Creationist Wisdom #791: The Bible as Textbook

Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s a column, really) appears in the Lebanon Democrat of Lebanon, Tennessee. It’s titled The Bible is God’s textbook for life, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s Tim Johnson, pastor of the Countryside Baptist Church of Kingman, Indiana. We’ll give you a few excerpts from rev’s column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

After discussing how textbooks have changed, the rev says:

In the early years of America, there was a textbook that never changed but was always correct – it was called the Bible. Noah Webster, the fellow that wrote the dictionary, is credited with saying, “The Bible was America’s basic textbook in all fields.” The Bible was often the only book a family had, and therefore, the children brought a Bible as their “reader.” The first textbooks were filled with Bible quotes to prove their points, pass on logic, common sense and a moral base to the next generation. … Does the Bible teach the core subjects taught in school? Let’s look.

Then the rev visits several school subjects and discusses their treatment in the bible. He says:

Math – In the first chapter of the Bible the word “divided” is used twice and the word “multiply” is used three times. Right out of the gate, the Bible gives practical examples of the mathematical principles of multiplication and division. For those of a more liberal mindset, the command to multiply in Genesis chapter one can easily lead to sex education as Adam and Eve were told to “be fruitful and multiply.” There is math all over the Bible as the nation of Israel is counted, Christ and the feeding of the 5,000 and the parable of the hundred sheep, just to name a few.

He’s right. There’s plenty of math in the bible. But for some reason, the rev doesn’t mention The Scriptural Value Of Pi. After that he tells us:

Reading – Learning to read using the Bible would not be difficult at all. Since we already mentioned Genesis one and because it is the first chapter we will use it as an example. There is only one word in the chapter’s 31 verses that contains more than three syllables. The word abundantly – which can also teach a mathematical principle – appears in verse 21.

Can’t argue with that! He continues:

Social Studies – The outline of American government is given in Isaiah 33:22, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Before I go any further, I must say, it is God that will save us not the government, but in this one verse we do see the three branches of our government. We have a president, not a king, but this is the executive branch, we have a judge; of course, this is the judicial branch or the Supreme Court. Lastly, we have the lawgiver, which is the legislative branch consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

We respectfully disagree with the rev. We’ve pointed out several times before that there is no democracy in the bible — it’s all about theocratic monarchy — on Earth as it is in Heaven. Hamilton and Madison, who explained the Constitution clause-by-clause in the Federalist Papers, did so totally without scriptural references. That’s because there was no scriptural basis for concepts like a decentralized federal republic, a two-house legislature, limited government with enumerated powers, representation based on population, checks and balances, prohibiting religious qualifications for holding office, allowing secular oaths, and providing that a man-made Constitution was the supreme law of the land.

Let’s read on: This is where the rev’s letter really gets good:

Science – Isaiah wrote in chapter 40 of his book, roughly 2,200 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, that the world is round, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…” (Isaiah 40:22).

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We explained that often misquoted passage, and gave dozens of others contradicting the rev’s claim in The Earth Is Flat!

But wait — there’s even more science in the bible. Here’s another excerpt:

The constellations Orion and Pleiades are mentioned by name more than once (Job 9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8). Dinosaurs are called by the names Leviathan (Job 41:1; Psalms 74:14; 104:6; Isaiah 27:1) and Behemoth (Job 40:15). Behemoth, from his description in Job 40 is most likely a brontosaurus, while Leviathan is a sea creature.

Wowie — it’s all there! What more could anyone want? And now we come to the end:

Well, that is enough school for today. Grab your Bible and “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,” 2 Timothy 2:15.

Are you persuaded, dear reader? If so, start complaining to your school board that they’re wasting money on textbooks. All we need is the bible.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #791: The Bible as Textbook

  1. What a crock of bullstuff. I remember reading the Bible as a youth and really struggling because of the foreign locales, foreign place names, bizarre character names, and strange behaviors. Then there would be the problematic Job getting “covered” by his daughters and all of the genocide, selling of children into slavery, taking people into slavery, etc.

