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← UPDATED: Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Ted Foureagles

I agree with Prof. Dawkins on this point. I think that familiarity with sacred texts is important for a child, or anyone, to understand how cultures came to be what they are. I’d stretch a bit and posit that a grasp of the King James Bible is almost as important to making sense of Euro/American culture as understanding Darwin is to doing biology.

An uninteresting aside: That particular King James is a direct ancestor of mine who, by marrying off a daughter, founded our family name. I’m just shamelessly name-dropping here to show that I have skin in the game, which many confuse with relevance.

I started reading the Bible around Christmas a couple of weeks before I turned 4. I had been going to Baptist church with Mom since I was an infant, and can assume that I must have been waterboarded for Christ early on. But I suddenly realized that I didn’t like church at all. I remember seeing it as a special place where adults acted crazy. That’s a heavy deal for a little kid who presumes that adults know everything and will protect us in their perfect wisdom. So church, where that wisdom seemed to break down, just scared little me shitless.

Mom, bless her heart, made a deal with me. I didn’t have to go to church as long as I read the Bible from start to finish, and was prepared to discuss it whenever she chose. She said, “You needn’t be pious but you shouldn’t be ignorant”, which I think is about the most rational thing on that subject I’ve heard. And so I read the whole painful tome from first word to last, and had nearly nightly discussions about it.

I turned 6 about at the time I finished, and have been an atheist since. I can’t take credit for changing Mom’s views with our talks, but noticed that she didn’t impose any such religious requirement on my younger siblings. I’m profoundly grateful to Mom (now several decades gone) for insisting that I see religion as important and amenable, at least in private, to rational discourse.


Sun, 20 May 2012 02:47:53 UTC | #942341