/) It has been deemed legal and constitutional. I’m all for it, (but I might be biased) if for nothing else than to be familiar with its content given its thick cultural permeation.

  2. Yes, let’s teach the Koran as the inerrant word of god. The Book of Mormon claims to be the “most correct” religious book; maybe we should use it instead. The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment is a clear indication that I have freedom “from” religion, while you rightly have freedom “of” religion, but the freedom of religion is in your homes, churches, or other public areas open to anyone. See, http://www.godisimaginary.com. See also, http://www.evilbible.com. I’m not certain you want the “evil” parts of the Bible taught in school. But, go for it, because I will make sure the entire Bible is read, not just the feel-good parts.

    • Daniel, Godisimaginary is a joke and a pitiful example of arguments against God. I began rebutting their 50 “arguments” and they became too wasteful of time, theyre nonsense.

      But Terrance doesnt seem to be advocating it be taught as a religion class (like sunday school at churches), or like a church service making any claims as to whether it is true or inerrant. You are creating a strawman here in exaggerating his post. Kids ought to know that the American culture and society had its foundation in a thoroughly Christian religion. It is the history of the country.

      • Hi John, how about sending a link to your “rebuttal?”

        Try rebutting the Bible. Go to http://www.evilbible.com and rebut what the Bible itself says. Or better yet, read the Bible yourself. The Bible clearly says things like god murdered everyone on Earth (including “men, women, children, and infants”) in a “great flood” or killed the First Born of the Egyptians, which also includes “men, women, children, and infants.”

        The “its history” subterfuge is just a sneaky way of trying to get Christianity taught in schools. Or, better yet, you can teach your own children about the Bible and its history or your preferred religious book, leaving the state out of it. I presume you probably have a Sunday School every Sunday to teach your brand of the Bible. Put your Sunday School in the government schools, then I have a problem.

        I’m not opposed to teaching elective religion courses in the colleges because by then the students are adults, and hopefully have better thinking skills.

        • Are you implying Ive never read it, or its complaints? The trouble is, you will dismiss any explanation I have as to why evilbible’s interpretations are faulty.

          https://siftingreality.com/series/

          I stopped at 13, because the complaints were getting ridiculous and other sites have offered rebuttals, but theres mine

          • Thank your for your “rebuttals” link.

            Actually, I disagree with some things said in the evilbible.com website, but I can’t logically argue against what the Bible says itself. The Evil Bible website just puts most of the evil parts of the Bible in one place, so you don’t have to search all over the Bible to find the Bible references yourself.

            I would have a big problem with a god, if it actually existed, murdering everyone on Earth, except eight people, by a great flood.

            I might rebut your rebuttals if I get time (not here). For example, you claim that god is not at our “beck and call” (which is just another baseless claim to make the Bible always be right or “unfalsifiable” or circular reasoning) but the New Testament says that what you ask in faith will be given you (of course, the Bible even has a cop-out there too–you just don’t have enough faith even though it need only be the size of a mustard seed, so of course, the Bible is still “true”). Another problem with prayer is that you can’t distinguish a “no” (god is not at your beck and call) from god being imaginary.

  3. I agree, Terrance – let’s begin with a concise review of the Old Testament.

    This should be required viewing in both schools and churches.
    Thoughts?

  4. TerranceH says:

    Daniel,

    The Qu’ran should be taught where it’s influenced society. It hasn’t had an influence in the foundation of the United States, nor has the Book of Mormon, so neither should be taught.

    The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment is a clear indication that I have freedom “from” religion, while you rightly have freedom “of” religion, but the freedom of religion is in your homes, churches, or other public areas open to anyone.

    The establishment clause of the First Amendment says no such thing. If what you say is true, then why do so many State Constitutions invoke God? Why did George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation revolve, entirely, around God?

    Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

    Quite clearly, the Founders never intended “freedom FROM religion.” That is a late 20th Century notion, and an incorrect one to boot.

    I’m not certain you want the “evil” parts of the Bible taught in school. But, go for it, because I will make sure the entire Bible is read, not just the feel-good parts.

    Let This Serve As A Response To zqtx as well

    The “evil” parts of the Bible are so by whose standards? Yours? How subjective and arbitrary. I think abortion is evil. Do you?

    Furthermore, let me reiterate something John said: I’m not advocating that the Bible be taught as part of a religious class. No. I’m advocating it be taught as part of a history class, because it served as the foundation of Western society, whether you like or not.

    Please list any “evil parts of the Bible” and I will go about justifying them. And when I’m done, nobody will be able to intelligently refer to these actions as “evil.”

    If you’re ready for a good history lesson, please, state your objections to the Bible.

  5. TerranceH says:

    John,

    The problem with quote mining websites like “www.evilbible.com” is that no perspective is offered.

    If I tell you that today I slapped my wife, drank a gallon, and walked out on my crying baby, you’d think I was a jerk…

    But what if I added some perspective? What if I told you I slapped a mosquito on my wife’s arm, drank a gallon of lemonade, and walked out on my crying baby so I could make him a bottle with which to soothe him?

    Perspective is everything. The quote-mining websites listed here provide none at all.

  6. TerranceH says:

    List your specific objections, Daniel. Stop dancing around the issue and please make an argument.

  7. Daniel, The establishment clause is as clear as the very few words that make it up. “Congress shall make no law respecting an ESTABLISHMENT of religion…”.

    Establish: 6 : to make (a church) a national or state institution.

    I use this definition, because it is clear that it was what was on the minds of the founders at the time. It was deemed necessary that we not have a “Church of The United States”, and no more was meant than that.

    It would seem to me that keeping mention of any religion out of any discussion anywhere would be a violation of the next part of the first amendment: “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”.

    Either way, teaching that x, y, or z religion is the basis for a, b, or c civilization can neither be said to be establishing nor practicing religion, so doing so, if it’s true, should be seen as good education.

    Do we teach about the motivations of Nazis? Sure we do. And why not? Does it follow that teaching that subject is an establishment (by congress) of Nazism? It would be hard to make that case, and I doubt that you would jump at the chance. Yet, regarding teaching the Judeo-Christian basis of our society, calling it a violation of the establishment clause rolls off your tounge as easily as if you were saying that the sky is blue.

    When teaching about Iran, I’d expect that Islam would come up. As it should. Other religions’ regional influence should absolutely be part of a cariculum. But, what are we to teach about the founding of America? Anything but the influence of Judeo-Christian beliefs, because that (and no mention of any other religion, apparently) would be “establishing” religion.

    Suspiciously selective, I’d say.

  8. TerranceH says:

    Excellent point, Conservative2Cents.

  9. paynehollow says:

    John…

    I’ll bet most schools don’t even teach kids that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian minister.

    I’d take that bet and imagine you would lose. Facts are facts and I’m not sure that there are that many teachers or school systems that advocate hiding facts. My brother, there is no vast atheist conspiracy to deny facts in public schools. What people – including folk like traditional Southern Baptists – are wanting is simple balance and respect. I/we don’t want schools used for proselytizing, it’s just not the place.

