A Bible class at Woodland High School in Cartersville, Ga. (Associated Press)
by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
Westerners cannot be considered literate without a basic knowledge of this foundational text.
Have you ever sensed in your own life that "the handwriting was on the wall"? Or encouraged a loved one to walk "the straight and narrow"?
Have you ever laughed at something that came "out of the mouths of babes"? Or gone "the extra mile" for an opportunity that might vanish "in the twinkling of an eye"?
If you have, then you've been thinking of the Bible.
These phrases are just "a drop in the bucket" (another biblical phrase) of the many things we say and do every day that have their origins in the most read, most influential book of all time. The Bible has affected the world for centuries in innumerable ways, including art, literature, philosophy, government, philanthropy, education, social justice and humanitarianism. One would think that a text of such significance would be taught regularly in schools. Not so. That is because of the "stumbling block" (the Bible again) that is posed by the powers that be in America.
It's time to change that, for the sake of the nation's children. It's time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization.
We know firsthand of its educational value, having grown up in Europe--Mark in England, Roma in Ireland--where Bible teaching was viewed as foundational to a well-rounded education. Now that we are naturalized U.S. citizens, we want to encourage public schools in America to give young people the same opportunity.
This is one of the reasons we created "The Bible," a 10-part miniseries premiering March 3 on the History Channel that dramatizes key stories from Scriptures. It will encourage audiences around the world to open or reopen Bibles to understand and enjoy these stories.
Without the Bible, Shakespeare would read differently--there are more than 1,200 references to Scripture in his works. Without the Bible, there would be no Sistine Chapel and none of the biblically inspired masterpieces that hang in countless museums world-wide.
In movies, without biblical allegories, there would be no "Les Misérables," no "Star Wars," no "Matrix," no "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, no "Narnia" and no "Ben-Hur." There would be no Alcoholics Anonymous, Salvation Army or Harvard University--all of which found their roots in Scripture. And really, what would Bono sing about if there were no Bible?
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SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett