Why Even Non-Christians Lose From Growing Ignorance About The Bible

Let’s face it — it’s not only Republicans and conservatives that have no clue about how to fight the information war — it’s Christians too. Here is Colin Chan Redemer:

This is a loss not only of the Bible or Christian faith but a severing of his connection to all the other aspects of a culture that ought to have been ours.

One short conversation from graduate school stands out above all the others. It was during a cigarette break. (This was back when Californians could still have a cigarette break, having not yet been legally turned into the less-social smartphone break.)

The class had been discussing a modern novel and I had perked up with a comment about how the author had put an unattributed quote from the Psalms in a character’s mouth. It wasn’t the first time I had offered this sort of insight in class, but I tended to keep these observations casual so as not to draw too much attention.

During the break, my oh-so-hip San Francisco-dwelling classmate turned to me and asked, “How did you know that about the Psalms?” I explained that I was a Christian and sheepishly confessed that I read the Bible pretty regularly. He looked at me with longing and confessed in turn, “I wish I knew the Bible.”

Knowing the Bible

I didn’t know how to respond. I had spent most of my young life avoiding letting people know just how well I knew the Bible. In thousands of veiled and unveiled ways, it had been clear to me that having spent evenings and weekends reading, studying, and memorizing the Bible made me odd. Yet here was the secular cool kid I’d envied my whole life, having reached the logical end point of his educational career, looking longingly back at me.

I was odd, yes, but odd in a way that was needed. A colleague of mine studied for his Ph.D. under renowned deconstructionist scholar Jacques Derrida. He recalled that each year when Derrida taught, he spent lots of time covering the biblical literature. When asked why, Derrida’s response echoed my cigarette break revelation: If they don’t know the Bible, they won’t know much.

Read more: The Federalist