    Teach facts (Jefferson was a theist, not a Christian in the modern evangelical sense of the word; that the Constitutional authors were influenced by Locke, the Bible and some Christian tradition, the Iroquois nation and other sources; the cultural influences of the early settlers – the problems of some states coming too close to pushing a state religion and the pushback by other people of faith against that idea; that the Civil Rights movement was greatly influenced by some churches and opposed by other churches; etc, etc, etc)…? Absolutely. But I just don’t know what “teaching the Bible” in school would look like and almost certainly would be opposed to that. As a Christian.

  10. Dan,

    Are you suggesting that the existence of God is not a fact?

    And Jefferson most certainly considered himself a Christian:

    “On April 21, 1803, Jefferson wrote this to Dr. Benjamin Rush (also a signer of the Declaration of Independence):

    “My views…are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from the anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.””

  11. marshalant

    “Are you suggesting that the existence of God is not a fact? ”

    Since it hasn’t been proved, it isn’t a fact.

    “not a Christian in the modern evangelical sense of the word”
    “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished any one to be”

    That could be pretty different. That depends on what is considered as a Christian.

    Someones can consider that Christians are the ones who follow the doctrine of Paul instead of the doctrine of Jesus
    Someones can consider that Christian doctrine says that salvation can only be achieved by believing Jesus is the Christ whereas it isn’t so according to the doctrine of Jesus (Luke 10:25-37)

  12. Here’s the thing – this is not our grandfathers’ America. I do NOT want the Bible taught in the government school system, no do I want anything Christian in the government system. Two reasons: 1) it would be taught horrendously, out of context, abused, etc. 2) with today’s PC culture, you’d have to give the same recognition to the Qur’an, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, and every other cultic and false religious belief system.

    Teach our children at home and in church (mostly in home, since the church overall doesn’t do a good job). Have our children so well taught in our faith that nothing in the government system will cause them the least bit of doubt. Make them excellent apologists. And, better yet, leave the government school system to the pagans and the liberals – including liberal so-called Christians!

  13. paynehollow says:

    Hey, look! Glenn and I agree completely on something…

    I do NOT want the Bible taught in the government school system…

    1) it would be taught horrendously, out of context, abused…

    or at least partially agree, if not for all of the same reasons.

    ~Dan

    (What’s with WordPress not allowing me to use my own name??)

    Marshall…

    “Are you suggesting that the existence of God is not a fact? ”

    isu…

    Since it hasn’t been proved, it isn’t a fact.

    I happen to hold the OPINION that God factually exists. But, IN FACT, I can not prove it. It is an unproven opinion that will, one day, be realized to be factual. In the meantime, your opinion, my opinion, the hindi’s opinion, the muslim’s opinion, the zoroastrian’s opinion about the existence of our God/god is not a demonstrably proven fact.

    If God exists (as some of us believe) it IS a fact in the Merriam Webster sense of…

    “something that has actual existence”

    However, in the meantime, God’s existence is our opinion, not a fact, in the more general sense of…

    “A thing that is indisputably the case.”

    The thing is, Marshall, I don’t want you teaching my kids your interpretation of God’s existence, your opinions about what God does and doesn’t think, as if they were facts. You’re welcome to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Especially in a school setting.

    But, I’ll repeat my question: What would “teaching Bible in school” look like to you? Whose interpretations will we use? Whose Bible? Whose theology? Who will get to decide if this teacher (David Koresh, for instance) or that teacher (Mitt Romney, for instance) or some other teacher is teaching the curriculum correctly? Who will set the curriculum?

    I think you’d have all kinds of problems if I were teaching your kids “the Bible,” but you tell me. And, if you don’t want ME teaching them the Bible (a Christian in the orthodox understanding of the term), then are you going to want a pagan or Muslim or Zoroastrian teaching them the Bible?

  14. I’d take that bet and imagine you would lose. Facts are facts and I’m not sure that there are that many teachers or school systems that advocate hiding facts.

    You addressed your remark to John, payne, yet it was me who wrote the article. John allows me to contribute to this blog once in awhile.

    Now, to your response…

    The part regarding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hyperbole. And I assume your notion that school systems don’t hide facts is also hyperbole. I don’t know how old you are, but I graduated high school in 2003. It wasn’t THAT long ago, and I can tell you without hesitation that the level of leftwing bias in public schools is nauseating.

    And not for nothing but I don’t recall ever learning in school about King’s Christian ministry. I didn’t know what the “Dr.” stood for until college.

    My brother, there is no vast atheist conspiracy to deny facts in public schools. What people – including folk like traditional Southern Baptists – are wanting is simple balance and respect. I/we don’t want schools used for proselytizing, it’s just not the place.

    There is no balance in the public school system. I’ll provide one example….Evolution. Most people accept it has a 100% proven fact, but anyone who has ever taken a college level biology class knows that evolution is not absolute. There are many problems with natural selection and the fossil record, but public schools sweep these under the rug and teach it as fact.

    Furthermore, nobody could intelligently infer from my commentary that I advocate proselytizing in public schools. I do advocate, however, that the Holy Bible be taught as part of a history or civics class. It is the foundation of Western society, for crying out loud, so how could it not be important enough to explore academically?

    And to suggest, as you have, that the founding of this nation was only partially influenced by Christianity is scandalously asinine, if you don’t mind my saying so.

  15. And Thomas Jefferson isn’t the only Founding Father, so why we’re stuck on his religious persuasion is beyond me…

  16. And there is no since in delving deep into the Christian foundation of this nation to prove it, since John Barron himself has written on it numerous times. It’s all available on this blog for your perusal.

  17. paynehollow

    Regarding “fact”, I was using the standard definition:
    “a thing that is known or proved to be true”

    “something that has actual existence” and “A thing that is indisputably the case.” refer to “existent” which is different from “fact”.

  18. I appreciate that definition of “fact,” Isu. It’s going to come in handy in my own discussion with Payne. Much obliged, sir.

  19. paynehollow says:

    Terrance: Apologies for not noticing who was doing the writing. Thanks for the correction.

    Terrance…

    The part regarding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was hyperbole. And I assume your notion that school systems don’t hide facts is also hyperbole. I don’t know how old you are, but I graduated high school in 2003. It wasn’t THAT long ago, and I can tell you without hesitation that the level of leftwing bias in public schools is nauseating.

    I graduated many, many years ago (1981) and at the time was a conservative young fella and did not find there to be an amazing amount of liberal bias. I was briefly a teacher (1994-1998, counting student teaching) and can tell you that at the time there was not any huge amount of liberal bias (indeed, from my perspective at the time, I found there to be a disconcerting amount of conservative bias). I have had children in public schools for the last 15 years and I have had dear friends who were teachers throughout the years and I can tell you that it’s insulting if you’re suggesting that teachers would hide facts. Of course, they wouldn’t.

    Teacher bashing is no way to be taken seriously, in the circles that I travel. While there are always exceptions and bad apples, teachers are by and large amongst the best, most decent and dedicated people I know – and that’s true for more conservative as well as more liberal teachers.

    I’m glad to hear that you were not serious when making such a nutty sounding charge, but I’d think if you’re going to engage in hyperbole, you’d do better to make that clear.

    Terrance…

    And not for nothing but I don’t recall ever learning in school about King’s Christian ministry.

