Beliefs Culture Politics

Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green launches a new project: a public school Bible curricul …

“The Book: The Bible’s History, Narrative and Impact” was the first textbook of a curriculum the Green family hoped to introduce in Mustang, Okla., public schools. Photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible

(RNS) The Mustang, Okla., school board voted Monday (April 14) to adopt a Bible course developed by Steve Green, clearing the way for the Hobby Lobby president, whose suit against the Affordable Care Act is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, to enter another charged arena at the borderline of church and state.

The Book's curriculum cover photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible.

A Bible course developed by Steve Green. Cover photo courtesy of Museum of the Bible

The board, whose district is practically in Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City backyard, agreed to beta-test the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, an ambitious four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Good Book.

For at least the first semester of the 2014-15 year, Mustang alone will employ the program, said Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing its development. In September 2016, he hopes to place it in at least 100 high schools; by the following year, “thousands.”

If successful, Green, whose family’s wealth is estimated at upward of $3 billion, would galvanize the movement to teach the Bible academically in public schools, a movement born after the Supreme Court banned school-sanctioned devotion in the 1960s but whose steady progress in the last decades has been somewhat hampered.

The Green curriculum “is like nothing we’ve seen before,” said Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center and editor of a booklet sent out to all schools by the U.S. Department of Education in 2000 on teaching religion in public schools. “It’s unique in its ambition and its scope and its use of the latest technologies. I think school districts far from Oklahoma will take note.”

So will civil libertarians. In an award acceptance speech last April before the National Bible Association, Green explained that his goals for a high school curriculum were to show that the Bible “is true,” that it’s “good” and that its impact, “whether (upon) our government, education, science, art, literature, family … when we apply it to our lives in all aspects of our life, that it has been good.”

If realized, these sentiments, although shared by millions of Americans, could conflict with the court’s requirement that public school treatment of the Bible be taught in a secular, academic fashion.

In the same speech, Green expressed hope that such courses would become mandatory, whereas now they are usually elective.

Green’s move into public school curricula grew out of his second-best-known project (after the lawsuit): a 430,000-square-foot museum of the Bible due to open in 2017 several blocks from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that will feature objects from his family’s 44,000-piece collection of biblical artifacts.

A little over a year ago, said Pattengale, the realization that a high school curriculum could “help millions of students worldwide” understand the Bible’s importance came to seem even more pressing than the museum. Having created an international network of scholars to assist the museum, Pattengale led a crash initiative on the curriculum. He describes the first year, which takes the project only to its quarter-way mark, as a multimillion-dollar effort involving more than 170 people. “It will never recuperate its expenses,” he said, but “there’s no desire to make money.”

He describes the program as “robustly unique.” It divides its topic into three areas: the Bible’s narrative; the history of its composition and reception; and its impact on human civilization. The spine of the first-year program (the only text completed so far) is a 400-plus-page book, currently spiral-bound, featuring 108 chapters divided into five-day-a-week lessons.

The book links to a dizzying array of state-of-the-art digital enhancements (Pattengale counts 550), including one where illustrations “come alive” as video on the screen of a smartphone; original lectures by Green Institute scholars; clips from the Mark Burnett/Roma Downey miniseries “The Bible”; and deep digital access to the Green’s biblical collection.

Asked to describe a typical chapter, Pattengale (who also serves on the Religion News Service managing board) outlined a “narrative” segment on creation that includes a summary of the Bible account; a section on how subsequent scientific discoveries relate to what the Bible says; and a consideration of key reasons it was written. A sidebar called “Are People Created Equal?” explores the Book of Genesis’ influence on that idea through history, including the famous phrase from the Declaration of Independence.

Contrary to popular assumptions, there is nothing unconstitutional about teaching about the Bible in public schools. The same Supreme Court ruling that outlawed school-sanctioned prayer in 1963 qualified that “Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible … when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”

The key words, of course, are “objectively” and “secular.” Haynes suggested that, constitutionally, “the bar is actually low — I think it’s hard for judges to get beyond the surface to questions of what a sound academic course looks like — but much more difficult to develop materials that actually both reflect constitutional principles and are academically solid.”

