How is this a "secular" subject?

shnarkle

Well-known member
I'm just curious why "Bible" is listed under "secular"?
It's fairly difficult to find anything in classic western literature from the last 2000 years that has no references, allusions, etc. from the bible. Most colleges and universities offering liberal arts degrees have classes dealing with the bible. There is no religious requirement necessary to read fine literature.

Conversely, when one takes a book like Euclid's Elements, or Darwin's "On the Origin of Species", and approaches them devotionally, they can quite easily become religious texts for their new religion.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
I'm just curious why "Bible" is listed under "secular"?
Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I thought you deserved a non-trollish response.

Were you here in previous incarnations of the forums? I'm talking maybe a year-or-two ago. Back then, atheists and people the admins had deemed unsuitable for regular conversations were given a designation of "Secular Forums Member". This limited a person's ability to post only to the Secular forums; no atheist (or even self-identified Christian who'd been slapped with the label) was able to participate in any of the sub-forums outside of the Secular group.

This means atheists couldn't post to Christian forums, or even Jewish forums. Not even to forums dedicated to heresy, et al.

In addition to this, some of the mods clamped down on discussion of the bible by Christians in the Secular forums. According to them such things were meant for the Christian forums. Only atheism was allowed to be discussed in the atheism forum, societal issues in the Soc/Eth/Pol forum, only Evolution in the Evo/ID forums, etc.

This meant that in theory, atheists weren't allowed to discuss the bible with Christians - which was ridiculous.

To answer your question: a Bible sub-forum in the Secular forums was implemented to give atheists a place to discuss the bible. In other words, this subforum is a sort-of old way of doing things. I'm positive that the mods still intend to keep us naughty atheists stuck here in the ghetto, but for now, we technically have the freedom to post elsewhere - and as long as we're not being disruptive, the mods don't get involved.

This is why there's a "Bible" sub-forum in the Secular forums :)
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
I have not been here that long. Thank you for the explanation.

Then, let's discuss the Bible in a secular way.

This is actually an interest of mine (even though I am in no way an atheist). I've always said we should teach the Bible in American schools, but teach it as a secular text of fiction. So much Western literature has allusions to Scriptural stories and themes, and too many younger Americans completely miss these allusions because many Americans are not raised in churches like they were 75+ years ago.

For example ... let's say you're reading a story, and in it, a character "sells out" for a job worth of $30,000. Why $30k? Why not $20k or $50k? If you don't know that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the number "30" as an amount denoting betrayal means nothing.

There are so many examples of this in good literature. (Operative word: good.) Granted, moving forward, I imagine American and other Western literature will have more and more allusions to Islam and/or other cultures, so we must also read those ancient texts. I feel like my education was lacking, because I know so little about other religions outside of Christianity. A course in comparative religion would also be useful in public schools, I think. If it could be taught respectfully, allowing each religion a place of honor within our multi-cultural world.
 

shnarkle

Well-known member
Then, let's discuss the Bible in a secular way.

This is actually an interest of mine (even though I am in no way an atheist). I've always said we should teach the Bible in American schools, but teach it as a secular text of fiction.
You might find Jordan Peterson's videos interesting. He approaches the bible from a psychological perspective. He video tapes all of his lectures and posts them online so it's like getting a degree in Psychology without having to pay a dime.


His lectures have probably done more to attract atheists, skeptics, etc. to the bible than the last 500 years of religious preaching combined.
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
For example ... let's say you're reading a story, and in it, a character "sells out" for a job worth of $30,000. Why $30k? Why not $20k or $50k? If you don't know that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the number "30" as an amount denoting betrayal means nothing.

There are so many examples of this in good literature. (Operative word: good.) Granted, moving forward, I imagine American and other Western literature will have more and more allusions to Islam and/or other cultures, so we must also read those ancient texts. I feel like my education was lacking, because I know so little about other religions outside of Christianity. A course in comparative religion would also be useful in public schools, I think. If it could be taught respectfully, allowing each religion a place of honor within our multi-cultural world.
I'd have no issue with a course on the bible as literature; I think I've even seen one, perhaps back when I was in college a few decades ago. Comparative theology might be good as well, which would have the added benefit of NOT treating various peoples' holy text as mere literature. And really, the history around the bible is pretty interesting too.

Like you say, a lot of this would eventually entail similar courses on Islam and Judaism, perhaps several others.

The wealth of religions and histories is one of the major reasons that "religion" can't be taught in secular/public school. You'd need half a dozen courses just to cover the big players.
 