    Then I’m sorry that you had a poor education coming from your teachers who were, no doubt, both conservative and liberal, as well as moderate. Or are you making the claim that you ONLY had liberal teachers?? That would be rather hard to believe, defying what one would expect from just a law of averages expectation. I would imagine teachers tend to be a reasonable cross-section of society. In fact, according to at least one analysis, they tend to be more conservative, which would correspond with my fairly in-depth experience in public schools in a variety of roles (student, teacher, parent, friend of teachers, etc).

    So, IF you never heard that King was a minister (and really, that’s so tragic that it’s almost impossible to believe), then you probably have conservative teachers to blame for that as much as anything.

    Terrance…

    There is no balance in the public school system.

    Well, you’re welcome to your hunches, but research (as what I just cited above) suggests that, if anything, teachers tend to be more conservative. You’re welcome to your own opinions, but not your own facts. Do you doubt the research cited above?

    And again, I ask you, what does “teaching the Bible in school” look like to you? WHO will do the teaching and WHAT will they teach and WHO will decide what Bible teaching to teach? Are you suggesting that schools hire a team of conservative evangelical Christian folk to create the curriculum for your school-based Bible study?

    What does it look like?

    And again, this is Dan Trabue. For some reason, I can’t post on WordPress and use my actual name. When I try setting it up and using my own name, it fails for some reason.

    ??

    No doubt, user error on my end, but I can’t figure it out.

    • Trabue,
      I really wish you’d get a new cliche – You’re welcome to your own opinions, but not your own facts. is getting really old, especially when you use it to say facts are only hunches or opinions. you wouldn’t know a fact if it hit you.

      I graduated in 1970 and the government school was liberal then. My kids were in public schools from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s and the government schools were even more liberal. And evolution was always taught as fact – and it’s a bald faced lie!

      Government schools are just getting worse nationwide. While there may be some local school districts which don’t always toe the NEA and Democratic line, they are few and far between.

  20. paynehollow says:

    Isu…

    “something that has actual existence” and “A thing that is indisputably the case.” refer to “existent” which is different from “fact”.

    IF God exists and IF you find out one day that this is true, then it WILL be a fact that God exists, right?

    And your lack of belief or acceptance that God exists now does not make God’s existence now less a fact. Am I correct?

    Or, looking at it another way: If unicorns factually exist and someone says, “It is a FACT that unicorns exist,” that person will be correct, right? That you or I don’t believe in the fact (because it isn’t objectively provable) doesn’t change its factual existence, right?

    That’s all I’m saying.

    ~Dan

  21. I have had children in public schools for the last 15 years and I have had dear friends who were teachers throughout the years and I can tell you that it’s insulting if you’re suggesting that teachers would hide facts. Of course, they wouldn’t.

    I’m not suggesting that all teachers knowingly hide facts. I’m suggesting that teachers are trained in biased settings. Colleges are notoriously leftwing. Of course, people have some conservative options as well: Hillsdale College, Liberty University, Regent University, to name a few. But then again, how far would a Regent University degree get you in the public school system? Though it’s a fully accredited institution, it gets about as much respect as a degree from Bob Jones University, another fully accredited institution. Conservative Christian colleges get very little respect because of the leftwing bias in academia.

    Then I’m sorry that you had a poor education coming from your teachers who were, no doubt, both conservative and liberal, as well as moderate.

    I have a seventh-grade civics textbook sitting on my bookshelf. It was published in 2004 by McGraw-Hill. I purchased it as a damaged item from a school auction in town. There is a chapter on Martin Luther King Jr., but there is no mention of his Christian faith. I didn’t think to look at it until you decided to make an issue out of what was, obviously, a sarcastic statement. But it seems I was right…

    Or are you making the claim that you ONLY had liberal teachers??

    In high school, absolutely. It was painfully obvious.

    That would be rather hard to believe, defying what one would expect from just a law of averages expectation.

    I suggest something like 80% of public school teachers vote Democrat. There is no real way to prove this one way or the other, but it’s my guess based on my recent experience. Your experience is rather outdated.

    Well, you’re welcome to your hunches, but research (as what I just cited above) suggests that, if anything, teachers tend to be more conservative.

    You didn’t cite anything but a news article. The analysis they cite is not available for review because the page does not exist. And since I am not able to review the information firsthand, how do I know religious or private school teachers weren’t disproportionately represented? We’re talking about public schools, Dan. Find me the study itself so I can see the methodology.

    If you’re a teacher, you should know better.

    Do you doubt the research cited above?

    Yes.

    I suggest the Bible be taught by people educated in its function as the foundation of Western society. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • By the way, I wouldn’t call Martin Luther King a Christian any more than I’d call Dan Trabue or Jim Wallis a Christian. He taught the social gospel, and perhaps even black liberation theology lite.

  22. I understand Glenn’s fears, but I don’t understand your objection, Dan. If you admit, as surely anyone with even a modicum of historical knowledge would, that the Holy Bible served as the foundation of Western society, the cornerstone if you will, then why do you object to it being taught in the public schools? The Constitution and Declaration of Independence are taught rather extensively, while the Magna Carta, the Federalist, and Anti-Federalist papers are summarized. But there is no mention at all of the Holy Bible. Why?

    If you’re a teacher, Dan, and you’re so concerned with ensuring children have a good, well-rounded education, then what is your objection? Are you afraid, like Glenn, that the book’s integrity will be called into question by leftwing teachers? What, precisely, is your objection?

  23. And surely, Dan, as an educated teacher, you know that the Bible was widely taught in public elementary schools in the 1800s, right?

    And surely, Dan, as an educated teacher, you’ve read Justice Jackson’s concurring opinion in McCollum v. Board of Education: “One can hardly respect the system of education that would leave the student wholly ignorant of the currents of religious thought that move the world society for … which he is being prepared,”

    And you must know that Justice Tom C. Clark wrote in the 1963 Abington School District v. Schempp decision: “Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment,”

    Since we know that early American public schools taught the Bible, and that this is consistent with the First Amendment, according to two Supreme Court decisions, then I fail to understand your objection.

  24. paynehollow says:

    My objection is that it is not the proper place for teaching the Bible.
    My objection is that teachers should strive to teach all kids, not just those from Christian families or those who want the Bible to be taught in school.
    My biggest objection is that teachers in general aren’t trained to teach the Bible. Again, are YOU okay with a pagan teaching the Bible? A Catholic? A snake-handling Baptist? A Quaker? A Mormon? A Muslim? You want people from all backgrounds teaching the Bible? In what course? History? Math? A special bible class?

    Which Bible do you want to use? The Catholic one? The Mormon one(s)? The Living Bible? NRSV?

    As a Christian, I object to people who don’t want to teach the Bible being forced to teach it. As a Christian and a parent, I object to just any yahoo teaching the Bible in school.

    There are many many reasons to object it, on CHRISTIAN grounds.

    In my Baptist and anabaptist church history, we strongly favor religious liberty.

  25. My objection is that it is not the proper place for teaching the Bible.

    So the most influential book ever written is not suitable for public schools? Really?

    My objection is that teachers should strive to teach all kids, not just those from Christian families or those who want the Bible to be taught in school.

