cultural literacy and non-religious families? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
AmyKT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: my little corner of the world
Posts: 1,297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Maybe there's a better forum for this -- I don't know. Mods, feel free to move it.

DH and I were raised in Christian churches, but our beliefs are pretty much in flux now, and attending church doesn't at all feel right. It also feels awkward for us to talk about biblical stories to DD (only 2 now, but this will be more of an issue later) because we're not really believers.

Still, I think it's important in western culture for children to be at least somewhat familiar with Judeo-Christian stories and beliefs. Otherwise, you miss out on a lot of literary, movie, TV, and musical references.

For other non-religious or non-Christian families, how do you introduce the stories to your kids without it feeling awkward?

Honestly, I know I wouldn't have any problem reading stories from other faiths to DD, or especially from the "dead" religions like the ancient Greek, Egyptian myths. I guess it's just my/our conflicted relationship with Christianity that makes it feel strange.

Are there any "neutral" biblical story books out there for kids? You know, ones that don't have a religious message beyond what's in the story itself? We have a lot of books that MIL has given us, but they are very instructional.

ETA: we're not necessarily anti-religion, and if DD wants to be a part of a church when she gets older, that's fine.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
AmyKT is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 09:08 PM
 
lotusdebi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Facebook
Posts: 6,302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We go with "some people believe" and "some people believed." When it comes to religions that are still widely practiced today, I may also give examples of real-life people they know who believe in those things. I don't differentiate between Greek mythology and Christian mythology (for example) even though one is now widely considered ridiculous while the other is widely believed to be true. I let my kids decide for themselves what they want to believe in. When we deal with books that speak as though the story is TRUTH and GOD exists, I make sure to preface the story with "this was written by someone who believes it's true, and so that's the point of view of the story." This is certainly easier to discuss with a 6 or 7 year old than a preschooler. With younger kids, I avoid those stories. They can't understand the nuances anyway, and many of the stories are just too scary.

I don't know of any neutral bible story books. Sorry. You may just have to edit and preface yourself.

You can find me on Facebook. PM for info.
lotusdebi is offline  
#3 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 09:44 PM
 
robin3's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 135
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You might want to check out the books "Parenting Beyond Beliefn raising ethical, caring kids without religion" and "Raising Freethinkier: a practical guide for Parenting Beyond Belief" both by Dale McGowan. They are excellent resources for how to parent kids in a religious culture when you are not necessary religious yourself.
robin3 is offline  
#4 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:28 PM
 
LynnS6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pacific NW longing for the Midwest
Posts: 12,446
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I would approach this from an anthropological approach - I would talk about how different people have different religions, and read about a lot of different religions.

There are a fair number of books out there for world religions aimed at kids, and that don't appear to privilege one religion over another.
Many Ways: How Families Practice Their Beliefs and Religions
A faith like mine
Usborne Book of World Religions
One World Many Religions

I'd also then read stories from the major religious traditions. I do think it's important for people to be familiar with the basic stories of the Bible as part of cultural literacy. But, people should also be familiar with basic stories of all of the major religions.

You could start with creation stories, for example, and read those. You could read about the major festivals of the world's religions/traditions: what is Rosh Hashanah? Eid al Fitr? Diwali? Lunar New Year? Easter?

Lynnteapot2.GIF, academicreading.gif,geek.gif wife, WOHM  to T jog.gif(4/01) and M whistling.gif (5/04)
LynnS6 is offline  
#5 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:30 PM
 
Toolip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,690
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I know what you mean. My parents were both raised Christian and I was not. I had to read parts of the bible in HS English because it is such an important reference to so much literature. I don't feel like I missed out spiritually, but I sure do terrible on Jeopardy categories that have anything to do with the bible I don't have any advice but it is something that I think about.
Toolip is offline  
#6 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:34 PM
 
hipumpkins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: NJ
Posts: 5,987
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We belong to a UU church and in Sunday school the kids learn about all religions and the religious stories are taught as just that, stories.