    Hardly a good influence on our youth. Wait, maybe he is referring to the Bibles doctored for young people which leaves out all of the troublesome stuff (e.g. most of it) and tell cool stories about how the lions and sheep played together on Noah’s ark.

  2. Michael Fugate

    If I only own one book – no matter what book it is – that book is automatically authoritative in every subject?

    Choose your book wisely – I say.

  3. It is said (I haven’t checked it) that there are more, and more interesting, numbers in the Qur’an. I suspect that the Rev would not see this as an argument for Islam.

    Also, assigning mythological names to collections of stars is not a scientific pursuit. The opposite, in fact.

  4. Last week I saw a short video by a Dutch YECer who claimed that (I paraphrase) “science only arose in christian societies”. Never mind the falsehood of this one – what’s so delicious is that he rejects many conclusions of all natural sciences, including contributions by christian scientists.

  5. Bible thumper should be more careful when quoting Isaiah 40:22.if God sits above the circle of the Earth, then this shows (a) that there is a definite direction called up; (b) that there is a physical place (call it Heaven) where God sits, and, worst of all, that God has a physical location.

    But the Reverend also missed a trick. In Genesis 3 we have the voice of the Lord walking in the garden; is this verse not there to instruct us about the benefits of exercise?

  6. Mark Germano

    “Math – In the first chapter of the Bible the word “divided” is used twice and the word “multiply” is used three times. Right out of the gate, the Bible gives practical examples of the mathematical principles of multiplication and division.”

    That just might be the dumbest thing I’ll read in 2017.

  7. @Mark Germano “That just might be the dumbest thing I’ll read in 2017.” It’s early still so don’t get your hopes up too much.

  8. @Paul Braterman:

    It’s worse than that. I think it was Isaac Asimov who pointed out in one of his essays that a circle isn’t a sphere: it’s a flat two-dimensional object, basically a disk.

    How many Christians are willing to accept a flat Earth?

  9. A coincidence: The author of quote, Deutero-Isaiah, was a contemporary with Pythagoras, 6th century BCE.

  10. This is a great letter SC. The author isn’t so much selling the Bible as a textbook, rather trying to raise the esteem of the Bible to change the perception to a modern book. I’d point out by using a similar tenuous logical cascade one could in fact make the case the Bible supports Darwinian evolution:sea creatures are created before land animals for example. (For obvious reasons the Rev isn’t going to go there!)

    The examples cited are poorly reasoned and stretched to the limit. Multiplication here isn’t so much a reference to the precise arithmetic operation, rather it means merely to increase in number. The reason this letter isn’t a serious about using the Bible as a text book is that none of the examples would yield a working knowledge of the subjects that it is alleged to teach, it is merely to make the Bible to appear to be correct about everything all along.

  11. I would not recommend following Jacob’s rules regarding animal husbandry and selective breeding – modern texts are far more useful in that regard.

    (In the story, Jacob’s father-in-law tells him that he gets to have all of the striped lambs in the next generation of sheep, so he puts a striped pole in the place where the sheep typically mate and, lo and behold, most of the next generation of lambs are striped.. The belief at that time was that an animal’s offspring would take on the attributes of their environment – some will argue that there was a miracle here, but, no, God actually praises Jacob for his cleverness in figuring this out.)

  12. I asked my rabbi about this. He suggested that seeing the striped pole would effective ewes’ mating preferences. I wondered at the time if they really gave that degree of mating choice to the ewes, as they certainly didn’t to the women

  13. Kevin MURPHY

    Not sure how the Bible would have helped me in my Algebra and Calculus classes. Nor statistics.

  14. I don’t remember anything in the Bible about the arithmetic of fractions, negative numbers, exponentials (square, cubed, roots), percentage, long division, counting by twos or threes, decimal notation, prime numbers, numbers as big of a billion, trillion, etc. The difference between a square and a rectangle; a circle, an oval, an ellipse. Things that are mostly before middle school mathematics. How to balance a checkbook, calculate sales tax, a tip,
    let alone income tax.