    Straw man. I am not arguing the Bible be taught as part of religious instruction, but as a historically important influence on Western civilization.

    My biggest objection is that teachers in general aren’t trained to teach the Bible.

    Nor were they trained to teach evolution until they were trained to teach evolution…Nor were they trained to teach the Vietnam War until they were trained to teach the Vietnam War. Etc…

    Again, are YOU okay with a pagan teaching the Bible? A Catholic? A snake-handling Baptist? A Quaker? A Mormon? A Muslim? You want people from all backgrounds teaching the Bible? In what course? History? Math? A special bible class?

    Yes. Perfectly okay with that because they wouldn’t be teaching it as part of religious instruction.

    Which Bible do you want to use? The Catholic one? The Mormon one(s)? The Living Bible? NRSV?

    Clearly the Bible that had the biggest impact on Western civilization, which is likely the King James Version.

    As a Christian, I object to people who don’t want to teach the Bible being forced to teach it.

    Would you be okay with a science teacher refusing to teach evolution because he may not agree with it?

    As a Christian and a parent, I object to just any yahoo teaching the Bible in school.

    Me too. Teachers should be properly trained.

    I love knowledge. I love education. And I want people to be well-rounded. I don’t want something stricken from the textbooks because some crackpot finds it “offensive.” I want works of historical importance taught to our children. To be against that is to be against the pursuit of knowledge.

  26. paynehollow says:

    But of all the important books in the world, why only the Bible?

    Are you suggesting that students should be taught math, science, English and the Bible?

    As I have already said, I have no problem with the Bible being included as part of a class dealing with history or literature. Along with the Koran or the Tibetan Book of the Dead. I just don’t think we should promote one religion over others and I don’t think we have time to dedicate a whole class each day to religious texts.

    So again, what would this class look like? Is it an every day kind of thing? Only in the 9th grade? Only in high school and for one semester? Trying to teach all the books of the Protestant Bible? But not other Holy Texts?

    On what basis?

    What if Catholics object to their Bible being left out? On what basis would you choose only one holy text?

    If you love education and knowledge, then I guess you’re okay with teaching all religious texts? If not, why not?

  27. Dan,

    This began as a sensible discussion among disagreeing Christians (since I’ll take you at your word), but now you’ve galloped gleefully into the absurd.

    But of all the important books in the world, why only the Bible?

    To even suggest there exists another book as important or influential as the Holy Bible is quite simply ludicrous. In comparison to the Bible, there is no other book. The Bible has motivated both heroes and villains, driven Kings to conquer, nations to wage war, and serves as the foundation, the cornerstone, of Western civilization. For God’s literal sake, get ahold of yourself man! No other book is nearly as important or influential as the Holy Bible.

    Furthermore, an understanding of the Bible is wholly necessary for students to be literate of important American ideas and events. When Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Justice rolling down like waters,” he was referencing the Old Testament prophet Amos. When Ronald Reagan talked about “a shining city on a hill,” he was referencing John Winthrop, who in turn was referencing the Gospel of Matthew! Seriously, a partial understanding of the Bible is at least necessary in the understanding of rhetoric, both political and not!

    I just don’t think we should promote one religion over others and I don’t think we have time to dedicate a whole class each day to religious texts.

    Yet another straw man. I am not advocating the Bible be taught as part of religious instruction, but as a book of immense historical importance. No other book – no, not even the Qu’ran – has been so influential. Furthermore, the Holy Bible is the precursor to Prophet Mohammed’s Qu’ran and Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon…

    I don’t know what the class would look like, Dan, since I’m not in the business of writing school curriculum. I do know, however, that the Bible needs to be taught in some form so that students can better understand the world in which we live. A book that influential cannot be kept out academia. It can’t be. It’s much too important.

  28. paynehollow says:

    Terrance…

    To even suggest there exists another book as important or influential as the Holy Bible is quite simply ludicrous.

    To YOU the Bible is a special book. To ME the Bible is a special book, a book above all books. BUT, this is not a theocracy. Not everyone holds the Bible to be a special book.

    On what basis would we establish the bible as a special book? On the basis of our religion/faith traditions? But isn’t that the establishment of religion? (ie, giving special emphasis/support to one tradition and not to others)?

    Terrance…

    In comparison to the Bible, there is no other book.

    But the Mormons think that of their special book. The Muslims think that of their holy text. Millions of people throughout history have been affected by/moved by their holy texts and that truth is not limited to those in the Christian tradition.

    Factually, the Bible does hold an important place in history, but it’s not the only book that does this. On what basis would we promote one holy text over others? Mere popularity? Well, the Chinese holy texts (I Ching?) have probably had more empact simply as a point of numbers of Chinese and longer existence. You seem to be starting from a pretty insulated point of view there.

    The point is, we ought not try to push one religion over the others, not in our public schools. Do you think we ought to do this?

    Teach about the Bible in some form, along with teaching other classic important literature? Yes. Isolate it as a special text above all others? That moves into a violation of religious liberty, which Christians should stand opposed to.

  29. Regarding, Martin Luther King Jr….

    He was a flawed man, but a good man nonetheless. Is his legacy bigger than him? Yes. He was, possibly, a communist sympathizer and adulterer. He was a sinner, like us all. But he was a good man.

  30. Dan,

    I don’t hold the Bible as a special book for strictly religious reasons, and you know that. I’ve said that numerous times. I hold it to be a special book because it is the most important book in human history. It’s level of influence could never be accurately measured because it’s too huge. And I don’t care what anyone says. Nobody can intelligently argue that any book has had such an impact on civilization!

    Until you get that through your head, Dan, then I don’t think there is anything further to be gained from this conversation. You are denying the obvious. What book, in your opinion, has had as big of an impact on human history, particularly Western civilization, than the Holy Bible?

    NONE! Not even Shakespeare!

  31. And you keep talking about pushing religion. Nonsense. It’s not to be taught in a religious perspective, but a historical one! How many times must I say that?

    The straw man is your only salvation in this argument, Dan, and you know it. The fact that the Bible is the religious book of a certain religion does not negate its historical importance. So if some little Muslim kid doesn’t like it being taught, too bad. It’s not being taught as an alternative to Islam. It’s being taught as a book of immense historical importance.

  32. paynehollow says:

    But it is not unique in being a book of immense historical importance.

    Again, I ask you: On what basis are you isolating the Bible alone as a book of immense historical importance?

    • Dan

      Probably for the dozenth or so time: because of the significant role it played with America’s founders and the culture of America. No other religious writ can claim anything close to the bible’s role in this country.

  33. paynehollow says:

    And, of course, I’m not saying the Bible isn’t a book of immense historical value. It DOES have a huge place in especially western history. But western history is not all of history.

    Again, my point seems to be balanced and valid: We can teach about as many important historical books as we can, as well as touch on world religions as they impact society.

    But single out one in public schools? I don’t see any rational or Christian or moral reason to do so.

  34. Dan,

    The Bible absolutely is unique in being the most important book in history. And on what basis? Are you kidding? The basis that it has changed human history innumerable times! The basis that it serves as the foundation for Western society. On the basis that it motivated nations and Kings to war that forever changed the cultural and geographical landscape of this world. My God, what are you smoking, Dan? How can anyone, even an atheist, deny that the Bible has had the GREATEST impact on humanity?