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
hipumpkins is offline  
#7 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:35 PM
 
Holiztic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: MD
Posts: 2,183
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Isn't it funny that we can sit down and read "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" with no issues at all, but trying to tell the Noah and the Ark story is all "umm, and some people think" and "this is just a story" and "well, except to some people blieve" and "maybe it could have..." "but probably not"...


I hear you, I have been wondering the same exact thing! So far we've just avoided it all, but I really don't feel that's right, as I'd have no problem reading a story from another religion either--I'd read it like a story. But Christian ones--I get so uncomfortable!

We attended a Unitarian Universalist congregation before DS was born, and due to attachment (he had to be with us!) vs. noise (him noisy in the sanctuary) issues we haven't been but twice with him. He's almost 3, so we're finally going back and looking into their 'sunday school' to find out what they say and how they teach religion with their open views. Do you have a UU congregation? Have you considered it?
Holiztic is offline  
#8 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:36 PM
 
Holiztic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: MD
Posts: 2,183
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
We belong to a UU church and in Sunday school the kids learn about all religions and the religious stories are taught as just that, stories.
Ha! How funny, posted at the same time!
Holiztic is offline  
#9 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:40 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,736
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We do just tell stories to them. DD heard about "this girl Noah and all the kids laughed because she built a boat," , so I told her the story of Noah. I don't delve into the religion part, mainly because I'm not sure how I feel, so I just tell it as a story the same way I would anything else.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
#10 of 45 Old 02-03-2010, 10:52 PM
 
rightkindofme's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 4,606
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
My husband is a pretty hard core atheist and I'm a former English teacher. I consider knowledge of the Bible mandatory because it's a constant reference point through all of western literature. So our Bible is on the same shelf as the books about Buddhism and Wicca and Norse mythology and Greek mythology. They will all be taught pretty equally. (There are other religions and mythologies represented but I'm feeling lazy about listing them.)

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

rightkindofme is online now  
#11 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 01:18 PM
 
Caneel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Small town in a rural area
Posts: 3,835
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OP - I really relate to your post. I had a very positive Lutheran upbringing where church was the center of our social lives yet somehow, that level of involvement doesn't feel right for me anymore.

DH had very wacky religous experiences when he was a child so he isn't comfortable in any organized setting at all.

Yet we do feel like the educational aspect is very important.

Thanks all for the book suggestions! I am adding those to my reading list.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
Caneel is offline  
#12 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
AmyKT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: my little corner of the world
Posts: 1,297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks y'all. It's good to hear from people in the same boat (a Noah reference?) who have figured out how to do this. I can definitely see us having some comparative religion sources for DD to peruse as she gets older, and maybe it's not all that important how often she hears the stories while she's little. EXCEPT, we are in the south (in case the "y'all" didn't tip you off) and there probably will be the expectation by her teachers that she will at least know the biblical creation story and the Noah story, and the other basics, so we'll have to fill her in on some things pretty early. BrandiRhoades, your anecdote made me realize this.

In actuality, there is a good chance that the preschool she attends will be church based because there simply aren't very many alternatives in the area, and this cultural literacy concern has me thinking that maybe that's not a bad thing. We'll certainly choose the most liberal program we can find, but I'm cool with her getting some religious education while she's too young to proselytize.

Thanks again for all the thoughtful responses.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
AmyKT is offline  
#13 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 04:27 PM
 
Calidris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Liming in sweet T&T
Posts: 3,802
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would suggest getting something that tells the bible stories (Usborne Children's Bible seems nice from what I can see at Amazon) and read stories from that, interspersed with stories from other religious myths (Greek, Egyptian, Norse, etc). It would be a good way to gain the knowledge and reference points.

nothing more to say I guess :
Calidris is offline  
#14 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 06:04 PM
 
