Training Students to Rethink God's Word

by Berit Kjos, 2005 (updated)

For background information, see A More Adaptable Bible

Twisting Truth Through Classroom Consensus

A Third Way to a Good Society

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Os Guinness

Amitai Etzioni



Ponder these unbiblical suggestions from The Bible and Its Influence:

"An interfaith group released a new textbook yesterday aimed at teaching public high school students about the Bible while avoiding legal and religious disputes. The nonprofit Bible Literacy Project of Fairfax, Va., spent five years and $2 million developing The Bible and Its Influence."[1] Boston/AP

"Do you think Adam and Eve received a fair deal as described in Genesis?... Eve did not know good from evil, how could God blame them for disobeying?"[2] The Bible and Its Influence

"From the Book of Daniel, then, come images that are associated with the so-called 'end times'.... Try your hand at doing some apocalyptic writing."[2] The Bible and Its Influence

Virtually banned from American schools in the early sixties, the Bible has faced a rising onslaught of wrath, ridicule, and legal assaults. Its most vocal antagonists include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and People for the American Way (PAW). So why would these and other public opponents suddenly turn and approve a textbook titled, The Bible and Its Influence?  Why such enthusiastic support for a revolutionary curriculum published by the Bible Literacy Project?

The answer may lie in the word revolutionary. This new curriculum fits into a set of social and political changes likely to affect every American family.

What is Communitarianism?

Communitarianism, wrote Joseph Farah (9-3-01), "places the importance of society ahead of the unfettered rights of the individual.... Here's what you will find under 'communitarian' if you use Webster's New World.... 'a member or advocate of a communistic or communalistic community.'... Both center on the idea that the individual needs to be de-emphasized in favor of the 'community' or the 'state.'"

"I still believe in old-fashioned freedom," Farah concluded, " the inalienable rights of the individual and the limited powers of the state. These are concepts at odds with communitarianism."[3]

General Ben Partin shared that concern. In a recent conversation (11-2-05), he recalled that, “The 1928 Program of the Third International calls for disarming the citizenry as a final step in the 'preparatory phase' of a Communist 'War of National Liberation.'"  Not surprisingly, the 1991 "Communitarian Platform" calls for "domestic disarmament."... What is the difference between "disarming the citizenry" and "domestic disarmament?"

Amitai Etzioni, founder of the Communitarian Network, is a member of Mikhail Gorbachev's World Political Forum. The Forum website introduces Etzioni as "Professor of Sociology at Columbia University for 20 years." In 1980, he "was named the first University Professor at The George Washington University, where he was the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies..... He was the editor of The Responsive Community: Rights and Responsibilities, the organization’s quarterly journal" until 2004.[4]

In his book, A Third Way to a Good Society, Etzioni described three parts of the rising Communitarian framework:

1. SYSTEMS: "The good society is a partnership of three sectors: government, private sector, and community." [This sounds like Peter Drucker! Remember, in any partnership between these three sectors, the control will flow with the funding from the top down to the community, since the standards are established at the highest level.]

2. STANDARDS and ASSESSMENTS: "A balanced society approaches the tension between individual rights and social responsibilities along these lines and adjusts its policies accordingly." [This continual policy "adjustment" requires frequent surveys and assessments.] "To ensure that this core education principle will be heeded, an annual assessment should be made in all schools..." [The standards for "human resource development" include changed attitudes, collective values, and social participation. The latter is assessed by the UN in communities around the world as "social capital.']

3. PROCESS: "This occurs through a process of special importance to those seeking a good society: moral dialogue.... Moral dialogues lead them to re-examine their beliefs, worldviews and prejudices and to recast them."[5] [The new "Bible" textbook with its unbiblical suggestions, questions and group sessions illustrates this process.]