    No sane person, I suggest, could dispute this!

    And you say Western history is not all of history. What? What does that even mean? We live in the West, Dan. If Eastern schools want to teach the Qu’ran or Ii Ching or whatever, fine! Let them! Those books no doubt had a huge impact on their civilization. But the Bible has had a massive impact on human civilization in general, particularly in the West, but also in the East! The Bible has motivated people to war that completely changed the cultural and geographic landscape of nearly every corner of the earth!

  35. paynehollow says:

    How can anyone, even an atheist, deny that the Bible has had the GREATEST impact on humanity?

    Because it is a matter of opinion?

  36. No, Dan, it’s not a matter of opinion! It’s a matter of historical fact. Read your history books.

  37. Dan,

    “IF God exists and IF you find out one day that this is true, then it WILL be a fact that God exists, right?”

    Then it WILL be a fact, but currently it ISN’T a fact.

    “And your lack of belief or acceptance that God exists now does not make God’s existence now less a fact. Am I correct?”

    You aren’t since I don’t lack of belief that God exists.
    Not being “a thing that is known or proved to be true” makes it not being a fact.

    “Or, looking at it another way: If unicorns factually exist and someone says, “It is a FACT that unicorns exist,” that person will be correct, right?”

    Nope. “fact” and “existent” are different.

    “That you or I don’t believe in the fact (because it isn’t objectively provable) doesn’t change its factual existence, right?”

    You are confusing “existent and “fact”

  38. Perhaps Dan’s true concern is that a consensus opinion of how the Bible should be taught in an American History class might result in refutation of his own hunches (read: “preferences”) regarding what lessons the Bible teaches.

    The Bible’s impact on the thoughts and opinions of the founders is without question. It has influenced even those who are now considered “deists”. Thus, the impact on this nation is also without question, except by those who wish it were otherwise.

  39. Isu,
    If God exists, his existence is objectively a fact, regardless of whether or not said existence can be proven to your satisfaction. If He exists now, His existence is a fact, no matter when you acknowledge it.

    Dan,
    I’ve been following this, and can’t understand how you keep missing what is being said. Terrance has been painfully clear about the settings in which the Bible should be taught. Despite the fact that some folks might find it uncomfortable, it really is a fact that the Bible has had an enormous impact on human history. Certainly more so in the west, but not exclusively.

    Terrance,
    I’m not sure if this is completely what you had in mind, but in my son’s AP European history class they have spent a significant amount of time on how Christianity has impacted history in Europe. While not specifically using the Bible, they have dived pretty deep into things like the reformation, and things like that. It seems unarguable that one could separate the influence of the Bible (or Christianity) from any accurate teaching of history. I would argue that that would include instances where the Bible has been misused (the crusades, the inquisition, slavery) as well as where it was a positive influence (the reformation, ending slavery, settling on the US). Honestly I can’t believe that anyone could seriously disagree that understanding the role that the Bible has played in history, including where folks got it wrong and what the Bible really said, is not of value for students to study.

  40. Craig…

    Despite the fact that some folks might find it uncomfortable, it really is a fact that the Bible has had an enormous impact on human history.

    Craig, I can’t understand how you keep missing what is being said. I’ve been painfully clear that I am fine with any and all great literature being discussed in schools. Thus, I’m fine with the I Ching being taught about, I’m fine wiht the Koran being taught about, and I’m fine with the Bible being taught about.

    There is, though, to me, a difference between teaching ABOUT a piece of literature (“The bible contains many great poems and phrases that have had a huge impact upon Western literature and philosophy. For instance, the…” etc, etc) and “Teaching the Bible” or “teaching the Koran.”

    I do not want the Bible or the Koran TAUGHT – which implies to me (and I think others) indoctrination. On the other hand, I’m fine with ALL great literature being taught about.

    But instead of agreeing with this reasonable position, Terrance and others appear to be pushing back, as if to say, “No, I DON’T want other religious books ‘taught,’ only the bible – it is THE ONE religious book that should be ‘taught…'” which again implies that they are wanting to indoctrinate, not educate.

    Education, yes. Indoctrination, no.

    Which is why I keep asking:

    What does this “teaching the Bible” look like to you? and

    On what basis would we choose ONE religious text to promote over all others?

    To answer, “The Bible is a great book” is not much of an answer to the question being asked. I agree it’s a great book. But there are other great books, why just that one religious text and not others, if not for purposes of indoctrination.

    Terrance suggested that he’s all about education and knowledge, but seems to draw the line on education and knowledge at the Christian, evangelical Bible. That suggests an agenda, rather than actual thirst for knowledge and wisdom.

  41. Dan,

    Thanks. I’ve read what Terrance has written, and it appears that he has given you the context under which he feels the Bible should be taught. You may find his context wanting, or lacking in sufficient detail for your taste, and that’s a fine position to take. But he’s answered your question.

    As to your other question, I’ll take a shot.

    “On what basis would we choose ONE religious text to promote over all others?”

    First, I disagree with the premise of your question that what is being discussed is “promoting” one religious text over all others. At least not in the sense of teaching this text is “right” and all others are wrong. It’s been pointed out that that is not what is being called for.

    Second, we live in the U.S. and our founders came from western Europe. Therefore the majority of the history studied in American schools focuses on U.S. and western European history.

    Third, since “other” religious texts played lesser roles than the Bible in providing a philosophical and moral underpinning for western European/American culture, it seems as though focusing on those texts would be somewhat of a waste of time in that context. Obviously, one couldn’t discuss the western expansion of the U.S. without at least a cursory look at the LDS and the book of Mormon. But, that’s a pretty limited instance.

    Fourth, if one was studying the history of the middle east, it would be completely appropriate to look at the Torah, the Talmud, the New Testament, and the Koran, as texts which shaped that part of the world.

    Fifth, since we live in a western European based culture, and since the Bible played a significant role in shaping that culture, it seems only fitting that it would be the text that is given the most attention.

    I certainly hope that I have given you an answer in significant enough detail to satisfy your curiosity

    P.S. In a post 9-11 world, I could see that it would make sense to at least take a look at the Koran in the context of recent history..

  42. Craig

    You are confusing “existent and “fact”.

  43. Isu,

    Two thoughts.

    I quite clearly said that if God exists (is existent) then His existence is an objective fact. There is absolutely no confusion between the two words on my end. My point is, that if God exists, then His existence is objectively factual, regardless of our ability to “prove” it. Or to put it another way. At some point every one of us will know whether God exists or not, but His existence is independent of our knowledge.

    It seems that if something exists, then it’s existence is a fact.

    Now, what’s the point of the “grammar” lesson?

  44. Craig,

    It’s a matter of semantics.
    “fact” is “a thing that is known or proved to be true”
    “existent” is “having reality or existence”

    Something can be existent without being a fact, so your statement that existence implies fact is a non sequitur.

  45. Isu,

    It seems you have made a distinction without a difference. Of course you have identified two words that have different meanings. If I was asserting that the two did mean the same thing then you would be right. The problem is, I’m not asserting what you want me to be asserting. Let’s try an example.

