The Bible Is Not A Historical Textbook

Posted by on August 1, 2010 in Thoughts | 19 comments

I’m scared for the future of Australia, and I’ll tell you why.

Recently I have been reading reports of education in Queensland that sugest that people who believe the logical fallacies of the Bible have been teaching biblical writings as historical fact. I don’t need to break the bible down piece by piece to show you why it is illogical or why the stories in it are ludicrous, but I do want to point you at this article which states that “Primary school students are being taught that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together and that there is fossil evidence to prove it.” At first I thought it was a joke, and checked my calendar to ensure it wasn’t April 1st and not August 1st.

I admit, I have no problem with teaching Religious Studies in schools. In fact I think we should present all sides of the religious picture, tell the children that every religions claims to be the “one true religion”, point out all the similarities and differences between the theistic writings, and let the kids work it out for themselves that religion is nonsensical. This knowledge would also be excellent in that it would teach the children about the history of humanity, and about this seemingly natural propensity that all humans have to want to believe in something outside the physical world. And I think all religions should be taught, not just the popular ones. How different would our opinions of religious texts be if we were to teach them as simply works of litereature, and not divine words from above?

I agree with Sam Harris when he says “I view religions as essentially failed sciences.” We naturally want to try and explain everything that happens to us and around us, and when we didn’t know the answer we would try and fill this viod with something. If you fill this void with God, then you don’t need to wonder about the causes of things, and you can move on to moreĀ  important things in your life, and leave godly matters God to worry about. If we had stayed as ignorant about our world as we were when religions were formed we would neve have progressed to the point we have now. We would have never questioned why the sun rose, or why water turns to ice, or what causes volcanoes. We would have simply just been happy with the unfounded knowledge that God did it. Whereas once we would ascribe natural disasters to an angry deity, we now know the causes of these disasters, and yet we still hold on to God.

Fundamentalism seems to be on the rise in Australia, which is very alarming. Earlier this year there was a report saying that Creationism was going to be included in the National Curriculum in Queensland schools. Now we hear that some teachers have been making things up to support the information of the Bible. It is a worrying trend, and I really think that if this kind of teaching is allowed, not only are we going to raise our children as ignorant and unquestioning, but that we as a nation will eventually be dumbed-down because of it.

This is not the time to be teaching our children badly. From a bad education comes bad decisions. We have already proven as a species that our uninformed decisions can be the cause of some of the most disastrous situtions and consequences. Let’s move forward with what we have learned, and not fall back on the mysticism and magic from our historical ignorance.

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19 Comments

  1. The Bible isn’t even a very good book. As a kid the storey are ok but they just can’t compare with the Disney fairy tales. Then for young teenagers it’s Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings for adults.

    It’s time for the Bible to take the back row of the bookcase.

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  2. This is truly appalling O_o I cannot wrap my head around the fact that religion is taught in schools (your comments relating to that not withstanding). And then when you add the creationist anti-science rot it just gets beyond anything :-/

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  3. there is one thing that i dont get about how people explain evolution. i have heard about the Big Bang, the idea of bacteria creating the earth etc etc.

    if all this is true, why is it that monkeys suddenly stopped evolving into humans? where did the monkeys themselves come from? where did dinosaurs come from? etc etc

    if we are the creation of bacteria, then bacteria must be the smartest thing on earth!! they decided amongst themselves to come together and form a body with a beating heart, with lungs and a digestive system? and then they decided that enough is enough! humans will now breed themselves????

    now that is ludicrous

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    • Please tell me you’re kidding?

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    • It’s not so hard to understand when you realise that life evolved over millions of years and not the thousands as creationists would have you believe. We did not evolve from monkeys but we share a common ancestor. If you truly want to learn about evolution try reading up on the subject…..there is a whole host of scientific evidence out there.
      Marty, if what you say is true about the education failures in Queensland, I can only hope that all of the children who are being taught that crap end up suing the board of eductaion for failing to live up to the duty of care by taching falicies as fact.

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    • Poor heavenbound has rather missed the point, hasn’t s/he?

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    • I don’t understand what you’re getting at, heavenbound. We’re not evolved from monkeys. Bacteria didn’t create the earth. Maybe you should read some reputable books about evolution (not ones written by creationists) before you try to comment on it.

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    • Humans did not evolve from monkeys. We evolved from a common ancestor the monkeys took one path and we took another. Evolution has not stopped we are still evolving and so are the monkeys in a million years time we may be a different species and the monkeys will also have changed into something else.

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    • Speechless, here….

      Seriously, heavenbound, with that little clue about science and in particular the Theory (capital T) of Evolution, then you should really ask more questions and learn something about it, rather than just blazing in and looking foolish

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    • Weak troll :(

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    • Humm, human-bacteria symbiotic relationships (e.g. in gut) are very interesting. However, I do think you’ve given bacteria too much credit :-)

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    • What is ludicrous is your lack of understanding of what evolution actually is. The only people that claim that we came from monkeys are people who don’t know a thing about evolution.

      In the spirit of educating the world I suggest you actually read something about evolution before making such claims about it.

      Richard Dawkins explains this exact question right here:
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mhX2Kas558]
      I suggest you start here.

      Your last paragraph actually makes no sense. You are not made of bacteria. and that claim is a a giant strawman. If you’re going to make claims on my blog, you’d better be able to back them up. There are a lot of people who read this blog who would be more than willing to point you in the right direction to become educated in the real world.

      Also check this out, Dawkins talking on the age of the earth and dinosaurs.

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    • Then how would you explain the imperfect design of humans ?

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  4. The idea of home-schooling our girls is becoming more appealing every day! Oh yeah–and Heavenbound: read some books. You might be surprised by what you find.

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  5. Don’t worry my friend secularism is actually on the rise in Australia but there is always exeption even here in Europe the churches are trying to influence polical decision but their influence is diminishing.
    Anyway the change is in people mind. They see by themself the non sense of religion.

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  6. perhaps you ould be interested in reading http://leesis.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/my-god-stop-closing-their-minds/

    interestingly he goes to school…in Queensland!

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  7. In a similarly disturbing vein, I found out last week that a friend’s daughter is being taught intelligent design in science class at a Sydney public school.
    When my friend put her objections to the school and the science teacher, she was told this was to be “broad” and “inclusive” and that the topic would remain.
    I had previously thought this was only a problem in the southern US, but apparently it’s spreading.

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  8. I’ve always been a bit wary of RI for primary school kids,and this goes a long way to justifying that apprehension. Like you I agree with an even-handed approach to religious ed, but it seems that interested parties can’t help but push their world views on the easily exploited. I live in Qld and will be a father by the end of this month, and because of this story my child will not be undertaking RI at school. I’m hoping (in vain, I suspect) that a secular alternative will be available by then. Enjoyed the post.

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  9. Great stuff ici.

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