Bible in Pop Culture Week 1: Creationism in Schools

BradleyCollege Papers, Religion, Undergraduate Work0 Comments

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible

Image Attribution:By NYC Wanderer (Kevin Eng) – originally posted to Flickr as Gutenberg Bible, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9914015

 

Creationism and Schools: Youngstown, Ohio Opts for Science Only

News articles published between September 8th and 10th, 2016 noted that Crish Mohip, the Youngstown Schools Chief Executive Officer has stated that schools are obligated to follow the 344-page science standards developed by the Ohio Department of Education, which present the evolutionary view of biological development. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, “any reference to intelligent design, creationism, or any like concepts are eliminated from the science curriculum,” Mohip stated.[1] The memo that Mohip sent out was prompted by the use of a video in a science class that claims to present evidence for creationism based on the proliferation of species starting 500 million years ago. Complicating the issue is the fact that the video was produced by a Turkish Islamic televangelist named Adnan Oktar who is reportedly a Holocaust denier and the leader of a sex cult.[2]

The teacher who showed the video in class stated that he was presenting different views and that students should be able to clearly identify and weigh the merits of various arguments.[3] This, however, contradicts Ohio state policy. Creationism is the theory that the universe was intelligently, or purposefully, designed by God as described in the Abrahamic tradition of religions. Genesis, the first book of the Hebrew Scriptures and Christian Bible as well as the Quran describe existence as having been formed by God. Modern science presents the theory that the universe was compressed into a small bit of matter surrounded by nothingness and, for reasons unknown, that pinpoint of matter suddenly exploded and began to expand into all of existence as we know it today.

The fight over the teaching of creationism in schools has been taking place for decades, with the common consensus shifting from creationism to evolutionary and scientific theories. In the American context that fight has revolved primarily around the Christian, literal interpretation of the Genesis creation story. In 1925, John Scopes was convicted of violating a Tennessee law making it illegal to teach evolution in a state-funded school. In 1987, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Louisiana law making it illegal to teach evolution in public schools without also teaching creationism.[4] In more recent years, the tide has turned in favor of the teaching of evolution over creationism. The recent decision of the Youngstown Schools Chief Executive Officer is just the most recent event in this ongoing trend and serves to show that a text compiled approximately 2200 to 2900 years ago still has meaning and significance in to modern societies.

References

Brown, S. (2016, September 8). Creationism Booted From Ohio Public Schools. Retrieved September 11, 2016, from Americans United For Separation of Church and State: https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/creationism-booted-from-ohio-public-schools

Gauntner, M. (2016, September 10). CEO cuts ‘Creationism’ from Youngstown school classrooms. Retrieved September 11, 2016, from wfmj.com: http://www.wfmj.com/story/33007921/ceo-cuts-creationism-from-youngstown-school-classrooms

 

[1] Mike Gauntner, “CEO cuts ‘Creationism’ from Youngstown school classrooms,” wfmj.com: Locally Owned, published September 2, 2016, modified September 10, 2016 and accessed September 11, 2016, http://www.wfmj.com/story/33007921/ceo-cuts-creationism-from-youngstown-school-classrooms.

[2] Simon Brown, “Creationism Booted From Ohio Public Schools,” Americans United For Separation of Church and State, published September 8, 2016 and accessed September 11, 2016, https://www.au.org/blogs/wall-of-separation/creationism-booted-from-ohio-public-schools.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mike Gauntner, “CEO cuts ‘Creationism’ from Youngstown school classrooms,” wfmj.com: Locally Owned, published September 2, 2016, modified September 10, 2016 and accessed September 11, 2016, http://www.wfmj.com/story/33007921/ceo-cuts-creationism-from-youngstown-school-classrooms.

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