Etzioni's Communitarian agenda fits Gorbachev's modernized Communism well. Dialogue (the dialectic process embraced by Marx and Lenin) is essential to his quest.[6]

Like Etzioni, Federico Mayor,[7] former Director General of UNESCO, is a member of  Gorbachev's Forum. Both men spoke at The World Political Forum General Assembly 2005 conference in March 2005. I don't know what the former head of UNESCO said at that conference. But I remember well his message on "Solidarity" at the 1996 UN Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul. I taped his words, which echo the Communitarian agenda:

“Citizenship for the next century is learning to live together. The 21st Century city will be a city of social solidarity.... We have to redefine the words... [and write a new] social contract.”

That social contract would require a new way of thinking that would replace -- and obliterate -- traditional beliefs and values. Aware of that fact back in 1945, UNESCO's first Director-General, Julian Huxley had little tolerance for Biblical absolutes. A Fabian Socialist like his brother Aldous, he wrote:

"We must eschew [shun] dogma - whether it be theological dogma or Marxist dogma.... East and West will not agree on a basis of the future if they merely hurl at each other the fixed ideas of the past. For that is what dogma's are -- the crystallizations of some dominant system of thought.... If we are to achieve progress, we must learn to uncrystalize our dogmas."[8]

"Uncrystalize our dogmas!" Deconstruct the Bible! Unfreeze minds from the old convictions that hinder change -- that's a major purpose and outcome of the dialectic process!

So how can the new revolutionaries change the minds of the old-time resisters? They simply use the manipulative formulas behind the dialectic process!  It fits right into UNESCO's education agenda -- now called "Common Core." Here's the formula:

  1. Bring opposing sides together to seek "common ground."
  2. Hold everyone accountable to nice-sounding ground-rules about tolerance, respect, dialogue and compromise.
  3. Train everyone to share their feelings, listen empathetically, and identify with opposing views, then blissfully flow with the group consensus.
  4. Offer glimpses of the Bible that seem to support the ideal social agenda.
  5. Make this mind-changing process (embraced by Marx and Lenin) the heart of all learning.

It works! This process transforms individual thinkers into group (or collective) thinkers. Since the sense of belonging feels good, the threat of group disapproval inhibits members from voicing "offensive" views.

Using "Biblical literacy" to undermine Biblical truth


The Bible Literacy Project's textbook, The Bible and Its Influence, illustrates the process well. Presenting the Bible as myth and stories rather than as truth and revelation, it outlines the Bible but undermines its authority. It quotes Scriptures, but adds mind-changing illustrations. Inviting human interpretations and speculations, it instills new meanings in "open" minds. For example, it --

1. Prompts students to doubt God's sovereignty, wisdom and justice: "... if God allows evil things to happen, can God honestly be described as good? This puzzle remains essentially unsolved."[156]

2. Suggests a more universal view of the Bible: "Muslims honor Abraham as the first monotheist, worshipper of the one true God they call Allah.... Draft a resolution in covenant language that you think would resolve the conflict."[53]

3. Undermines the heart of Christianity: "Jesus was also seen as an example of self sacrifice that can be imitated." ... "On your own, try to find examples of such Christ figures in literature, film or even music." [276]

4. Ridicules Biblical warnings and prophecy:  "You’ve probably seen cartoon or movie depictions of the prophet of doom, a shaggy bearded individual in ragged robes, ranting from a soapbox or wearing a sandwich board sign that reads, 'The end is near.'” …"Try your hand at doing some apocalyptic writing." [181]

5. Redefines Biblical terms: "Do absolute good and evil exist?" [163]

6. Blends pagan images with Biblical references: "Look up some examples of other ancient literature and mythology of the origins of the world (such as Enuma Elish, Gilgamesh, or Praise of the Pickax). Compare what you read there with the first two chapters of Genesis. Share your comparisons."

Much of the Bible is reduced to notions (a much-repeated word in The Bible and Its Influence) subject to subjective preferences, which can be manipulated by trained facilitators.