Arduinna's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 31,187
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You can tell the stories just like any other. You don't even need to frame it in a "some people believe" context. David and Goliath, you can tell the story without even broaching if it's true for example. Do you spend time worrying about any of the other childrens stories you tell being true? Is Hansel and Gretal true, Where the Wild Things are true?? Did it matter as a kid?
Arduinna is offline  
#15 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 06:21 PM
 
lotusdebi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Facebook
Posts: 6,302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
You can tell the stories just like any other. You don't even need to frame it in a "some people believe" context. David and Goliath, you can tell the story without even broaching if it's true for example. Do you spend time worrying about any of the other childrens stories you tell being true? Is Hansel and Gretal true, Where the Wild Things are true?? Did it matter as a kid?
Honestly, the only reason why I'd add "some people believe" is because so many kids are taught that it's true. So, you'll have kids talking about how the story of Noah is true at an age when they won't insist on Hansel and Gretel being true. (My older son was beat over the head with the Jesus crucifixion story when he was 4,on a playground, by a peer!) We also do "some people believe" with Santa and the Tooth Fairy - for the same reason. It helps them to understand that they may hear these things as though they're facts, and that they should be respectful towards the people who believe such things, but they have the right to make up their own minds.

You can find me on Facebook. PM for info.
lotusdebi is offline  
#16 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 06:33 PM
 
gcgirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,311
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
My husband is a pretty hard core atheist and I'm a former English teacher. I consider knowledge of the Bible mandatory because it's a constant reference point through all of western literature. So our Bible is on the same shelf as the books about Buddhism and Wicca and Norse mythology and Greek mythology. They will all be taught pretty equally. (There are other religions and mythologies represented but I'm feeling lazy about listing them.)
Yup - I totally missed most of the Biblical references in literature, but I caught most of the classical ones. I was brought up non-religious so I didn't get that cultural steeping in Judeo-Christian traditions, but I read lots of other mythology.

For that reason, I have a copy of the Bible and some other religious texts, plus books on world religions and mythology. I consider them reference materials and storybooks, and I think from an educational perspective it's a good idea to expose my kids to them.
gcgirl is offline  
#17 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 07:03 PM
 
LauraLoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: By the light of the silvery moon
Posts: 3,679
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You've received very good suggestions. I am in a similar situation. I read "Parenting Beyond Belief" and then did a world religion unit with ds (we homeschool) using some of the books LynnS recommended and some other resources I found. We had already studied Greek and Roman history and myths and moved into medieval history (crusades,) so it was a nice precursor into the rise of Christianity.

We are now starting to go to a non-denominational free church that we attended a long time ago. The ministers are UU trained (is train the right word?) ministers, it is very, very open, and without a creed. They have a wonderful Sunday school program that focuses on world religions and tolerance as well as promoting an individual spiritual journey. I know that there are some agnostics (and at least one atheist.... ) that attend this church - it's that open. If I was more energetic, I'd take the dc's to a variety of churches and places of worship (synagogues, mosques, etc.) and I may in the future.

I balked at even going this route for a long time, but we are in a very religious belt and with the abundance of homeschooling families doing HS for religious reasons, I felt that it was important that the dc's understand what religion and spirituality were all about so that they can make their own personal decisions regarding religion with an open mind and heart. It's also been very helpful as we discuss current world events.

Another nice book is "Sacred Religions: Stories of World Religions"
http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Myths-S.../dp/0963832778

And I really like "What is God?" although it's not a stand alone.
http://www.amazon.com/What-God-Etan-...5317311&sr=1-3

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

LauraLoo is offline  
#18 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 07:29 PM
 
jewelsJZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 503
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
subbing
jewelsJZ is offline  
#19 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
AmyKT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: my little corner of the world
Posts: 1,297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calidris View Post
I would suggest getting something that tells the bible stories (Usborne Children's Bible seems nice from what I can see at Amazon) and read stories from that, interspersed with stories from other religious myths (Greek, Egyptian, Norse, etc). It would be a good way to gain the knowledge and reference points.
That looks pretty good. Duh. Why didn't it occur to me just to read THE BIBLE? But it does have to be just the right version. I like how this one focuses on the well known stories.