Added Southern Methodist University’s Mark Chancey: “The devil is in the details” of each plan.

Of his boss’s 2013 speech, Pattengale said: “The curriculum may or may not espouse those views. The last people (Green) wanted to hire were scholars who would embellish the facts to support his religious position.” A chapter with the provocative title “How Do We Know That the Bible’s Historical Narratives are Reliable?” will include diagrams charting the commonality of multidisciplinary scholarly findings with the biblical account — or the lack of such commonality, he said.

In Mustang, Green could not have asked for a more sympathetic research partner. Religious observance in the Oklahoma City bedroom community is largely Christian, and the majority of Christians are, like Green, Southern Baptist. The nearest two synagogues are not in town — and are populated with Messianic Jews who believe in Jesus. In 2005, when a previous school superintendent canceled the schools’ annual Christmas pageant because of concerns over the separation of church and state,  voters rejected a proposed school bond. 

The Greens are a local employer — Hobby Lobby corporate headquarters is just five miles east on Oklahoma Highway 152 — and highly regarded citizens: “They are for real a good Christian family, and have been for years and years,” says Don Anderson, a successful real estate agent.

Said Brady Henderson, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma: “We don’t like their Supreme Court brief, but they do give a lot to the community. They treat their employees better than a lot of service industries.”

The vote Monday night was closer than might have been expected: four yeas and one abstention. One former pastor spoke out against adopting the curriculum, citing the innate difficulty of finding common language about the Bible. Abstaining board member Jeff Landrith asserted that the community had not had enough chance to review curriculum. Board President Chad Fulton responded that it would available shortly for examination. One party promising to take a look was the Oklahoma ACLU: “to ensure no students… have their right of religious liberty compromised.”

Soon, many will have a chance to assess it.


About the author

David Van Biema


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  • So now Green is finding new way to impose his fundamentalist beliefs on others and violate the law. So in addition to treating his employees like personal property, he feels he owns the town they live in as well.

    Even Green admits this has everything to do with advancing his religious beliefs and nothing else. Any pretense of secular academic teaching is non-existent.

    Unlike the ACA, the laws forbidding public schools to engage in sectarian religious activities are much older and more firmly established.

    Maybe Mr. Green can pay for the lawsuits the school board is going to incur when they are sued for violating the Establishment Clause. Maybe this way the town doesn’t have to cover it with increased taxes from this illegal boondoggle.

  • People ask why I sound so angry all the time.

    But Steve Green (and his army) is declaring war on me. Can’t you all see it?
    He is declaring war on me personally and on our Constitution which denies the establishment of religion in government.

    Let us be clear.

    You only enjoy the right to your religion in the USA to the degree that you allow me the right to IGNORE your religion.

    If you force me…. and my loved ones…. to accept your religion whether I like it or not you are going down the road of the old warring states of Europe which Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin did not want for the USA.

    We non believers won’t have your religion forced on our children in school.
    Get that?

    Nothing going on in the USA is more traitorous than these Evangelicals and their reckless bible thumping all over our laws.

  • Forcing Mr. Green to be responsible to pay for the lawsuits wouldn’t be a good idea. That would stifle free speech.

    Instead, the idiot politicians who run to his aid and try to enact any such laws should be ridiculed LOUDLY – along with the comedic religion of Christianity they so fervently endorse.

    I would love to see Christianity and its Preachers properly and publicly disparaged for this social cancer they promote. LET THAT BE STEVE’S LESSON.

    It is high time people took a stand against these superstitious clowns.

    Christianity, Islam, Zionism are not only crazy, they are dangerous toys and too many people like to play with them. But where is the outrage?

  • The problem with teaching the Bible without interpretation is that it promotes the literal interpretation of the Bible, which is what people like Mr. Green intend. To teach the Bible “objectively” and from a “secular” point of view means from a critical perspective. I doubt that Mr. Green’s curriculum gives more than lip service to higher criticism. I expect it to end up in the courts. I have a Master of Theological Studies Degree in Biblical Studies from Phillips Theological Seminary. I wouldn’t want the Green family in charge of our curriculum.

