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true education demands it

a knowledge of the bible develops a level of cultural literacy necessary for a well-rounded education

Dr. James L. Fowle was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga for thirty-eight years, from 1929 to 1967. Not only did Dr. Fowle serve as pastor of this leading downtown congregation, but he taught at the University of Chattanooga and gave significant leadership to many local community service organizations both as a board member and premier fund raiser. His doctorate and two honorary degrees were indicative of his intellect and scholarship. He was widely regarded as the "Chaplain of Chattanooga."

Dr. Fowle titled one of his sermons, "True Education Demands a Knowledge of the Bible." He quotes the late Dr. Daniel L. Marsh, President of Boston University, in speaking to students of this great university:

A full orbed education, whatever else it requires, demands that you have an acquaintanceship with one certain book. There are a few books - relatively very few - that must be read by everybody who aims to be educated in any sense of the term, or even moderately well informed. One of these bears such a vital relationship to our culture, our mores, that a knowledge of it is absolutely indispensable to anyone who desires to feel intellectually at home in the American scene. That book is the Bible.[emphasis added]

Dr. Fowle believed and taught that no one can be well educated without a knowledge of the Bible. "Of all the books that come from our printing presses," he said in this sermon, "there is none so universally popular as the Book of Books. The Bible was the first book to be printed. It is the best seller in every book store."

Reflecting the same sentiments as both Judge Frank W. Wilson and the authors and endorsers of the First Amendment Guide, Dr. Fowle attested to the value of biblical knowledge in understanding and appreciating the best in Western civilization.

Not only has the Bible been the inspirer of literature, but it has also influenced music, sculpture and art. The great cathedrals and their paintings, mosaics and statuary were created by those who caught their inspiration from the Bible. Architects, like Brunelleschi and Giotto, and sculptors like Donatello and Michelangelo, painters like Raphael and Correggio used Bible figures for their models. The spirit of the Bible breathes through the great oratorios and reaches a marvelous climax in the "Creation" and "Messiah."

As documented by the three university professors who wrote The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Dr. Fowle reminded his congregation that the Bible should be taught to our children to enable them to understand and converse in contemporary American English.

You cannot read a copy of any modern publication ... without finding reference to Bible stories, language or figures of speech.

In light of what we have seen about the Bible, why should we make it a closed book in our schools, in our homes? Why do you not read the best not only from a literary standpoint but also from a spiritual, religious standpoint? Teach it to your children.

Since 1922 the public schools in Hamilton County have been offereing Bible History electives. All costs of this program are gifted to schools at no cost to taxpayers.