Teach It, Don't Preach It | Teen Ink

Teach It, Don't Preach It

January 8, 2008
By Anonymous

The separation of church and state is a reoccurring controversy that has many people disturbed and confused, especially when it comes to religion in public schools. The case for teaching the Bible in public schools has recently arisen once again. Now more than ever, people are fighting for the bible to be taught in classes by claiming that it is the “bedrock of Western culture.” There are still some people however, who believe that teaching the bible in school will lead to religious “preferencing” amongst students. Many people view this controversial subject from a very close-minded, one-dimensional perspective, which causes an interesting uproar of ideas.

In a recent article published in TIME magazine entitled, “The Case for Teaching the Bible,” David Van Biema discusses and analyzes the many questions and concerns that circulate around the idea of teaching the Bible in school. Biema targets those who do not support incorporating religion into school as his audience. Although some points of the article offer only opinions, the author communicates very effectively with the audience. He provides statistical facts as well as information from his personal experiences. He talks about the several cases over the years such as the 1948 McCollum v. Board of Education case that supported church in school, and the 1963 Abington Township School District v. Schempp case that removed prayer and devotion from the classroom. He also used his experience visiting New Braunfels High School (a school committed to The Bible and Its Influence) to provide realistic information and opinions about teaching the Bible in school. Biema’s use of facts and experiences pulls the reader in and allows the reader to understand the topic at hand from both an opinionated and factual standpoint.

Although the article is well written and covers a subject that is important, it lacks interest. The author uses too many actual facts. The audience does not want to read a written piece full of information that can be accessed over the Internet. They want realistic information that they can relate to. This article would be much more substantial if opinions from students who are a part of bible literacy classes such as the students attending New Braunfels High School, were discussed and introduced to the audience. After all, teaching or not teaching the bible in school is going to impact the students more than anybody else. The opinions of people that are not affected by incorporating religion into school are somewhat irrelevant.

In spite of the lack of interest I experienced while reading, this selection did in fact make me think. I have grown so used to not being able to discuss or learn about religion in school that I would have never thought that things could be any other way. I assumed that because the discussion of topics such as the Bible was banned, that religion probably would have a negative effect on students. However, I have learned that if taught correctly, learning about the bible can be very fundamental, because of its history. The Bible contains much information that has been referred to in literature, movies, and other sources. It makes many references to past, present, and future times. The Bible also provides insight, information, and facts about modern and past Western Culture, which if taught correctly, could be beneficial to the enrichment of students. I definitely have changed my mind about the Bible being taught in public schools. There is nothing wrong with students learning from the world’s oldest, best-selling book as long as they are learning and not having someone’s beliefs infringed upon them. Teaching the bible is constitutional if we teach but do not preach it.

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This article has 11 comments.

on Dec. 4 2015 at 9:55 pm
ColdplayForever BRONZE, San Jose, California
1 article 0 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Coldplay fans are the best in the world. If you like Coldplay, then you're obviously very intelligent, good-looking, and all-around brilliant."
~Chris Martin

I go to a school where we have religion classes, but instead of just learning about the Bible, we learn about all religions. It is actually really interesting to learn about all religions beliefs. Very well written :)

on Nov. 9 2010 at 3:38 pm
PuzzleLuver SILVER, Powell, Ohio
6 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16

Maybe add religion classes as options for the student to chose that might be a good option

TrinityCreed said...
on Oct. 18 2010 at 8:36 am
So well thought of and so well agreed. But one thing you fail to mention: what about people of other faiths? I am a Christian just like you, but there should be some guidlines. Let the individual decide for themselves. I personaly think that we should not be teaching  one peticular religion. If your gonna teach religion, teach about every single religion in the world.

on Sep. 3 2010 at 11:59 am
Phantom_Girl GOLD, Ft. Carson, Colorado
14 articles 0 photos 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If it comes out of the lion's mouth...it will be on the test."
-Mr. Bala

Excuse my misuse of "they're." I meant "there."

on Sep. 3 2010 at 11:58 am
Phantom_Girl GOLD, Ft. Carson, Colorado
14 articles 0 photos 279 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If it comes out of the lion's mouth...it will be on the test."
-Mr. Bala

I agree. I think they're should be an elective just for learning from different religious books.

on Aug. 9 2010 at 10:20 pm
earlybird_8 BRONZE, Roberts Creek, Other
4 articles 0 photos 115 comments

Favorite Quote:
The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

I agree that the bible should be taught in schools, but only when taught along side the Torah, Qu'ran, etc. If  one is to be taught one religion, then one must also be taught the tenets of others. I found that this article came off too much as a book review and not so much as describing the author's own feelings. However, it did display a viewpoint that provided more facts and logic than many  others that advocate the teaching of religion in schools.

annewithanE said...
on Jun. 30 2010 at 9:14 am
i agree with annep  it is improtant to teach religion in schools but it has to be a variety to expose students to all sorts of beliefs and let them choose themselves what to believe or not to.  Maeflower you are right no one can force you to believe anything but they an certainly influence your decision. as for the article well done i agree with the teach not preach policy!

MaeFlower said...
on Jun. 8 2010 at 8:48 am
MaeFlower, Aurora, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 27 comments
Hahaha, I'm sorry that's amusing.. "It's an undiagnosed mental case that breathes imagination to people that they are being forced to accept something to begin with"  You're totally right!  I mean, how can you FORCE someone to accept anything?  I know kids who go to school and learn the absolute bare minimum, just enough to pass the tests, and then forget about it.  You can't force knowledge on them by forcing them to go to school, how can you force the Bible on someone by allowing them to learn about it? 

on Apr. 3 2010 at 5:31 pm
Jenna4Jesus BRONZE, New Brunswick, North Carolina
4 articles 0 photos 65 comments
no one's forcing religion on students. it's an undiagnosed mental case that breathes imagination to people that they are being forced to accept something to begin with.-_-;;

on Feb. 18 2010 at 2:37 pm
Anne Powdris SILVER, --, New Jersey
6 articles 0 photos 35 comments
I agree, but please remember that there are also Muslims and Jews out there. Why is it only the Bible? The Torah and Quran are fascinating books too, you know. If they were to teach the Bible, they would be forcing religion on students, not that I am saying they should not do-- because kids nowadays have no knowledge of what it is going on in the world. What I am saying is that a variety of religions would be better, so not to be biased or forceful.

on Dec. 14 2009 at 8:14 pm
Your article was amazingly well-written! You could definately write reviews of books and such. You presented your case about the author's case in a clear and concise manner and it made me read it to the end, instead of just dropping off halfway through like I do if I get bored with an article. I also loved that you used proper grammar and spelling, because I'm OCD about that sort of thing and it's aggravating when people write like they're in second grade. Anyway, good job. I was always against religion in schools of any sort, but I see what you mean about teaching it from a factual approach.