  • Yeah because having the Bible taught might lead to loving one’s neighbors, or forgiveness, or treating people right. What a horrible change that would be.

  • Yeah because having the Bible taught might lead to loving one’s neighbors, or forgiveness, or treating people right. What a horrible change that would be

  • Funny, because you never see that behaviour from the overwhelming majority of people who read it on a regular basis. Mr Green included.

    You certainly never see it from people who insist on interjecting their sectarian agendas into public school curriculums

  • It doesn’t seem to work for Mr. Green, or anyone who supports using public resources for advancing sectarian interests.

    Some of the most unpleasant, rude, mean spirited, and hateful people I know claim to read the Bible regularly. Most even call themselves Christians

  • Yes, let’s have public school classes about the Bibles. They have had a large influence on our culture and history.

    Some information to include:

    I. History
    A. Diversity of Early Christianity
    B. Different scripture of different early Chistianties
    C. Choosing which books to include (never settled, not settled today)
    D. Changes to texts over time (never settled, not settled today)
    II. Impact
    A. Scripture related Christian conflict & War before 1000 CE (docetists, anti-semitism, Reconquista, etc.)
    B. Scripture related conflict 1000-1500 CE (Crusades, Albigensian, etc.)
    C. Scripture related conflict 1500-today (European wars of religion, Mein Kampf, etc.)
    III. Content
    A. Scriptural approval of social ills (slavery – curse of Ham, treament of women, children, non-Christians, etc.)
    B. Scriptural science mistakes (creationism, genetics, germs, reproduction, flat-earth, geocentrism, exodus myth)
    C. Scriptural genocide (mythical conquest of Canaan, Luke 19, etc.)
    IV. Current Harm
    A. continued oppresion of women
    B. treatment of LBGT/ same-sex marriage
    C. Ongoing apocalyptacism
    D. climate-change denial

    I’m sure others could add quite a bit to this rough draft.

    I suggest that Atheist Max be put in charge of designing the course, and teaching it.

    This will greatly help future generations avoid repeating many of the mistakes of past generations.

  • I suppose that depends on what part of the Bible one reads. If all you read is the Sermon on the Mount, yes, I suppose that would be true. But where the “Bible” tells women to be silent, and calls for children’s heads to be bashed on stones, I think readers get a different picture.

  • Oklahoma ranks among one of the worst states for literacy, white collar jobs, and education achievement.

    Money from big businesses would be better spent on programs to teach public school children more than one book. The school board should be impeached for wasting taxpayer money and resources so foolishly. (Its not like Green is going to pay the legal costs for the town when they inevitably get sued for breaking the law)

    Steve Green is a narcissistic, self centered buffoon who has more concern for expressing his piety in public than for fellow human beings.

  • The syllabus itself is coercive. It is designed to promote specifically sectarian views of religious texts. It has no place in a public school at all.

    Oklahoma has enough problems teaching children the basics, including literacy in general. This is nothing but a vanity project and waste of limited school resources.

    Anyone who claims the course has a purpose other than proselyting and teaching religious sectarian belief with public resources is a liar.

    This is just one of many examples of Steve Green expressing public piety loudly like the hypocrites described in Matthew 6. Using his money to show off to the world how Godly he is. Very Un-Christlike yet so typically Christian.

  • @Bindobi,
    I see You drank the koolaide.

    If Christianity led to loving neighbors, forgiveness and treating people right there wouldn’t be any Christians in prison!

    Turns out the immoral center of Christianity is a bit of nonsense called “vicarious redemption” where pleasure and joy is found in the torture and human sacrifice of another human being.

    The ancient word for it is ‘scapegoating’ and it has resulting in more immoral behavior than any other idea in human history.

    THAT IS CHRISTIANITY – The unconditional blessing of explicitly immoral behavior.

