Last spring, I took a Bible as Literature course through the University of Washington's English department and received a thorough eye-opening. This was the most convincing experience that affirmed the benefits of teaching the Bible in a non-religious setting....One of the things that particularly interested me was the statement the morality of the text was not allowed to be taught, so as to honor the separation of church and state our country so wisely requires. Firstly, is it really possible to detach the content of a text from its purported message?
In the class I took, the morality of the text was not allowed to be taught, so as to honor the separation of church and state our country so wisely requires. As a result, I was able to read almost the entire Bible cover to cover and learn about its major themes in a non-confrontational manner.
Having taken this class, I have learned two important things.
It is always preferable to read the source material rather than rely on other people's explanation of the text. A religious service doesn't appeal to me, but I found several books in the Bible that did, including Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes...
Secondly, having read the Bible, I realize just how influential to Western culture this text is. Our daily lives are filled with Biblical allusions. More importantly, perhaps, the classes that students are expected to take in high school are filled with references to the Bible. The number of examples of this is overwhelming and undeniable.
Secondly, talking about the American context, given that it is evidently permissible to at least acknowledge the existence of a significant cultural text, with its religious claims (even if those religious claims themselves aren't considered), what does that signify about the exclusion of intelligent design from state universities supposedly because of its vague religious claims? Supposing that a specific religious inference is suggested by proponents of intelligent design - something which they deny, and which given the weakness of the logical inferences that can be drawn from ID, I find very hard to accept. Given that it is apparently acceptable to consider not only empirical evidence but something which is claimed to be scripture itself within an English class, at least as an intellectual exercise, doesn't this contradict the conclusion that an intelligent design perspective has to be considered unconstitutional?