Chuck Norris Advocates Bible as Textbook - I was quite surprised to to see this ad with Chuck Norris. In the ad, Norris and his wife advocate using the "bible as a textbook" in our public elementary and high schools.
I see the merits of studying the bible from an academic perspective. Such an academic study would discuss the good and bad ideas that can be found in the bible, review the history and context in which the books of the bible were written, and examine the many difficulties with translation.
However, in reviewing the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools website, I see that such academic ideals are not what Norris is advocating. Norris and the council want a Sunday school approach to bible study. They hope those Sunday school sessions will help heal the moral ills of our culture. Noble cause. But is the bible the best book for this? I don't think so.
Setting aside the obvious church and state questions (and parental concerns), I honestly don't think the bible would make a good textbook for children. There are plenty of stories I would not want my children exposed to; stories of war, violence, sex, a punitive God. And shouldn't these classes be open to the moral guidance of other religions?
Sam Harris talks a lot about how the bible contains many stories of a God advocating violence, revenge, sex, and a bunch of other "lessons" we probably don't want our kids to learn. Yes, there are positives, which are cherry-picked by religions to fit the the tenants of a religion's faith--and I don't mind the cherry-picking. But the fact that religions must cherry-pick suggests to me that the bible is not "wholey" sacred. It suggests that parts of the bible are just plain offensive to our current cultural sensibilities and should not be believed.