  • @Jon,

    I’m ready! I would call my course “The Price of Religion”.
    And I would add to your very good list the psychological harm of
    RELIGION to the believers themselves:

    The harm of self-abnegation,
    sexual self-repression and guilt,
    the unfreedom of thought from the idea that a punishing god can see what you are thinking,
    Stockholm syndrome/Masochism – Compelled to Love (god) that which you are also to compelled to fear (god).
    the damage to responsibility of vicarious redemption,
    the subversion of Love, our deepest integrity.
    The deference to an unseen authority all moral decisions
    the surrender to theocracy and totalitarianism.

    To start with!

  • Wherever religion is strong, education and freedom are weak.

    No more silence on these matters. Religion is useless.

  • @Frank, being gay is only damaging in your imaginary world where it is wrong to turn your back on a leprechaun and bad swimmers get drowned by judgmental mermaids.
    “Sin” is a pretend word for a pretend crime in an imaginary realm.

  • Atheist Max – glad you saw that. Yep, good addition. Vicarious atonement is so damaging. It’s a classic example of inadequacy marketing – fabricate a bogus “problem”, then provide your magic product to solve it.

  • Good luck getting them to stop looking at their desire to push their religion on you long enough, to ponder whether or not you want it.

    No means no, unless you’re asking for it. And being secular is asking for it. #Atheistshaming

  • Why just the Bible if it is secular? Why not comparative religions, giving their fair share to each religion and their comparisons? This is just indoctrination, and that is the only reason why it is just the Bible.

  • And let’s not forget it might lead to drunkenness (Noah, Genesis 9:21-26), slavery, incest (Lot and his daughters, Genesis 19:29-37, to name just one), human sacrifice (Jepthah and his daughter, Judges 11). Thanks for the reminder of what a good book the bible is.

  • It’s the fact that, if successful, could not only lead it to being taught in hundreds, if not thousands of schools, but it would also be made MANDATORY, not elective. Please read the entire story, not just bits and pieces of it.

  • Well said. Your post goes along the lines of my interpretation of this proposed curriculum: will the teachers be dictated HOW to interpret the bible in this so-called academic approach to the bible? After all, a true academic approach would mean an honest appraisal of the text, not a dogmatic acceptance of the text as morally correct. If not, what if the teacher and class come to the conclusion that the book is full of contradictions, genocide, misogyny, homophobia, approval of slavery, etc.?

  • I would love to take this class myself to find out exactly how they exlain that science has proven the truth of the Genisis story of cration of the world in 6 days. That would be a total hoot!

  • Perfect comment, Atheist Max! Kudos .. keep up the good work! A truly free America, is a secular America. Just as planned by our founding government. Restore secularity to America!

  • ATHEIST MAX, word up! You are telling it exactly. Nobody can preach the bible to my kids and these holy people are way outnumbered if we speak up.
    USA rocks – keep the constitution clean.

  • Once you realize that the Bible started out as the beliefs of a small tribe in the desert, just like thousands of other ancient tribes, you will see it’s no better than all those pagan religions. All major religions started out the same way and all should be traded in for scientific truth. The should be encouraged to watch “Cosmos” with Neil DeGrade Tyson.

  • Tyson demonstrates clearly that it takes far greater faith to ascribe unguided naturalism to the origins of the universe and life then an intelligent Creator. Oh wait there’s always the “multiverse”.

  • Oops…that pesky that Big Bang keep keeps rearing its ugly head. Wait I forgot the universe just emerged from oblivion…but I think that really only happened in Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.

    Our Christian faith doesn’t require us to reject emerging scientific facts. But the fact remains that the statistical probability of life emerging from un-guided chance is ZERO.

  • So you are not rejecting emerging scientific facts. You are just choosing not to learn about them in an adequate fashion before making comments on strawman positions.

    Christians already have Sunday schools and private schools to teach kids about the Bible and whatnot. They do not need public schools to do the same thing.

  • The alternative to “naturalism”, when discussing science or any kind of subject is voodoo and superstition. Trading in telescopes for reading sheep entrails. Its of no use whatsoever when dealing with the expansion of our base of knowledge.

