Minister of Education Reports
Dumbing Down the Scriptures
We are presently confronted in the United States with a generation that is less literate, both in the narrow and in the wider sense, than those we have previously known. Some people have heard of the book “The Closing of the American Mind,” but most do not know it was subtitled “How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students.” This book details the story.
The souls of today’s students, both intellectually and spiritually impoverished have been ready prey for business that can appeal to uninhibited sexuality, rock and roll, a clear complexion, and the latest style. This generation, often called Generation X, is actually being discouraged from thinking for itself. You might say the desire for easy and quick economic gain has actually contributed to the closing of the American mind and the loss of Johnny’s ability to read.
During President Reagan’s first term in office it was recognized that lack of education and reading skills would eventually result in the lack of consumers to buy the nations goods. The very nation itself would be at risk. One result was a report prepared by the by the National Commission on Excellence in Education titled: “A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform. One of the conclusions reached was “too few experienced teachers and scholars are involved in writing textbooks. During the past decade or so a large number of texts have been ‘written down’ by publishers to ever lower reading levels in response to perceived market demands.”
It is a rather simple exercise to translate this same development into the context of the modern American Bible publishing industry. Bible publishers have felt challenged to make lucid, ancient Near Eastern sacred texts originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek to appeal to a population on a downward slide from literacy. They have not been inhibited directly from tampering with the Biblical text for the simple reason the Christian community no longer owns the translations. Today modern versions are produced with none of the smell of the ancient Near-East upon them. They are made to speak in an American colloquialism that offers neither a window to the transcendent, nor an entryway into religious consciousness,
Bible Societies and business corporations do not view the transmission of Biblical material as a sacred trust. Hence, today we have Bibles that have been custom fitted to the immediacy of the modern situation for marketing purposes. Always this is done under the guise of the need to communicate. But the truth is that the bottom line is the driving force. Therefore the focus is to cater to every consumer group imaginable, not on the need to be true to the Word of God. This is a scandal beyond belief. But it is real.
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