Religious Literacy in Public Schools

Americans are both deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion.
~Stephen Prothero
Religious Literacy

Prothero---Religious Literacy

In a USA Today article, “Americans get an ‘F’ in religion,” Boston University Professor Stephen Prothero offers a remedy:
Prothero’s solution is to require middle-schoolers to take a course in world religions and high schoolers to take one on the Bible. Biblical knowledge also should be melded into history and literature courses where relevant.
From the Pew Research Center’s U.S. Religious Knowledge Quiz, we find that only 23 percent of Americans know that according to rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court that public school teachers are permitted to read from the Bible as an example of literature.

U.S. Religious Knowledge Quiz

In the 1963 Abington v. Schempp case, Justice Tom Clark delivered the 8-1 opinion of the Court:
[I]t might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities. 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.
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:22
Don’t try to interpret faith
in terms of science and logic.

Religious imagery is
telling you what is becoming.

Judgment scene from the Book of the Dead. In the three scenes from the Book of the Dead (version from ~1300 BCE) the dead man (Hunefer) is taken into the judgment hall by the jackal-headed Anubis. The next scene is the weighing of his heart, with Ammut awaiting the result and Thoth recording. Next, the triumphant Hunefer, having passed the test, is presented by the falcon-headed Horus to Osiris, seated in his shrine with Isis and Nephthys. (British Museum)

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
~ Luke 17: 20-21
“The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Look for it! But when you look out into the world remember that you are seeing the past. That is to say, what you see before you has happened. Science, logic and waking consciousness all deal with things that have happened. Science and reason can only predict what will happen if what will happen repeats what has happened. They cannot predict absolute novelty. The creativity of religion, mythology, and dream consciousness is the present. It is becoming. It is our very becoming. And a person with an intuition on that level can intuit the destiny of nations.
Waking consciousness, science, rational life, perfectly good but don’t try to interpret religion and your dreams in terms of reason. And don’t try to interpret faith in terms of science and logic. Religious imagery is telling you what is becoming. Reason is telling you what has become. The mystery of life is on the level of faith and dreams. So have faith, keep praying, and don’t be afraid to dream.

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