    People who moan about “materialistic naturalism” are just trying to shoehorn anti-intellectual, brain-cell murdering, religious nonsense into a subject where it does not belong. Since their ideas in no way fit the framework of rational inquiry, they have to attack all forms of rational inquiry.

    It would pay if you bothered to educate yourself about the subjects you are criticizing. AnswersinGenesis is not going to help you here. Sorry Bart, it takes zero faith to accept what Tyson says about scientific knowledge. He doesn’t ask people to do so. They can learn about it for themselves. It comes when you decide to read more than one book.

  • Wait. I take that back even in the Wrath of Khan, the Genesis Project required some modicum of intelligence. But nothing like the breathtaking amount of intelligence in the smallest living cell.

  • My concern is that evolutionists so desperately, intolerantly and “religiously” cling to their anti-intelligence presuppositions that they prevent young minds from being exposed to much responsible science.

    Life’s enormous complexity in miniature is a serious objection to atheistic evolutionary theory. Evolutionists cannot account for the origin of the first cell(s), and there are further problems with the increasing complexity and new information that is required to produce higher, or more ‘evolved’, life-forms.

    Even the non-Christian molecular biologist, Michael Denton, says, in his best-selling book Evolution a Theory in Crisis, ‘Nothing illustrates clearly just how intractable a problem the origin of life has become than the fact that world authorities can seriously toy with the idea of panspermia.

    Everywhere we look, life possesses the hallmark of the design and purposes of its creator. Unfortunately for some, they are so blinded by their worldview that they are incapable, or unwilling, to consider the most obvious and sensible explanation.

  • You hit the nail on the head, Max. In the contest of tall tales between the bible and Jack and the Beanstalk, I’ll take Jack any day.

  • @Bart,

    Never. Ever. Never.
    Not once….
    …. has any scientific fact been refuted and overturned by a religious belief.

    That should stop you in your tracks.

  • The problem Bart, is that you and every other Creationist, is an anti-intellectual liar.

    Someone whose religious belief seems to compel them to attack the rational acquisition of knowledge.

    You lie when you pretend Creationism has to be taken seriously as a rational scientific study. Even to the point of misrepresenting accepted scientific knowledge of the subject. Your ignorance on the subject is telling (as is your obvious cribbing from Creationist sources)

    Most of all, you lie about the very nature of Creationism. Creationism’s primary tenet is that your religious belief can somehow be proven to be true through objective and rational presentation of evidence. That faith is unnecessary to your religious belief. Of course you would never accept evidence which could dissuade your religious belief. No religious person holds their belief in such a fashion.

    So obviously the rational presentation of evidence is not something important to your religious belief. When you start attacking “naturalism” and then talk about the limits of rational objective evidence you admit this even further.

    Ultimately by being a Creationist, you lie in public about your faith. You know as well as anyone else that your religious belief is buoyed by nothing but faith. The absence of evidence. But you insist on pretending to the contrary out of some compulsion.

    If you are seeing evidence of intelligent design wherever you look, that may point more towards your own lack of knowledge and vision than anything I should care about.

    Public schools don’t need religiously compelled dishonesty in any form. Be that sub rosa attempts to proselytize as Steve Green intends, or Creationism.

  • I am interested in doing something similar for the Quaran and the Bhagavad Gita. It’s only an elective, right?

  • Having the bible taught makes the U.S. look like a fool on the world’s stage. Why teach crazy ideas like talking snakes. virgin births etc? Treating people right is am function of good parenting – not crazy beliefs from 3000 year old books!

  • Oklahoma just guaranteed poverty for many of its citizens by outlawing the minimum wage. Unbelievable. What a state!

  • Mandatory? You see, this is how they interpret religious freedom. Force people to read THEIR Bible. There are passages in the Bible that say kill your relatives if they turn away from Christanity. Kill babies. Etec. and etc. There is a lot of stuff BAD about the Bible. As long as it’s done without preaching and attempting to convert people and just as a social science course like other mythology courses, whish is what it is, I have no problem with is being an elective.

