Wednesday, January 02, 2008

On the Bible as a work of literature and as a source of and guide to morality

1 comment:
We should all gain knowledge of the Bible in 2008 advocates Richard Benson in a letter today. He says '...atheist Richard Dawkins believes that children should grow up with a knowledge of the Bible.'

For a more complete and accurate picture it should be noted that Dawkins view on the Bible, as expressed in his book The God Delusion, is that '...the main reason the English Bible needs to be part of our education is that it is a major source book for literary culture. The same applies to the legends of the Greek and Roman gods and we learn about them without being asked to believe in them.'

As for the Bible and what Richard Benson's letter refers to as 'the beliefs and values that underpin much of our history and culture', Richard Dawkins says in The God Delusion that '...the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unkown to each other, spanning nine centuries...unfortunately it is this same weird volume that religious zealots hold up to us as the inerrant source of our morals and rules for living.'

Its clear that whilst Dawkins does feel that some parts of the King James Bible of 1611 (Authorized Version) have considerable literary merit and should thus be studied so that people can better appreciate English literature, he is certainly not holding it up as a source of or guide to morality!!