Bible Stories For All Without the Dogma: A Part of Cultural Literacy (Paperback)
The key Bible stories are presented concisely without a religious pitch. The background, 32 key stories, themes, and universal life issues are described simply along with the evolution of humans, the impact of farming on religion, and topics such as travel, trade, slavery, concubines, law, government, taxes, weapons, warfare, tribute, and the culinary and cultural practices in the ancient Near East. The book covers what happened before the events in the Bible stories and what was happening in the nearby civilizations to provide a context for the stories.
With the United States, Canada, and Europe increasingly becoming a population of "Nones" (unchurched adults who identify with no religion), a growing number of people seek to understand the Biblical stories and their influence in Western culture without subjecting themselves to religious dogma. A 2015 Pew Research Center poll found 34% of millennials (those born after 1980) identified themselves as religious nones.
Bible illiteracy was recently underscored in a major, nationwide newspaper. Perhaps more, well-informed writers might avoid the embarrassment of the Wall Street Journal. On March 29, 2018 the Journal incorrectly quoted Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Moses brought water from Iraq. He had actually noted that Moses brought water from a rock. Netanyahu was referring to the story of Moses striking a rock with his staff to draw water from a rock for the Israelites who were wandering in the Sinai Desert. Moses was nowhere near today's Iraq and never was. The published story had passed three staffers uncorrected.
The author taught the Old Testament for 14 years in a tuition-free, Jesuit, inner-city middle school for boys from low-income families. Typically, fewer than five percent of the students were Catholic; and, while most claimed to be Christian, fewer than half attended church. Some practiced no religion. Some attended a mosque. While he initially taught the Old Testament stories from a historical perspective so as not to offend anyone, he gradually added universal lessons. Upon hisretirement he decided to write a Bible stories book for all based on his classroom experience and additional research.