  • What proof it was YOUR God that created life and not, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  • Will the course also ‘teach the controversy’ concerning Biblical history? There is plenty of archaeological evidence that the pre-Temple periods are representative of historical facts. And as one goes back in time the Biblical history reads more and more like myth until it simply becomes fantasy.

  • Having grown up Jewish in a predominantly Christian town, I can tell you that your bible did nothing to encourage my neighbors to treat me right. If anything, I was bullied because of my religion by those so-called Christians.

  • High school students are encouraged to engage in critical thinking skills and to ask questions.

    Imagine that one student asks, “Yeah, but none of this is true, right?” and some bible-believing teacher responds, “Of course it is true. It is the eternal word of the Lord!”

    And… let the lawsuits begin!

  • I’d like to see someone challenge this by asking that similar programs for the Torah and the Koran be offered and and if they discriminate, take them to court. I may be a Christian, but I’m also an American citizen who takes the separation of church and state seriously. Unless the school district is willing to offer the entire spectrum of traditional religious — and non-religious — views to its students, I believe that this so called “academic” program is unconstitutional and should not be allowed to go forward.

  • sinful, damaging behavior like divorce and adultery, both explicitly mentioned by the Bible as not only sinful but capitol crimes worthy of stoning? We won’t even get into the sinful nature food choices and styles of clothing manufacturing also taught by the Bible as sinful and worthy of stoning.

    When was the last time a man was punished for his sinful behavior as prescribed by the Bible?

  • Orca all of the laws are not the same nor do they have the same purposes. Only the moral laws still stand. DO some study on it. It will help you better understand and have a more educated conversation.

  • No matter how much you swear by the Big Bang theory, even belief in it requires a point in time where matter was formed from nothingness. I think we can all agree that that can not scientifically happen. The idea of an intelligent God, given the perfect environment for life on our planet, is a much more plausible explanation than believing that matter, which did not exist, created itself. The Big Bang theory is, as itself states, a theory.

    I would also like to point out that nothing in the Bible has ever been in controversy with a scientific FACT, which would also explain your statement that nothing has ever been overturned. Scientific fact and the Bible do not have any disputes.

  • No, Hunter, it doesn’t require an ounce of faith. You are full of crap and don’t know a damn thing about science.

    The Big Bang Theory works and is still the accepted framework for understanding the birth of the universe because the evidence points towards it being so. It is to the best of our knowledge and supported by what we have discovered.

    Nothing within scientific knowledge requires faith. That is what Fundamentalist Christian liars say to make their mythological cosmological position sound like it has to be taken seriously. Scientific knowledge requires evidence and is supported by the best of what we know of a situation. If it can’t be supported in such a fashion it is not adopted. If new evidence comes to supplant the old position, so be it. No faith required. No blanket unfounded assumptions necessary.

    You don’t understand the scientific definition of theory either. [An evidence supported framework from which to interpret research results and analysis]

    The idea of an intelligent creator God is not plausible, not supported by anything people have to take seriously. Intelligent design is useless dishonest claptrap which adds nothing to our knowledge of the world. You would rather make sweeping pronouncements based on your limited vision and knowledge than learn facts about the world around you.

    Of course nothing in the Bible has been in controversy with scientific facts, THERE ARE NO SCIENTIFIC FACTS IN THE BIBLE. Its like saying science has never been in conflict with the writings of John Grisham.

  • Bart, did your god suddenly appear out of nothingness? Who created your god?
    Probably some more powerful god I suppose. It’s turtles all the way down.

  • I came here to read the comments. A lot of you really enjoy bickering over the internet. What a convenience…say what you want to say from the safety of a computer screen and an IP address. SO FREAKING CONVENIENT.

  • How can even the most religious Christian think this is a good idea? This would effectively force the 25% of Americans who aren’t Christian to have their children go thru religious training for a religion that’s not theirs. Equally as bad, you would be using tax dollars of non-Christians to fund this (if it’s in public schools), how can this be in any way lawful or just. This is exactly what the original settlers came to America to avoid – a state religion.

