I gained a good deal of pleasure from the accusation levelled at me yesterday by a well known figure in the home education world that I am a hypocrite. Elizabeth, part of the double act 'Luke and Elizabeth' whom some readers may have come across, felt that I was a hypocrite for mentioning that I thought that the Bible was inspired by God and that it's moral values were good ones to teach to a child.
One of the things which I have noticed in recent years is that as long as one talks of any scriptures or belief system which does not involve the Bible, people will be respectful and not offer any criticism. After all, we live in a pluralist society and must be tolerant of all faiths and none. What better way of showing our tolerance and adherence to the multicultural society than listening gravely and with a straight face while somebody tells us that he reads the Qu'ran, is a Buddhist, Pagan, Scientologist or follows Hare krishna. It costs nothing and allows us to feel virtuous. The exception to this rule is anybody who talks of, quotes from or shows any respect for the Bible. Such people are, almost by definition, hypocrites and self-righteous bigots. This ethos may be partly formed by television, where any character in either a drama or documentary who is seen with a Bible is shown to be unpleasant. If it is fiction, then as soon as we see somebody with a Bible, we know that this person is at best slightly eccentric, like Dot Cotton from Eastenders, or at worse a psychotic killer or child abuser. No normal people in television dramas have Bibles in their homes or attend church. Documentaries where people are seen next to Bibles invariably portray them as bigoted fools and often unstable and dangerous fools at that. It is almost a rule of modern television, that the Bible is shorthand code for madness and hypocrisy.
Yesterday, even referring to the contents of the Bible was enough to get me branded a hypocrite. I don't follow the ethical system of the Bible myself; I am not a Christian, but even suggesting that it was inspired by God and that its values were worth teaching was sufficient to reveal me as a self-righteous bigot.
I love this attitude, which says so much about our society. The people who feel this way have generally not read the Bible, nor would they have one in their homes. They would be happy for their friends to see a copy of the Qu'ran or a book about Buddhism, but they would rather die than have anybody see a Bible laying around the place! I have no objection at all to anybody regarding me as a hypocrite, I am certainly that. But they really should found this belief upon stronger grounds than the fact that I approve of the moral code contained in the Bible. Such condemnation says far more about them and their own beliefs than it can ever say about me and mine.