In reference to a discussion by PPs -- I also don't know how I feel about the "some people believe" phrase. I think that will come into play when (not if) DD is preached at or when she starts questioning, but maybe not at first.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
AmyKT is offline  
#20 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 07:54 PM
 
LauraLoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: By the light of the silvery moon
Posts: 3,679
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Posting another thread with some additional ideas for books & resources:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...light=religion

Laura - Mom to ds (10) and dd (7) "Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life." Brian Andreas.

LauraLoo is offline  
#21 of 45 Old 02-04-2010, 08:45 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 4,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had a traumatic fundamentalist experience growing up (as well as a traumatic exit).

I am sad about it, but pretty much I know that there will always be a part of me that is uncomfortable about telling bible storeis to my children, because it brings back way too many memories and grief.

It's helped me to join and attend a UCC church (but keep in mind that I do consider myself a Christian, just one of a different philosophy than most of the American mainline churches). I have found it healing to see healthy people teaching biblical stories while at the same time preserving the "rightness" of children (and adults for that matter) questioning things. I feel safe with the sunday school director and pastor and the adults there. It doesn't set off my warning alarms when things are taught. Even if I do the same thing in my home, though, I feel...well, fear is too strong of a word. Discomfort certainly. But it's because there's really no way I can block out my memories of my earlier religious experience.

I will encourage my kids to read the bible though. We do have children's bibles and children's bible stories (you have to look really hard to find some without "commentary" though). As a child I loved reading the bible and hearing old and new testament stories told again and again--it was when I had questions that the trouble began. Your kids likely don't have anything to fear from that. I think if you're not afraid to talk about it, and have a bible or non-commentary-dominated stories around, that's good natural exposure.

I think you may be overestimating how much biblical knowledge the average person has, culturally, around here. As I said, I grew up in an extremely intense religious environment, and kind of assumed that everyone memorized the books of the bible, committed tons of scripture to memory, was familiary with the OT prophets and the journeys of the disciples in Acts, ect--but frankly most people I meet these days even in "conservative" religious circles really DON'T have a whole lot of bible knowledge beyond the bare boned basics of Jesus's life and death, and the 10 commandments.

So I wouldn't overemphasize how relevant it is either. Lots of my friends growing up, once we hit some serious western literature had to restudy things and didn't get a lot of the more obscure (or even blindingly obvious) biblical references, and they were all deeply religious folks. And I know lots of people who are highly knowledable about the content of the bible, yet to be honest don't get a lot of inferences in literature either, because they were never taught to think that way. So IMO bible knowledge and being able to draw inferences in literature and culture as a whole are learned skills, bible familiarity doesn't mean that one will be able to do the latter.
Tigerchild is offline  
#22 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 11:38 AM
 
NellieKatz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 649
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We were in a similar situation, so we joined the Unitarian Universalist church. People there have many types of belief in God, or none at all. It's very inclusive, but respectful of the many beliefs and lifestyles people have. Not all UU churches are alike. The other one in our town doesn't even use the word "God" half the time; I'd say there are more atheists at that one. So if you checked out one UU church and didn't like it for whatever reason, try another! They are very independent from one another in how they're run.

My son gets an education in Sunday School there, more than just an impartial, detached book knowledge about the religions, but core moral values that are common to all major religions, like service to others,....that sort of thing.
NellieKatz is offline  
#23 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 01:25 PM
 
jammomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I grew up in a secular family, we didn't attend church and religion was never pushed on me in any way. In our house we had a copy of Bible and we also had a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, as well as a book of Mormon, The Tao by Lao Tzu, and other religious/philosophical type books.

As a young child I perused them all. One of the Christian books I liked was a Norman Vincent Peal Bible stories for children, I don't recall it as being instructional, mostly just the stories with illustrations.

I learned plenty about not only Christianity but also other major religions, just by having the books available on the shelf for me to look at whenever i felt like it.
jammomma is offline  
#24 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 01:40 PM
 
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,895
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I think it's an excellent idea to learn about religion for cultural literacy purposes.