  • It always amazes me how many times this God orders the killing of innocent people even after the Ten Commandments said “Thou shall not kill”. For example, God kills 70,000 innocent people because David ordered a census of the people (1 Chronicles 21). God also orders the destruction of 60 cities so that the Israelites can live there. He orders the killing of all the men, women, and children of each city, and the looting of all of value (Deuteronomy 3). He orders another attack and the killing of “all the living creatures of the city: men and women, young, and old, as well as oxen sheep, and asses” (Joshua 6). In Judges 21, He orders the murder of all the people of Jabesh-gilead, except for the virgin girls who were taken to be forcibly raped and married. When they wanted more virgins, God told them to hide alongside the road and when they saw a girl they liked, kidnap her and forcibly rape her and make her your wife! Just about every other page in the Old Testament has God killing somebody! In 2 Kings 10:18-27, God orders the murder of all the worshipers of a different god in their very own church! In total God kills 371,186 people directly and orders another 1,862,265 people murdered.
    The God of the Bible also allows slavery, including selling your own daughter as a sex slave (Exodus 21:1-11), child abuse (Judges 11:29-40 and Isaiah 13:16), and bashing babies against rocks (Hosea 13:16 & Psalms 137:9).
    This type of criminal behavior should shock any moral person. Murder, rape, pillage, plunder, slavery, and child abuse can not be justified by saying that some god says it’s OK. If more people would actually sit down and read the Bible there would be a lot more atheists.
    Jesus also promoted the idea that all men should castrate themselves to go to heaven: “For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19:12 ASV) I don’t know why anyone would follow the teachings of someone who literally tells all men to cut off their privates.

    The God of the Bible also was a big fan of ritual human sacrifice and animal sacrifice.

  • This Green man is a real nut case. Our country was founded on the sea ration of religion and state He is a real traitor.
    In the sixties I was a student in a school district that tried something like this. A bible teacher came in once a week for thirty minutes. All of the students were absolutely bored to tears. I was offended by it because non Christian students had to stand in the hall for thirty minutes while this teacher carried on about her faith being the only faith. Here I am , an eleven year old , and I had enough sense to see the wrong in her demeanor and her message.
    And I don’t know if Mr .Green knows this but we already have bible study available in the USA. It is called Sunday School. It is available for those who wish to attend but it isn’t forced on those who have other beliefs.

  • You do realize that most atheists do study the bible? We do more than just study,we work with more liberal christians and jews to dissect and understand the bible. It’s just that we find many more downsides and terrifying punishments for minor things (polyester clothing.) And for the record, following the bible blindly like most of Mr.Green’s fanbase,is the lack of wisdom,they can’t even follow the complete bible.

  • Because my taxes,jewish people’s taxes,islamic people’s taxes,and every other religion’s taxes have to go toward teaching this class. And if Green gets his way here, (slippery slope coming your way,though this guy literally does keep pushing) he will try getting more and more schools to teach it,and he has already shared his hopes of having it become mandatory. And as for it being a secular class,who do you think will teach it? Do you have any idea about how biased it may be? Of course,this class may be the most secular look at the bible ever,but with his background and the city’s,I don’t think they will take the class in its supposed secular form.

  • You wanna go mate? Come on over and we will talk like men! I have like,tow couches but one is covered in cat hair… and I only have some pizza left so you will just have to watch me eat it.

  • Most of the laws God gave in the Bible were to protect a people that had just come from a life of slavery. They had not known any other way of societal behavior and were exposed to the Egyptian’s idol worship. They needed direction to begin their own way of life, in a new land, to learn to allow the One True God to love them, to provide for them, to protect them. They needed to know how to live amongst one another, how to treat one another, and how to punish those that were harmful to other people by stealing, murdering, adultery, etc., and to protect their society from enemy attacks. The laws regarding food was to protect their health. For example, scavengers and hooved animals ate things that aren’t as healthy for us to eat, and they didn’t have the means to fully & properly cook pork in order for them not to get sick. Another example, is the law requiring women to abstain of sexual intercourse during her monthly cycle, was simply a cleanliness issue. They didn’t have the means to bathe as often as we do. Many of these laws were made optional in the New Testament, when Jesus came, as part of the New Covenant. Jesus Christ died for our sins, fulfilling all these laws, because we, as fallible humans, could not fully do so on our own. The people were no longer bound by such laws, but some people choose to adhere to them still. It’s a choice, not a requirement. I personally try to follow them as health guidelines, but know that I am not condemned if I don’t. I will be healthier if I do. The laws which make up the Ten Commandments are still requirements of society, so we will know how to have a relationship with God, the Creator of all the universe, and with other people. This is just common sense. Believing the Bible’s truths does not require or demand a blind faith following. It is full of provable truths, both for all mankind throughout history and science, and in one’s personal life.

