The Dire Consequences Of Biblical Illiteracy

Joel Grus, author of Your Religion Is False, tackles the problem of biblical illiteracy in connection with a survey which found that 50% of US high school seniors thought Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple.

The kids who think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple (not to mention the countless others who guessed “former WWE Tag Team Champions” and “tabletop strategy game” and “once-popular folk duo”) are surely unequipped to compete in today’s high-tech modern world!

How will they be responsible citizens if they’re not familiar with the story of how god destroyed both cities on account of their residents’ rampant homoerotic behavior? Can we trust them to figure out for themselves that a righteous manoffers up his virgin daughters when he needs to placate an angry mob? Will we fall economically farther behind Middle-Eastern countries where schools prepare kids with the knowledge that when god (or Boston) says “<a Don’t Look Back,” then if you don’t want to be turned into a pillar of salt you’d better listen? But it’s not just me. Professors of “Divinity” are also concerned!

[Divinity Professor Moore] identified a wide range of problems caused by a lack of religious understanding, including anti-Semitism and the equation of Islam with violence and terrorism. She said it also leads to the portrayal of religion as “obsolete, irrational and oppressive.”

And if the story of Sodom and Gomorrah doesn’t make people think of religion as  relevant, rational, and congenial, then I don’t know what can!

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://sendaianonymous.wordpress.com sendaianonymous

    Huh? There’s still a controversy about the Sodom narrative? Or is it just theist trolls on Wikipedia? I haven’t seen a self-respecting Biblical scholar propose that there is a controversy since… Actually, never, I think.
    Wow. This is what happens when you field of study goes all political.

  • Daniel Fincke

    Huh? Where do you see a controversy there?

    • http://sendaianonymous.wordpress.com sendaianonymous

      Look at the Wikipedia page! I’m not saying there is; there is not controversy. It’s like creationism all over again.

  • John D

    Just think, a Xtian who doesn’t know about about Sodom and Gomorrah. I feel that their Sunday School teacher has to take the blame for that. After all, it the Sunday School teacher doesn’t put the fear of god and the certainty of Hell into their little subconscious minds they may grow up without the proper subservience.


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