Having just a few hours previously posted Has William Tyndale had the recognition he deserves?, I am indebted to colleague David Gilchrist for his link to a Guardian report entitled…
Richard Dawkins the arch-atheist backs Michael Gove’s free Bible plan
Author of The God Delusion says providing free Bibles to state schools is justified by its impact on the English language
I was intrigued but, reading on, I discovered what he was backing - Michael Gove‘s plan to send free King James Bibles to every state school.
As Dawkins reveals in today’s Observer, support for the Bible plan is justified on the grounds of literary merit and he lists a range of biblical phrases which any cultivated English speaker will instantly recognise. These include “salt of the Earth”, “through a glass darkly”, and “no peace for the wicked”. Dawkins states: “A native speaker of English who has not read a word of the King James Bible is verging on the barbarian.
Much as I would love everyone in the UK and Ireland to read the Bible regularly and have their lives changed by so doing, I can’t help being both cynical and disappointed.
Cynical, along with others, that…
The education secretary’s plan to send a King James Bible to every school is a tactic to keep us worrying about small change while billions are wasted elsewhere
… or something like that – see here
Disappointed, that we are back to the ‘missing the point of what the Bible is all about’ – as seen and heard so much during the 2011 4ooth anniversary of the King James Bible and in Dawkins’ utterings. The Bible is not just a work of literary merit. It is God’s message in which he reveals himself to his created world and created peoples – and as a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators, I believe passionately that God wants that message to be understood by everyone in the language they understand best. I humbly suggest that very few if anyone’s heart language today is early 17th century English; and certainly not the language of 21st century school children in English state schools!
And disappointed again that the martyred William Tyndale continues to be ignored as the KJB is worshipped on the altar of secular literary merit.
Which brings me to why I am agreeing with the National Secular Society who say in the Guardian article that it is a waste of £375,000.
If that money is available, Mr Gove, please send it on to Wycliffe Bible Translators UK and we will put it to much more productive use on behalf of the 2,000 plus languages with no Bible whatsoever.
And to Mr Dawkins, my hope is that he will read the Bible in whatever version, so that he no longer sees everything “through a glass darkly” but comes to know the God who created him and everything else in the universe.