Torin

Well-known member
I'm just curious why "Bible" is listed under "secular"?
Maybe partly for the reason given by @Whateverman. However, given that the "Astromony" subforum's name has been misspelled outright since the forum's inception, it's possible that carelessness is another reason. CARM's primary purpose is not to provide a discussion forum, and the discussion forum isn't CARM's primary source of revenue, so there is no reason to expect a discussion forum run by CARM to be maintained or run optimally.
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
I'd have no issue with a course on the bible as literature; I think I've even seen one, perhaps back when I was in college a few decades ago. Comparative theology might be good as well, which would have the added benefit of NOT treating various peoples' holy text as mere literature. And really, the history around the bible is pretty interesting too.
Oh, these are common in college. I'd like to see them in high school, as an elective, of course.

The wealth of religions and histories is one of the major reasons that "religion" can't be taught in secular/public school. You'd need half a dozen courses just to cover the big players.
I have a German friend who informs me that when she attended the German equivalent of high school -- this would have been in the early 1990s -- a required course was team-taught by a Catholic priest, a Lutheran pastor (it's called "Evangelische" in Germany, not "Lutheran," but they aren't what we would think of as Evangelicals), and a Jewish Rabbi. I suspect they've enlarged the curriculum now to include Islam, considering the population shift in Europe. I don't see why something like this couldn't be similarly done in the US.

Obviously, you wouldn't be able to go into great detail on any of them, but you could cover an overview of the Abrahamic religions in one course, and perhaps a second course for the Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, etc.)
 

Whateverman

Well-known member
Oh, these are common in college. I'd like to see them in high school, as an elective, of course.


I have a German friend who informs me that when she attended the German equivalent of high school -- this would have been in the early 1990s -- a required course was team-taught by a Catholic priest, a Lutheran pastor (it's called "Evangelische" in Germany, not "Lutheran," but they aren't what we would think of as Evangelicals), and a Jewish Rabbi. I suspect they've enlarged the curriculum now to include Islam, considering the population shift in Europe. I don't see why something like this couldn't be similarly done in the US.

Obviously, you wouldn't be able to go into great detail on any of them, but you could cover an overview of the Abrahamic religions in one course, and perhaps a second course for the Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, etc.)
I like the sound of that...
 
Oh, these are common in college. I'd like to see them in high school, as an elective, of course.


I have a German friend who informs me that when she attended the German equivalent of high school -- this would have been in the early 1990s -- a required course was team-taught by a Catholic priest, a Lutheran pastor (it's called "Evangelische" in Germany, not "Lutheran," but they aren't what we would think of as Evangelicals), and a Jewish Rabbi. I suspect they've enlarged the curriculum now to include Islam, considering the population shift in Europe. I don't see why something like this couldn't be similarly done in the US.

Obviously, you wouldn't be able to go into great detail on any of them, but you could cover an overview of the Abrahamic religions in one course, and perhaps a second course for the Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, etc.)
I second your approach, one should always endeavour to broaden ones mind by learning about ours and other cultures and societies and how religions have shaped them.
 

Temujin

Well-known member
I have not been here that long. Thank you for the explanation.

Then, let's discuss the Bible in a secular way.

This is actually an interest of mine (even though I am in no way an atheist). I've always said we should teach the Bible in American schools, but teach it as a secular text of fiction. So much Western literature has allusions to Scriptural stories and themes, and too many younger Americans completely miss these allusions because many Americans are not raised in churches like they were 75+ years ago.

For example ... let's say you're reading a story, and in it, a character "sells out" for a job worth of $30,000. Why $30k? Why not $20k or $50k? If you don't know that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, the number "30" as an amount denoting betrayal means nothing.

There are so many examples of this in good literature. (Operative word: good.) Granted, moving forward, I imagine American and other Western literature will have more and more allusions to Islam and/or other cultures, so we must also read those ancient texts. I feel like my education was lacking, because I know so little about other religions outside of Christianity. A course in comparative religion would also be useful in public schools, I think. If it could be taught respectfully, allowing each religion a place of honor within our multi-cultural world.
This is exactly how religious education is taught in Britain. I myself, as an atheist, taught RE in a Catholic School in Cardiff. All major religious festival were covered, and many subjects, such as baptism, contraception, death and the afterlife, or abortion, were considered from a number of different view points, giving equal weight for all. Essays in this subject are marked according to the scholar's ability to construct an argument covering several points of view, rather than for coming to the "right" answer. RE taught in this way is a brilliant introduction to philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, even criminology. It also provides the all important non-biological element of sex education. In our schools it is compulsory. Parents may opt out, but very few do.
 