    I am tying this on a computer that exists, I could prove it’s existence if necessary, therefore the existence of the computer is objectively factual.

    So, you can continue into the semantics, or you can deal with the bigger picture.

    Does the fact that we can’t “prove” God exists mean that His existence in not factual?

    FYI many folks would argue that it is possible to prove God’s existence, but for the sake of this discussion it seems pointless to go down that road.

  46. Craig,

    “Does the fact that we can’t “prove” God exists mean that His existence in not factual?”

    No, but it means it’s not a fact.

    The meaning of “factual” is different from the meaning of “fact”.
    “factual” means “concerned with what is actually the case” or “actually occurring”. That hasn’t to do with “fact”.

    • I do want to make one point. It is indeed a fact that God exists, and that he is the God described in the Bible. He is not the god of Islam, of Mormonism, etc. The fact that he exists is proven by He created.

  47. paynehollow says:

    Isu, if there were one and only one definition of “fact,” then you might have a point. But there multiple definitions of Fact in the English language. In the sense you are using it, one could argue that an actual existent Thing is not a fact unless it is provable. In scientific terms then, God’s existence is not factual (ie, it can’t be tested and retested, proven over and over independently).

    But that is not the only definition of the word. Again, Merriam Webster:

    3. the quality of being actual
    4. something that has actual existence

    IF God exists, THEN God has actual existence. In that sense, in the English language, then God’s existence would be a fact.

    Where specifically would we be mistaken? I think the problem here is that you are relying upon one and only one definition, making the mistake of all too many religious fundamentalists. Interesting, eh?

    Craig, Marshall, others:

    Clearly, in the US specifically, we Christians are the predominant faith tradition. It does not follow that to understand this history, that the Bible must be “taught,” if by “teach” you mean a systematic study of all the books of the Bible. If by “teach” you mean making reasonable references to it in the context of history or literature, then that’s fine, but that does not seem to be what you allude to, since you all seem to want to have a special status for the Bible that you aren’t allowing for other texts and other holy texts.

    Which is why I repeatedly ask what you mean by “teach the Bible.” It matters.

    If we are talking a history class, then I have no problem speaking of the faith traditions of important players in our history. That would be appropriate for a history class. And in the US, those players would be predominantly Christian and theist. And IF we are looking at these players, passing mention might be given to how the Bible shaped (or didn’t) their views, along with the other influences on their views, including the Enlightenment, the laws of the Iroquois nation, among others.

    Is this agreeable?

    But considering the influences of the Bible on the founders is not studying the Bible and I don’t think we’d do a systematic Bible study in history class in any significant way, other than considering how it impacted the founders.

    Considering the influences of the Bible and the Koran on historical events such as the crusades would be appropriate, but that isn’t singling out the Bible, is it? Nor is it specifically studying the Bible.

    Considering the Bible in a high school literature class would also be very appropriate, I’d suggest – especially if you were considering individual books of the Bible and their place in literary history.

    But when you say “teach the Bible – and only the Bible, no other religious texts” it sounds like you all are referring to some more specific comprehensive study of one holy text over all others. That is where you run into problems, from a consistent, rational point of view. You are promoting one religious text over others.

    What other texts have had a huge impact? Well, for Muslims (approximately one-fifth the world population), the Koran has had a huge impact and that impact has affect world history and literature. Hindu texts (for 1/5-ish of the world population) have had a huge impact.

    My guess (I don’t know that it can be proven – by what measure would you assess this?) is that the Bible has had the largest impact of the various holy texts, so are you just making it a horse race? And the world religion with the text with the most impact is the one and only text that should be considered in schools? If so, I do not find that exclusivism to be morally or rationally compelling.

    As Terrance noted: The points are knowledge and wisdom and insight – education. Why limit the sources of education? On what basis? Mere popularity? No thanks, I think educational and spiritual development is more important than what’s “most popular…”

  48. Glenn,

    “He created” has not been proven, so it’s no basis to establish a fact.

    • Isu,
      The fact that it is all here is proof that He created. He exists. I can suggest a good book which I think proves God beyond a reasonable doubt: “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist,” by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. As they demonstrate, it takes more faith to believe everything just happened than it does to believe in a creator.

      Whether one believes in God or not does not determine the fact of His existence.

  49. Dan,

    “Where specifically would we be mistaken? I think the problem here is that you are relying upon one and only one definition, making the mistake of all too many religious fundamentalists. Interesting, eh?”

    I have realized now that the US meaning of the word is different from the British one which I was using.
    Then you are right, it could be a fact.

  50. paynehollow says:

    Fair enough, no problem. Different meanings, all with a point.

  51. paynehollow says:

    He just agreed to that final sentence, Glenn, in that sense of the word “fact.”

  52. I can’t believe you guys are arguing over semantics.

  53. Just using the common language to come to a common understanding. Communication, it’s a good thing, right?

    So, instead of getting common understanding by making sure we’re using terms we all understand, how about you taking the more significant step and explain what you mean by “teaching the Bible” in school..?

    Are you and I agreeing on the basic, reasonable notion that general education about the Bible, the Koran, and other holy texts is a good and reasonable thing (as you said, the point is about education and knowledge – this is good for all knowledge) or are you saying that for some reason, the Bible ought to be studied/taught in schools in ways that other literature is not studied? If the latter, on what basis?

    Thanks,

    ~Dan

  54. TerranceH says:

    Dan,

    As others have noted, I have explained it numerous times to the satisfaction of the question asked. I have explained in what setting and circumstance it should be taught.

    No, we are not in agreement that a general education about all holy texts is a good and reasonable thing. I don’t want the Bible taught because it is a “holy text.” I want the Bible taught because it is an influential text, far more influential than any other book. I have explained this time and time again, Dan.

    Why do you insist on playing dumb? You know well what I’ve proposed.

  55. paynehollow says:

    Okay, sorry, I thought you weren’t arguing about semantics. AS I SAID EARLIER, I support teaching about all (as much as possible) important texts, holy or otherwise.

    So, the point was not “holy texts” but why you’re isolating ONE PARTICULAR text (that happens to be sacred to you and me) over others?

    Who’s playing dumb and arguing over semantics, Terrance?

    You are advocating “teaching the Bible in school.” I’m asking what that looks like? How about answering just one question:

    Are you proposing a book by book study of the whole Bible?

    • Dan, as T said multiple times earlier, he is not advocating for the bible because it is sacred, or that it is sacred to him. He advocates for it because of the impact it has had on our society. Why are you intentionally misrepresenting this?

  56. TerranceH says:

    Dan,

    You still don’t get it. I’m isolating the Bible because, holy text or not, it has been the most influential book in human history. And certainly in Western civilization. And not only has it been an influential text, but it is just about the ONLY documented history of the ancient world 4,000 B.C. that we have! Why can’t you see that?

    You’re the one playing dumb, Dan. You keep asking the same damn question over and over again, though it has been answered over and over again. Other people have called you on this, Dan. You keep denying that an answer to your question has been given.

    You would teach the historical aspects of it. The Battle of Basra, obviously. You use it to teach about ancient society. You would refer to it in your explanation for Western civilization. Etc. There are numerous ways the Bible could be useful in the public school system as an educational tool.