  • @Max: WHAT are you talking about!? First, Christianity is full of the same people that live in your house. We are all fallible and subject to sinning. None of us are perfect, holy, and without sin. Just because someone goes to church, does not make them a Christian, or holy like Jesus, any more than you sitting in a doghouse makes you a dog. You can’t judge people simply because they say they are a Christian. While we can’t truly judge another person’s behavior, attitudes, thoughts, or motives, but only hold them accountable to the written laws of God, set by the example of Jesus, God Himself. Be honest, as a people group, we generally treat each other very poorly, because we are self-focused. It’s all about us. That’s just the way we are. That doesn’t excuse ill treatment of others, and that’s why we have laws – both those given to us by God, and those given to us by our governing body (which most of those laws are based on the Ten Commandments, given by God). Christians end up in prison, just like every other person who is choosing (or accused & convicted of) criminal behavior. Christianity doesn’t make them a criminal, it’s personal choices. I don’t understand what you mean by “pleasure and joy is found in the torture and human sacrifice of another human being.” I’ll reserve a response to this, until I better understand your comment. Is this the “explicitly immoral behavior” you are referring to?

  • I’m sorry that I didn’t realize that there is another ‘Michelle’ in this conversational thread. I apologize for any confusion.

  • I grew up Catholic in a mostly Baptist town and I experienced religious harassment, too. There were ignorant questions, such as: “Do you worship statues?” And there were nasty jokes involving priests and a couple’s wedding night. The religious right with their ugly politics seems not to have changed much.

  • Oh, I know, thinking hurts.

    Yes, objects can come from ‘nothing’. If you study quantum physics, you would know that it occurs all the time.

    The statistical probability of life emerging from un-guided chance is not zero. Far from. Experimentation has shown that the building blocks for life (amino acids) can be ‘activated’ by electrical current (lightning) or radiation (such as UV). Look into the Miller-Urey experiment. There is also evidence from the large number of amino acids found on some meteorites that the building blocks for life are abundant throughout the universe. Evidence shows that the chance is not “zero”. In fact, that is a greater chance than a magic sky-man (who himself had to come from “nothing”) waving his magic wand and saying “I’m lonely. I think I’ll make people. For my benefit. Tell me how much you love me or I’ll sentence you to eternal hell. Cool!”

    Science isn’t absolute, it provides conclusions based on EVIDENCE. Such as the rapidly expanding universe (fact) and WMAP (hallmark evidence for ‘echo’ of what is termed the “big bang” – which in fact was more of a massively rapid expansion than a cartoonish explosion that the non-scientifically derived name implies).

    I figure there are questions about how evolution works. I suggest studying how genes work, mutations, and mutations beneficial for survival. It isn’t like one day *poof* things happen. That’s religion. Evolution doesn’t work that way.

    When I hear “its just a theory” from apologists, they are showing their ignorance of the term and how scientific theory works (based on at least some evidence to support it). After all – gravity is “just a theory”.

  • The real issue here is that many, perhaps most of our American laws were taken from/influenced by the Bible. But those laws were not about religion; they were about life principles. And just because someone may have found some religious hypocrites “on the right”, doesn’t nullify the clear writing of the US Constitution about religious freedom. Further, “the left” has shown it’s hypocritical ways as much as anyone. However, an academic study of the Bible and its influences is certainly appropriate. And any other position is simply biased and unconstitutional. Like the Bible says, Don’t try to take the speck out of someone else’s eye until you take the bolder out your own.