One thing we've always done is to point out religious (as well as classical literary and mythological and natural) references, symbols etc. when we recognize them in t.v. shows, films and books. The kids have become good at spotting them too. It's a bit of a game. We will then read up about them. You have to know enough to recognize that there might be an underlying reference in the first place, so reading about various religions is a great idea. It's surprising, though, how much you can see once you realize artists use these references often and you start looking for them.
ollyoxenfree is offline  
#25 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 02:15 PM
 
mamadelbosque's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 6,810
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Umm... I'll be the dissenter here I guess. I wasn't raised christian at all. My only 'intro' to the bible was when I was in... 3rd grade and we were (VERY briefly) in a local christian homeschooling group and my mom & I read part of the bible for the very reasons listed above. But, my parents refused to sign the 'statement of beliefs' an we were summarily kicked out of the group, and I never picked up a bible again till I was *much* older and exploring the religions of the world on my own.

I never felt like I 'missed out' on cultural literacy/relevancy. I guess I knew the basic 'jesus died and was brought back to life and blah blah blah' story, but not much else. Aside from noah & the ark, I can't honestly say that I know any of the other bible stories to this day. (EDIT: Actually, I *do* know the moses story! BUT only cause' I watched.. the animated movie about it when I was 15, and the adults I was watching it with went 'you know the basic story, but its pretty good... and I just smiled and nodded - that smile & nod made me get along with said adults where others didn't I spose I know the general david & goliath story, but only in the very general way of a little guy beating a big guy So... I don't know that I see the need to know the bible at all. At the point when your kid(s) will be able to 'get' the references they'll also be fully capabale of looking up ones that they *don't* get and figure them out for themselves... untill then? Why bother?? I mean, I spose if you want to do a general world religions class when their a bit older that'd make sense, but as preschoolers???
mamadelbosque is offline  
#26 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 02:36 PM
 
AllisonR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,100
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyKT View Post
Honestly, I know I wouldn't have any problem reading stories from other faiths to DD, or especially from the "dead" religions like the ancient Greek, Egyptian myths. I guess it's just my/our conflicted relationship with Christianity that makes it feel strange.
You might be answering your own question here! I was raised Christian, but did not question it much until we started studying mythology in school. Then I noticed the comparisons between all these great religious stories and myths. Then I started to think for myself, and wondered "what if this christian god is just one more story like the others?" I now happily refer to Judaea / Christian mythology. Wonderful stories, but just stories.

My 5 yo DS has asked, and I have taken the "lovely story" route. If he asks if Jesus is a god, I might answer "some people think so. What do you think?"
AllisonR is offline  
#27 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 03:02 PM
 
TiredX2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: it appears to be a handbasket
Posts: 20,029
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadelbosque View Post
I never felt like I 'missed out' on cultural literacy/relevancy. I guess I knew the basic 'jesus died and was brought back to life and blah blah blah' story, but not much else. Aside from noah & the ark, I can't honestly say that I know any of the other bible stories to this day. (EDIT: Actually, I *do* know the moses story! BUT only cause' I watched.. the animated movie about it when I was 15, and the adults I was watching it with went 'you know the basic story, but its pretty good... and I just smiled and nodded - that smile & nod made me get along with said adults where others didn't I spose I know the general david & goliath story, but only in the very general way of a little guy beating a big guy So... I don't know that I see the need to know the bible at all. At the point when your kid(s) will be able to 'get' the references they'll also be fully capabale of looking up ones that they *don't* get and figure them out for themselves... untill then? Why bother?? I mean, I spose if you want to do a general world religions class when their a bit older that'd make sense, but as preschoolers???
I wonder if you are missing things and don't realize it. I have a couple of friends who are raised athiest and they don't *know* when they are missing a biblical reference, they just don't see the phrase/story/lyric on the extra level. I've had conversations with one of them how I *love* a specific song because of it's imagery and while she also liked the song, she didn't realize that certain phrases symobolized an entire bible story. Yes, if the text is explicit and says "like the Bible story of so & so" you can look it up, but what if the lyrics are something like this:

Quote:
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Do you really just instictively know that is a Biblical reference?

