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By Samuel Blumenfeld

April 8, 2006

With so many educators and judges objecting to the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools because it infers the existence of God, you would think that the most famous 19th century advocate of evolution would be on their side. But such is not the case. Thomas H. Huxley (1825-1895), famous as a biologist and Darwinist, preferred to send his own children to a decidedly Christian school than a purely secular one for a very good parental reason. He wrote:

My belief is, that no human being, and no society composed of human beings, ever did, or ever will, come to much, unless their conduct was governed and guided by the love of some ethical idea�.And if I were compelled to choose for one of my own children, between a school in which real religious instruction is given, and one without it, I should prefer the former, even though the child might have to take a good deal of theology with it.

Huxley advocated Bible reading in the schools on moral grounds, because he could not see how children could be taught to hate evil and do good without the ethical teaching of the Bible. At the time he wrote the above in the Contemporary Review in December, 1870, Parliament was debating the issue of Bible reading in the schools, which parents strongly wanted. Huxley wrote: �I do not see what reason there is for opposing that wish.� He wrote further:

On the whole then, I am in favor of reading the Bible, with such grammatical, geographical, and historical explanations by a lay teacher as may be needful, with rigid exclusion of any further theological teaching than that contained in the Bible itself.

Huxley cherished his own childhood memories of Bible reading:

Some of the pleasantest recollections of my childhood are connected with the voluntary study of an ancient Bible, which belonged to my grandmother�.What come vividly back on my mind are remembrances of my delight in the histories of Joseph and David; and of my keen appreciation of the chivalrous kindness of Abraham in his dealings with Lot�. And I see, as in a cloud, pictures of the grand phantasmagoria of the Book of Revelation. I enumerate, as they issue, the childish impressions which come crowding out of the pigeon-holes in my brain, in which they have lain almost undisturbed for forty years. I prize them as an evidence that a child of five or six years old, left to his own devices, may be deeply interested in the Bible, and draw sound moral sustenance from it.

That, of course, is the crux of the problem with our secular public schools. They provide no moral sustenance for children in desperate need of it. The schools teach moral relativism and values clarification, which means that each child has to come up with his or her own moral system, a task which has baffled some of the world�s greatest atheist philosophers.

Huxley also recognized the literary and historical benefits derived from Bible reading:

And then consider the great historical fact that, for three centuries, this book has been woven into the life of all that is best and noblest in English history.

Cannot that also be said of America, the fact that the Bible has been woven into our history since the days of the Pilgrims and Puritan settlers in New England? They brought that Bible with them to the New World so that they could build a Christian civilization in the North American wilderness. It also led early Americans to become the most literate people on the planet. Huxley wrote:

[The Bible] is written in the noblest and purest English, and abounds in exquisite beauties of mere literary form; and, finally, it forbids the veriest hind who never left his village to be ignorant of the existence of other countries and other civilizations, and of a great past, stretching back to the farthest limits of the oldest nations in the world.

And so, our public schools deprive our children not only of moral sustenance, but of knowledge of the ancient world and ancient civilizations, great Biblical heroes, and the greatest literary treasure in the English language. How can any child read the 23rd Psalm and not know that God is speaking to him or her?

When I was a child in P.S. 62 in New York City back in the 1930s, our principal read the 23rd Psalm at every weekly assembly. That reading made a strong impression on me, and I remembered those words keenly as I served in the Army in World War II. It was all the moral sustenance, all the moral protection I needed. And I came back from that war unscathed.

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Imagine an America in which every child has a Bible and can study it in school! Do you think we�d have the moral chaos among teens we have today? That ought to be the great task of Christian missionaries today: to put a Bible in the hands of every child in America. Some won�t read it. But many others will.

� 2006 Samuel Blumenfeld - All Rights Reserved

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Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education, including �Is Public Education Necessary?� and �The Whole Language/OBE Fraud,� published by The Paradigm Company, 208-322-4440.  His reading instruction program, �Alpha-Phonics,� is available by writing The Tutoring Company, P.O. Box 540111, Waltham, MA 02454-0111.


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Huxley advocated Bible reading in the schools on moral grounds, because he could not see how children could be taught to hate evil and do good without the ethical teaching of the Bible.