Book Cover Blues

I recently read an article from a poetry or literature professor lamenting that his incoming university students were simply unable to understand the classics because they had no knowledge of the Bible and biblical stories. I think I must be one of the last years in which religious eduction was a part of the public school system — we had a nutty religious woman come in to school weekly telling us various myths from the Bible until she was canned (and never replaced) for telling diabetic kids not to take insulin, and in grade five the Gideons gave us all Bibles of our own. I guess they phased out the daily Lord’s Prayer at about the same time. I’m no supporter of religion of any kind, but it is interesting to reflect on how much culture will be lost because it uses Biblical referencing as a foundation for its story telling.

kubla-khan-small

Above is the cover I roughed out as a potential for the “Kubla Khan” book. I’m pretty sure this project will finally be finished this week after far more time than expected. Whew!

Some sacred music follows.

15 Comments

  1. wlfdrgn wrote:

    As an atheist, it’s probably surprising that I would like to see more religious education in all schools. I don’t want to see it from a religious point of view, though. Rather, I’d like to see it more as a comparative religions format, with a constraint that no one’s allowed to teach their own religion. Christians can teach Buddhism and Hinduism, Muslims can teach Christianity, etc. Focus on the high-level concepts, the uncontested history, and the “feeling” of the religion, and stay away from the proselytizing. I’ve often wondered how many wars, terrorist attacks, etc, would be avoided if people were just forced to gain at least a basic understanding of those OTHER people.

    Of course, I’d also like to see it become standard to go to college in some completely, massively different culture. Same reason I’d like to see more religious education, just another way to get people there.

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink
  2. Will wrote:

    I can’t agree more with WLFDRGN about teaching religion. It so consumes the lives of billions of us, yet, it is often glossed over if talked about at all. I know more about the moon than I do about other religions. I disagree about it being taught by religious people though. It needs to be taught by historians who can wade through the different versions of each religion’s point of view to identify the reality of each one. Then, by comparing it to the actual religion’s view, can they show the biases and contentions of each religion’s version of history.

    Unfortunately, I doubt that this will happen. The biggest fear of religious leaders is that the “flock” learn to question a given religion’s teaching of “facts”. Better they not be taught at all then to allow the premises of their religion be scrutinized.

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Em wrote:

    Just… knowing what I know about the (american) public school system, I would never want religion taught there. I simply don’t feel that the community that controls the system has the religious objectivity to do it.

    I do feel, however, that ‘bible as comparative lit’ (the term often given for the objective historical study of the bible everyone is mentioning) should be a prerequisite course for English majors. Especially for those going into classical studies, a lot of the references are foundational.

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm | Permalink
  4. Ian wrote:

    In my ontario public school they phased out the lords prayer over the summer of 1987.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 1:00 am | Permalink
  5. wlfdrgn wrote:

    I wouldn’t want the christian bible taught unless all the major religions had their primary writings given equal emphasis.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 4:23 am | Permalink
  6. Religion is historically important. I agree with #3.

    Also the Basin Street Blues. like it. Kind of like the Kid Koala variant you posted several years ago better. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR-i0qRHLpM

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 5:05 am | Permalink
  7. Kyle wrote:

    The problem is the people who would be teaching these classes would most likly be religous. And we all know how thats gonna turn out.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  8. Elk wrote:

    RE is alive and well in secular England.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  9. Raskin666 wrote:

    I am a pretty staunch atheist, as a preface. While I rarely BELIEVE the content of the bible, I am still quite familiar with it, and I feel that being a worldly and educated person you should be comfortable with the information it contains. I think that a Judeo-Christian centric religious education is silly, but religious education is relatively important simply for the KNOWLEDGE of it, rather than the importance of morality or some nonsense.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  10. wlfdrgn wrote:

    When anyone says the bible should be taught in a non-religious context, I immediately think, “What about all the other major religions?” Either cover all the major ones equally, or none at all. Teaching just the christian bible is clearly teaching people to be better christians, not better people.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink
  11. rmx256 wrote:

    The context here is the influence which the bile and other christian texts have had upon the Western Literary canon. As religious literature, the bible should be taught along with the koran and the torah and the four noble truths in comparative religion classes. However, these works have very little to do with the Western Literary tradition (which I will admit to not being a master of). I would think that some backing in biblical knowledge would be as requisite as a reading of the Iliad and the Odyssey are, just as much so as any film student would have to have seen Casablanca. Outside of English Lit, though, I can’t think of any reason whatsoever to have any biblical anything anywhere near a public school.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  12. Em wrote:

    Agree with #11. Even studying Japanese lit, the Bible is an important reference as it was imported over with everything else during the Meiji restoration. You can’t really say that, say, Buddhist scripture really has the same relevance.

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  13. fantasy weather leag wrote:

    Not to sound like a jerk- I am usually in awe of your artistic abilities- but I don’t think that cover does justice to the rest of the book- my very small .02 would be to play around with it a little bit more- the illustration is pretty boss, but fontwise it feels a tad awkward.
    All of this is just imho aesthetically though- the book will undoubtedly be excellent.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink
  14. sam wrote:

    wow. I love this song. I moved to New Orleans almost two years ago and i’m ashamed at how little jazz I’ve listened too. Part of my spring break plans are to find some more.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm | Permalink
  15. Sarah wrote:

    I graduated from a public school in 2007 and in my AP English class my senior year we started with religious references and Paradise Lost.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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