Is the Bible the best guide for teaching morality?


Day 6: The Jesus Storybook BibleImage by Travis Seitler via Flickr

I wonder why the Bible is used a source book for morality? I was listening to local Christian radio and I found it distasteful to hear them trying to raise funds to put "a Bible into the hands of every child".

Why is that a good thing?

I am amazed the Bible is used as a book for moral teaching. I have a young child that just started Sunday School. The things being taught are shady, to say the least. But looking at the 'curriculum,' I can see things getting more difficult for me to stomach as the children grow up. If the teaching was all nice, I would be OK. But it's heavily spiced with blood, murder, God's anger, cursed humanity, etc. It's like a dark play, theatre noir. And the fact that it is presented to young minds as "absolute truth" is a big concern to me.

It also worries me that the pre-teen children in Sunday School are very well versed and "know so much". They can recite all these Biblical principles and concepts. I think it is considered a "training in righteousness" ... I don't like it.

I've been reading Karen Armstrong and Joseph Campbell. Now when I open the Bible I cannot see it as one integrated "golden thread" but as a huge mix of material from different times and various anonymous editors. And I doubt its value.

I think it's pretty obvious that Bible stories aren't very good for moral teaching. What does Noah teach? (Obey God or drown?) What does David teach? (Kill your enemies and love God?) What is taught by Jesus on the cross? (Give up your life in a bloody sacrifice?)

During the week we try to protect our pre-school child from bad influences. We avoid DVDs with violence and inappropriate behaviour. But for some reason this book ... can be opened on a Sunday -- and read from -- because, it is the Word of God, divinely inspired.

Surely there are other books we could use for moral teaching for children, books that don't have this strange, dark baggage of blood and terror?

Somebody needs to call this. Is the Bible an OK guide for teaching morals to children?

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