  57. Yes. One look at our culture as it wallows today and it is crystal clear that we have been much better off without the Bible being taught in our schools. “It belongs in the churches and homes!” they cry, never acknowledging how the secular influences have negated the effects of home and church instruction.

  58. Glenn,

    “As they demonstrate, it takes more faith to believe everything just happened than it does to believe in a creator.”

    I wasn’t asking for faith comparison but for proof.

    “Whether one believes in God or not does not determine the fact of His existence.”

    You haven’t proved that His existence is a fact.

    • I don’t “feel” that it is a fact that God exists. I KNOW it is a fact that God exists.

      Can I prove it to you by that which is tangible? No. But I can prove it to you because everything created had a cause, and God is that cause. The universe had a beginning, and the law of causality says everything that had a beginning had a cause. Design is obvious and apparent in everything you see in nature, proving a master designer created it. There is a universal moral law, meaning there is a universal law-giver.

      So there you have the proof of God from cosmology, from teleology, and from the moral law.

  59. TerranceH says:

    Isu,

    The existence of God as an absolute fact is not something one can prove to another. I know God exists because I feel it, but I cannot share that feeling with you. I can only tell you about it, and if I do, you would accuse me of emotionalism, and then you’d still be no closer to any sort of “proof.”

    We can give you reasons to believe that God exists, but we cannot give you proof. But nobody can prove God doesn’t exist, either. It works both ways.

    It’s something you have to feel and experience to know for certain.

  60. TerranceH

    Feelings can be easily misleading. I don’t trust them.

  61. TerranceH

    “Then you are not certain of love? For your parents? Children? Wife?”

    We were talking about “existance” not “love”.

  62. Glenn,

    “because everything created had a cause, and God is that cause.”
    That’s a petitio principii fallacy.

    “The universe had a beginning”
    Prove it first.

    “and the law of causality says everything that had a beginning had a cause”
    I agree with “ex nihilo, nihil fit” principle.

    “Design is obvious and apparent in everything you see in nature, proving a master designer created it.”

    Adaptative systems can apparent (“seeming real or true, but not necessarily so”) design.

    “There is a universal moral law”
    Prove it first.

    • Isu,
      The majority scientific view is that the universe had a beginning. They just ascribe it to the “big bang.” The law of thermodynamics, the theory of relativity, and the fact of the universe expanding all point to a beginning.

      If you think there isn’t design in everything in nature, you are in denial and need much more faith than I do to believe in God.

      There is indeed a universal moral law. Every culture has considered murder to be wrong, every culture considers stealing to be wrong, and so forth. Why doe every culture seem to find the same moral problems overall? Because, as the Bible says, it was planted in our hearts by God.

  63. How about this from an apologetics course I wrote for homeschool high school students:
    Let’s talk about First Principles. In the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Dr. Norman Geisler says this: “First principles are the foundation of knowledge. Without them nothing could be known. Even coherentism uses the first principle of non-contradiction to test the coherence of its system. Realism affirms that first principles apply to the real world. First principles undeniably apply to reality.”

    So just what are “first principles”? Again, according to Geisler, “First principles are undeniable or reducible to the undeniable. They are either self-evident or reducible to the self-evident. And self-evident principles are either true by their nature or undeniable because the predicate is reducible to the subject. That the predicate is reducible to the subject means that one cannot deny the principle without using it.” So now that we’ve had that mouthful, let’s look at twelve basic first principles as noted by Geisler:

    1. Being Is. This is known as the principle of existence. Simply put, if you are a being, you exist.

    2. Being Is Being. The principle of identity. You are you.

    3. Being is not Nonbeing. The principle of non-contradiction. You can’t be you and not you at the same time. A thing cannot be its opposite.

    4. Either Being or Nonbeing. Excluded middle. You either are a Being or you are a Nonbeing – there is no in between.

    5. Nonbeing cannot cause Being. The principle of causality. If something does not exist, it is not a Being, and therefore it cannot cause a Being. You have to exist to cause something else. With this principle we see that there must be a cause for all that is. Now we can look at contingent and necessary beings:

    6. Contingent Being cannot cause Contingent Being. Principle of Contingency (or Dependency). Geisler puts it this way: “If something cannot be caused by nothing (5), neither can anything be caused by what could be nothing, namely, a contingent being. For what could be nothing does not account for its own existence. And what cannot account for even its own existence cannot account for the existence of another. Since it is contingent or dependent for its own being, it cannot be that on which something else depends for its being. Hence, one contingent being cannot
    cause another contingent being.”

    7. Only Necessary Being can cause a Contingent Being. This is known as the positive principle of modality. In other words, whatever comes to be must be caused by a Necessary Being, a being that is not contingent on anything else.

    8. Necessary Being cannot cause a Necessary Being. The negative principle of modality. By definition, a Necessary Being cannot not be. If it had to come about by another being, then it isn’t necessary!

    9. Every Contingent Being is Caused by a Necessary Being. This principle is called existential causality. Geisler explains: “All contingent beings need a cause. For a contingent being is something that is but could not be. But since it has the possibility not to exist, then it does not account for its own existence. That is, in itself there is no basis explaining why it exists rather than does not exist.”

    10. Necessary Being exists. The principle of existential necessity. This logically follows from principles number 1 and 5. Since something exists (no.1) it has to be one of three things: all contingent, all necessary, or some of both. The last two choices require a necessary being, while the first choice isn’t possible by principle 5 since by principle 6 it is possible to not exist. Now Geisler sums this up nicely: “For if all being(s) is (are) contingent, then it is possible for all being(s) not to exist. That is, a state of total nothingness is possible. But something now undeniably exists (e.g., I do), as demonstrated from premise no. 1. And nothing cannot cause something (no. 5). Therefore it is not possible…for there to have been a state of total nothingness. But if it is impossible for nothing to exist (since something does exist), then something necessarily exists (i.e., a Necessary Being does exist).

    To put it another way, if something exists and if nothing cannot cause something, then it follows that something must exist necessarily. For if something did not necessarily exist, then nothing would have caused the something that does exist. Since it is impossible for nothing to cause something, then it is necessary for something to always have been.”

    WOW! That’s a pretty deep thought to get a handle on, but stick with me to the end and it will all fall into place.

    11. Contingent Being exists. The principle of existential contingency. The philosophy behind this one can get to be very wordy, but it can be summed up by saying that not everything that exists is necessary.

    12. Necessary Being is similar to similar Contingent Being(s) it causes. This last one is the principle of analogy. For a good understanding of this one, I will again cite Dr. Geisler: “Only Necessary Being can cause or produce only a contingent being. For to ‘cause’ or ‘produce’ being means to bring something into being. Something that comes into being, has being. A cause cannot bring nonbeing into being, since being is not nonbeing (4). The fact that Being produces being implies that there is an analogy (similarity) between the cause of being and the being it causes (8). But a
    contingent being is both similar and different from a Necessary Being. It is similar in that both have being. It is different in that one is necessary and the other is contingent. But whatever is both similar and different is analogous. Hence, there is an analogy between Necessary Being and the being it produces. Two things, then, are entailed in the principle that Necessary Being causes being: First, the effect must resemble the cause, since both are being. The cause of being cannot produce what it does not possess. Second, while the effect must resemble its cause in its being…it
    must also be different from it in its potentiality. For the cause (a Necessary Being), by its very nature, has no potential not to be. But the effect (a contingent being) by its very nature has the potential not to be. Hence, a contingent being must be different from its Cause. Since, the Cause of contingent beings must be both like and different from its effect, it is only similar. Hence, there is an analogical likeness between the Cause of a contingent being and the contingent being it causes to exist.”