rossh

Well-known member
This is exactly how religious education is taught in Britain. I myself, as an atheist, taught RE in a Catholic School in Cardiff. All major religious festival were covered, and many subjects, such as baptism, contraception, death and the afterlife, or abortion, were considered from a number of different view points, giving equal weight for all. Essays in this subject are marked according to the scholar's ability to construct an argument covering several points of view, rather than for coming to the "right" answer. RE taught in this way is a brilliant introduction to philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, even criminology. It also provides the all important non-biological element of sex education. In our schools it is compulsory. Parents may opt out, but very few do.
what has, abortion got to do with Christianity ?
 

rossh

Well-known member
This is exactly how religious education is taught in Britain. I myself, as an atheist, taught RE in a Catholic School in Cardiff. All major religious festival were covered, and many subjects, such as baptism, contraception, death and the afterlife, or abortion, were considered from a number of different view points, giving equal weight for all. Essays in this subject are marked according to the scholar's ability to construct an argument covering several points of view, rather than for coming to the "right" answer. RE taught in this way is a brilliant introduction to philosophy, politics, anthropology, sociology, even criminology. It also provides the all important non-biological element of sex education. In our schools it is compulsory. Parents may opt out, but very few do.
so,, what were these " all religious festivals " ? How does one " teach " festivals ??
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
what has, abortion got to do with Christianity ?
Most people who think abortion should be outlawed are Christian.

Not all. I know there are some non-Christians who think abortion should be outlawed, but (in the Western world) they are the exception. There are a lot of Christians who are pro-choice, though, so it's a fair question.
 

rossh

Well-known member
Most people who think abortion should be outlawed are Christian.

Not all. I know there are some non-Christians who think abortion should be outlawed, but (in the Western world) they are the exception. There are a lot of Christians who are pro-choice, though, so it's a fair question.
Blessings to you and thanks for the reply... I feel that pregnancies are NOT accidents at all. But if a Doctor or Specialist determines that if a woman continues the pregnancy there will be danger to health of both mum and or baby then that is a different issue/s in deed.
 

HillsboroMom

Active member
so,, what were these " all religious festivals " ? How does one " teach " festivals ??
Temujin didn't say "all religious festivals," he/she said "All major religious festival" (emphasis mine).

Although I've never taken a course like this, I would imagine the MAJOR religious festivals of the major religions (that is, the most populous religions) are as follows:

CHRISTIANITY (~60% in the UK, about 30-40% world-wide, depending on who's counting): Christmas and Easter
ISLAM (~4% in the UK, ~25% world-wide): Ramadan, Laylat Al-Qadr, Eid Al-Fitr, and Eid Al-Adha
JUDAISM (~1% in the UK, less than 1% world-wide): Passover, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah
BUDDHISM (~1% in the UK, ~5% world-wide): Vesak and Magha Puja
HINDUISM (~1% in the UK, ~15% world-wide): Diwali

They might also look at Wicca and other Celtic traditions, being in the UK and all.

How do you teach a festival? Well, you talk about what people of that religion do.

For example, let me teach you how Jews celebrate Passover:

First, it's a lot like Thanksgiving -- you invite extended family, so there are a lot of people, usually 10-20 around the table, and multiple generations. There are specific foods to eat, and it varies a little depending on your family tradition. It starts with the story. The people recount the story of Exodus, the time when we were slaves in Egypt, and our Lord took us out of slavery, out of the land of Egypt, to freedom and the promised land. As we tell the story, there are certain rituals. We eat certain foods at certain parts of the story that are symbolic of the parts in the story. We sing songs. Everyone in the family plays a part, from the patriarch to the smallest children. (I was 4 when I learned the Hebrew questions to ask at the beginning, and can still recite them to this day, half a century later.) After the story part, and prayers and songs are done, we finish the meal, and it usually goes late into the night.

That's how you teach a festival.

I bet you could teach how Christians celebrate Christmas, couldn't you?
 

Temujin

Well-known member
what has, abortion got to do with Christianity ?
A very good question. However, it is certainly the case that many Christians approach this subject from the point of view of their faith, and that most religious faiths have a stated position on abortion. It is a way of talking about life and death, the soul and what makes a human being important. I should also say that the Abortion Act 1966 in the UK was written and sponsored by a devout Christian and its success is largely down to it being accepted by all the major faith groups. Abortion is not a controversial subject here, so can be discussed dispassionately. There is room for every individual to have their own moral stance, whether informed by religion or not.
 
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