 

 

TiredX2 is offline  
#28 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 03:49 PM
 
Tigerchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle Eastside
Posts: 4,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would argue that there are lots of people "raised Christian" who frankly wouldn't get that reference either, Tiredx2. Even people who know the story of David and Bathsheba.

I think you can't assume that if someone is familiar with the bible that they'll automatically be prepared to make inferences. IME, that's actually something that needs to be taught to most people. It may be instinctive for you (as it was for me, to be honest) because you may have a lot of varied reading and literature under your belt or your mind tends to go there and craves deeper meaning instead of just enjoying something on the initial level. IMO that's neither "better" or "worse", it can be just how people are wired.

But as I said earlier, having been raised in a particular sect of Christianity, even though people could recite huge swaths of biblical text from memory, they were seldom able to draw comparisons and inferences from other literature because they weren't practiced at it, were severely limited in exposure to other things, and would have gotten distracted by the secular nature of the work in the first place (well, okay, I'll be honest, they would avoid reading works of literature that were not overty bible-based. Even C.S. Lewis' writings were seen as promoting witchcraft and not explicitly biblical enough). It's not that these folks are incapable of doing so, they just weren't encouraged or given practice, or again that kind of thing wasn't important to them.

My husband, who I suppose was raised culturally Christian (never went to church, only knows the basic stories: Easter and Christmas, ect. but wasn't exposed to other religions either) has never had a problem drawing literary inferences, especially when he got interested in literature and then started reading other people's thoughts about them (which then spurred him to research the bibical stories referenced himself). But he'd been taught to look for cultural themes and how to draw them out, and he's always been interested in mythology. There are quite a few near-univeral themes across most religions and mythology, and as he studied he got some working knowledge of some bible stories.

So I think it's neither a hinderance or a super advantage to know these things. I also think that most cultural Christians tend to grossly overestimate their bible knowledge.
Tigerchild is offline  
#29 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
AmyKT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: my little corner of the world
Posts: 1,297
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OP here --

It's interesting to hear the different points of view about how important it really is to know biblical stories to get literary references and such, and I totally know what some of you mean about devout religious people who wouldn't get a literary allusion if it walked up and slapped them on the face.

As an avid reader and poetry lover with only a mildly religious upbringing, I always hated feeling like I was missing something in a book. I remember one day in my high school AP English class when we were discussing the novel we were reading (don't remember what it was) and only one guy in the whole class caught a very obscure biblical reference. The English teacher was so impressed. Harrumph. I wanted to be that one person who got it. But that's just me. And I assume, of course, that it will be my own darling bookworm daughter someday .

So what if I don't get a Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist reference? I go look it up. Though as someone pointed out, if you don't even know enough to know that you're missing something, you're stuck. But then again, I don't get a lot of sports metaphors in books, so....

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
AmyKT is offline  
#30 of 45 Old 02-05-2010, 06:00 PM
 
SilverFish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Montreal
Posts: 865
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
yeah, i think you'd be surprised at how many supposedly religious people don't really know anything about their own religion, let alone any others. i think it's important to have a good basic knowledge of at least the 3 main monotheistic religions, because not only are there a lot of literary and cultural references, a good deal of our legal and official processes are based on them, as are western philosophic and scientific principles. this isn't crucial stuff for preschoolers to be getting, of course, but it does need to come from somewhere!

anyway, at this stage i think you can use a children's bible as a reference to tell some of the more popular stories, but as they get older, a familiarity with the religious texts of of other cultures can be invaluable! the more you familiarize yourself with the similarities and differences between different religions, the better you'll be able to guide your kids through that process. there are a lot more complexities to christianity than just reading the noah story!
SilverFish is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off