    Okay, now that we’ve learned all about First Principles, let’s put together what all this has to do with discovering if God exists. Let’s take it step by step by quoting Dr. Geisler, and this should be easier to follow:

    1. Something exists (e.g., I do) (no.1).

    2. I am a contingent being (no.11).

    3. Nothing cannot cause something (no. 5).

    4. Only a Necessary Being can cause a contingent being (no.7).

    5. Therefore, I am caused to exist by a Necessary Being (follows from nos. 1-4).

    6. But I am a personal, rational, and moral kind of being (since I engage in these kinds of activities).

    7. Therefore, this Necessary Being must be a personal, rational, and moral kind of being, since I am similar to him by the Principle of Analogy (no.12).

    8. But a Necessary Being cannot be contingent (i.e., not-necessary) in its being which would be a contradiction (no.3).

    9. Therefore, this Necessary Being is personal, rational, and moral in a necessary way, not in a contingent way.

    10. This Necessary Being is also eternal, uncaused, unchanging, unlimited, and one, since a Necessary Being cannot come to be, be caused by another, undergo change, be limited by any possibility of what it could be (a Necessary Being has no possibility to be other than it is), or to be more than one Being (since there cannot be two infinite beings).

    11. Therefore, one necessary, eternal, uncaused, unlimited (=infinite), rational, personal, and moral being exists.

    12. Such a Being is appropriately called “God” in the theistic sense, because he possesses all the essential characteristics of a theistic God.

    13. Therefore, the theistic God exists.

  64. Glenn,

    Weren’t you a YEC? If so, standing your argumentation on TBBT is incoherent.

    There isn’t design in everything in nature. Some things evolved such as the hoof of horses.

    Not murdering (or stealing) in a culture is not a moral issue but a law issue. A culture without such laws can endure, so no wonder they have these laws.

    The twelve basic principles you introduce have flaws:
    Number 1 is false. Imaginary beings don’t exist.
    Number 4 is true in classical binary logic, but not true if fuzzy or three-state logics. If we are talking about “existence” there is no problem since binary logic is applied.
    Number 6 is false. For example, “I” create “this message”, being me and this message contingent.
    Number 7 is false. Same reason as 6.
    Number 9 is false. Same reason as 6. That every contingent being is ultimately caused by a necessary being can be reasoned but it’s not a principle.
    Number 10 is false. If depends on another principle (“Since something exists (no.1)”) is not a principle.
    Number 11 is false. It is deduced, not a principle.
    Number 12 is a tautology. On the other hand, which contingent beings it causes are similar and which aren’t?

    Since the following reasoning is based on these flawed principles and I’m running out of time, I won’t follow.

    • Isu,
      I am indeed YEC, since that is what the Bible actually teaches.
      TBBT – I’m thinking you mean the big bang theory. My argumentation using that is just that even secular science says that the universe had a beginning.

      You assert that the hoof of horses evolved, but there is no proof of that. What we have found are different types of horses, not that one has evolved into another. That is evolutionary bias and interpreting the data to fit the bias.

      Not all cultures have laws, nor have all cultures had laws. The point is that every human knows intrinsically that murder and theft is wrong. That is because it is imprinted on their mind by the Creator.

      As to your flaws about the first principles (established by philosophers and scientists long ago):
      1. There is nothing here about imaginary beings. The statement is merely that something exists. That is a 100% factual statement.

      4. Is 100% factual in every case. If you can somehow find something to be and not be at the same time, then you have found something no one else in history has found.

      6. and 7 The subject is beings, not messages. Data is not a being. Or do you find the English language to be difficult to understand in context?

      As to the remainder, you say these are not principles, but then you disagree with philosophy and science. These are established principles. You are not understanding that these are about beings. These are established principles used in philosophy and logic, let alone science in general.

      You have proved nothing to be flawed but your understanding and logic

  65. Glenn,

    I was asking about your argumentation to say that universe has a beginnig which you used as basis to prove God existence.
    If you are using the Bible you are making a flawed circular reasoning, since you have to proof first that God exists in order to accept it as God’s word.

    We have found along time transitional fossils. These are evidence of evolution.
    You are the one who has a fanatical dogmatic bias by which nothing is proof of evolution.

    “The point is that every human knows intrinsically that murder and theft is wrong.”

    That’s not true. You can find humans that don’t.
    Former US citizens didn’t mind murdering native americans nor thieving their lands.

    “As to your flaws about the first principles (established by philosophers and scientists long ago)”

    This set of twelve principles is established by Geisler, not by philosophers and scientist long ago.

    1. The statement is about beings. That include imaginary beings.
    4. As I said, there is no problem if we talk about “existence”, you have ignored it.
    6 and 7. My message is a being. It IS (be-ing) and it EXISTS (real being).

    “you disagree with philosophy and science”

    There isn’t only one philosophy but many, so I can disagree with what you call “philosophy”.
    And not all scientists say is science.

    “These are established principles used in philosophy and logic, let alone science in general.”

    That’s not true. Some of them aren’t.

    “You have proved nothing to be flawed but your understanding and logic”

    Not accepting your spurious logic doesn’t mean not understanding it.

    • Isu,
      I used SCIENCE to prove the existence of God:
      Cosmology – the universe had a beginning and everything that has a beginning has a cause.
      Teleology – design is apparent in everything and that requires a designer.
      Moral law – the entire world has the same moral foundations. That requires a moral law-giver.
      No appeal to the Bible.
      First principles are fundamental in philosophy and science and prove their has to be a necessary being. no appeal to the Bible,

      There are no such thing as transitional fossils. None, nada. Nothing of the sort has ever been found. Everything put forward so far has been proven otherwise.

      Former U.S. citizens (the large majority of who were also “native Americans” – having been born here) didn’t do any more murdering of the aboriginals than the aboriginals did of the citizens. And they all saw it as self-defense. No one stole the aboriginals’ land, in that the aboriginals didn’t practice the concept of land ownership other than thinking the whole of what became the USA was theirs. Every society practices land conquests, but that is not the same as going over to your neighbor and killing him just for fun or so as to take everything he owns. You are in total denial if you think there is no such thing as a universal moral law.

      Those principles were NOT established by Geisler. How about doing some research before you make such foolish assertions!

      Your message is NOT a being. DUH! You compare a message with a sentient being?!!?!? You are more foolish than I could ever imagine.

  66. There is much violence and mature themed stories in the Bible. I can see why some parents may not want their young children read it’s entire contents.

    http://www.HolyBibleSearch.net & BibleGateway.com are good tools to search, study & read the Bible online.

    • There is much violence and mature themed stories in a thorough history of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, among others.

      Are you suggesting we censor everything, Max?

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