Wednesday, September 28, 2005

In Secular Defense of the Canon

One might be sorely pressed in arguing for Bible studies in the general realm if one claims to be a liberal secular Humanist. The ACLU, for example, side with the constitutionalists in separating church from state, and for the most part, so too do Humanists. But what is the legitimate point of stripping the educational culture of its reference points, of denying educational service to the population at large on the grounds of separating church from state? Is this an over-reaction, in short, throwing out the baby with the bathwater?

There is a neo-fascist meme about the land that the canonical literature of the West is a plot by capitalists to reinforce the alienation of the workers, to reify imperialist triumph, and to dominate other "peoples of colour" for reasons of innate White racism. Clear out the racist, sexist, capitalist hegemony of canonical literature from the educational system, one of the great determinist factors in the general wage-slave system of capitalism, and replace it with post-modernist fascist inclusions, and life will follow properly to utopia from there. No Bible studies. Not only because of the separation of church and state on Enlightenment anti-feudalist grounds, ie the grounds upon which the Constitution are based, but because of the determining factor of capitalist reinforcement of the capitalist hegemony. (At times it's an attractive thought to have a giant biblioclastic orgy featuring Foucault.)

So one non-ideological liberal secular Humanist might argue, without reference to socialist determinism, that literature itself is valid in its own terms qua literature, immediately putting him/herself (according to Left fascism)in the camp of non-socialist determinants who must dismiss him/her as victim of alienation and false-consciousness. The losers are those who start from the premise that literature is inherently political and totally supportive by nature of the dominant ideology, having no validity in itself, losers because they begin from the premise of literature as ideology: there is no literature, there is only political writing in support of or counter to ideology.

While one might support the separation of church and state as a liberal secular Humanist on liberal Humanist grounds one must still find room in a free debate to argue non-ideologicallly that literature supercedes the idiocies of Left dogma and socialist relativist moralizing for the fascist agenda. That, of course, is merely opinion, a summary of our postion.

There is some spectral sense of correction in the meme as it is, a sense that things have gone pear-shaped in the system of learning, and that our cultural references are alien to us literally if not, as the Left would have it, socio-economically. Yes, Bible study reinforces the norms of Judeo-Christian/ Greco-Roman culture. For the Left fascist that is enemy territory. The liberal struggle to reclaim the canonical literature for the sake of the general culture on the grounds of aesthetics and qua literature, as Human-socio-cultural benefit, good, bad, or indifferent, is fought on some slippery slopes, to be sure, and not all of the struggle for free inquiry is straight-forward, but there has to be some commonality in a culture of worth, which we might live to see the end of if we do not recalaim the canonical literature and its heritage as at least some beginning. There wil be battle fought in the streets over these issues.

Below, taken from the Pew Forum on Religion we have one shot in the battle for and against society's values.

September 24, 2005
A Bible Textbook Begat by Church-State Separation

by K. Connie Kang
Los Angeles Times

What happened on the road to Damascus? (A: Jesus was crucified. B: Mary met an angel of the Lord. C: St. Paul was blinded by a vision from God. D: Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss.)

Only a third of the American teenagers in a nationwide Gallup poll last year correctly answered the first question, attributing the quote from Genesis to Cain. And, a similar percentage of the 1,002 teens in the survey were aware of the story of St. Paul being blinded by a vision from God on the road to Damascus.

An overwhelming majority of the nation's students are biblically illiterate, educators say. Yet, they add, knowledge of the Bible, its characters and references is essential in understanding Western literature, art, music and history even for students who come from other religious traditions, are agnostics or are atheists. On Thursday, a new textbook designed to help teach public high school students biblical content without violating the separation of church and state was released in Washington, D.C., by the Bible Literacy Project, a nonprofit group that promotes the study of Bible content, not belief, in public and private schools.

The project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, has the endorsement of scholars, some 1st Amendment experts and officials from such organizations as the American Jewish Congress and the National Assn. of Evangelicals. Titled "The Bible and Its Influence," the 392-page book, co-edited by Chuck Stetson and Cullen Schippe, is a product of years of planning, including the Gallup poll of teens' biblical knowledge. (It is listed for $67.75 to individuals and $50 for schools.)

Complete Story

The bitter if not funny irony is that there are clear divisions btween enemy lines that the majority of the population of the West wander across in a daze, oblivious to them. It's our intention at this blog to clarify the lines and postions between neo-feudalist Left dhimmi fascism and Modernist progressive Humanism.

Stranger than fiction, this politic makes for strange bedfellows, we finding ourselves more often than not waking up with Christians and other religious adherents. To preserve Milton the atheist lays down with the Pope.


John Sobieski said...

I never considered Christianity a foe. It was comforting and benevlent for many people and those people never intimidated me. It is a good analogy. It is an alliance of necessity. It's a survival thing. I know you won't kill me. We both know they want to kill us or make us dhimmis. It's a good thing.

I haven't quite figured out where gays stand on this. There was some wacko gay guy with a 'marriage is a right' tshirt at the nutfest this past weekend in DC. The MSA and MAS were there. You know how they feel about queens. That would be one stupid alliance if it is anything more than that one nut and a few gaydhimwits who follow without knowing. Allah know not.

John Sobieski, PI
The Pedestrian Infidel Blog

Heathen Dan said...

The problem with bible studies in public schools is the possibility of proselytism. It would seem contrary to a pluralistic society to promote a certain religion (and a certain strand thereof) in its educational institutions.

Remember that the complainants who removed state sponsored prayer in public schools were religious minorities such as Jehovah's Witnesses, who do not want their children to be indoctrinated by the orthodox faiths.

If the US pretends to speak for freedom, then it should not be in the business of promoting specific religions over others.

dag said...

Please don't take my absence from this discussion as a lack of interest. I stay out of these debates to allow for unrestricted debate among readers.