Communitarian values on BLP Boards

Many people closely involved with the Bible Literacy Project are members of the Communitarian Network and share it’s mission. They serve on  the Bible Literacy Project Advisory Board and its Board of Directors, and contributed to its textbook:

Charles Haynes, a key contributor, seems to be the main spokesman both for the Bible Literacy Project and for the Freedom Forum, formerly known as the Gannett Foundation (the liberal Gannett media).  Not only is he involved with the Communitarian Network, he also serves on the Advisory Board of The Pluralism Project', which includes Margot Adler, a Wiccan priestess who authored "Drawing Down Moon" and speaks to America as a National Public Radio correspondent.[9]

As senior scholar at the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center, Haynes works closely with its lawyer Oliver Thomas, who co-authored The Right to Religious Liberty,an ACLU handbook." (The main link to Thomas' ACLU handbook has been deleted. See alternative link) Whose “right” would the ACLU promote?[10]  One answer can be seen in Haynes disapproval of the National Day of Prayer, which he voiced in an article titled, "When Government Prays, No One Wins" (5-15-05).

David Blankenhorn, President of the Institute for American Values, endorsed The Responsive Communitarian Platform. In April 2002, he participated with Amitai Etzioni in a debate hosted by The Aspen Institute in Berlin.  He is a signatory of the Communitarian Platform.[11]

Both Mary Ann Glendon and Jean Bethke Elstain are members of the Editorial Board of The Responsive Communitarian and helped prepare The Responsive Communitarian Platform.[12]

Os Guinness has worked with Charles Haynes for over 15 years. He has been quoted by Amitai Etzioni in various documents and is included as signatory in two Communitarian papers."[13]

Two years ago, Dr. Guinness spoke at a public forum held at the Woodstock Theological Center, an influential Jesuit institute at Georgetown University. "For the last 12 years," he said,

"we have seen the ugliness of members of the religious right who have what we might call a 're-imposer mentality.' They would like to re-impose their vision of an earlier state of things on everyone else.... On the other extreme and partly as a reaction to the religious right, there are the 'removers.' ... I, personally, owe a great debt to... John Courtney Murray for helping me think through the first principles of religious liberty...."

Dr. Guiness was preceded by J. Leon Hooper, S.J., a senior fellow at Woodstock, who co-directed a Lilly Endowment project, 'Ethics in the Murray Tradition.' He made some timely comments:

"In the 1950s Murray declared that 'modernity is dead' and that his generation was entering 'a new world order.' He went on to say that a 'post-modern' America finally was escaping the individualism, materialism, and 'technologism' that had been so much part of our social history. Now, he said, the nation was entering into a communitarian age in which religions would deeply inform our public life."[14]

Communitarian ideals sound noble to those who don't remember the terrors of last century's experiments with collectivism. The Bible Literacy Project will surely spread those ideals, which will cloud rather than clarify God's Word. As Steve Crampton, Chief Counsel with the American Family Association, said, “Refusal to allow students to use their own Bibles as the textbook in a Bible class is the ultimate in arrogance and arbitrary censorship.” To infer that a scholarly "Bible text” is superior to the Bible itself is like claiming Cliff Notes are superior to Shakespeare.

Yet, in the Communitarian context it makes sense. As trained teacher-facilitators lead students toward a politically correct consensus through small group dialogues, home-taught “dogmas” will be "uncrystallized" and adapted to the new standards for unity and community. Unlike the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools -- which uses the Bible as textbook and has never been legally challenged -- the Bible Literacy Project makes a mockery of true Biblical literacy.

"...there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.... And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words..." 2 Peter 2:1-3

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."  Colossians 2:6-9

See also See Three kinds of Group Relationships and A More Adaptable Bible

Twisting Truth Through Classroom Consensus and Charles Haynes & Communitarianism


1.  The Boston Globe/AP, 9-23-05,  at

2.  The Bible and Its Influence, Bible Literacy Project, 2005, pages 38 and 181.


4.  Members and Biographies at

5., pages 19-24.


7.  Federico Mayor has added "Zaragoza" to his last name since his term as Director-General of UNESCO ended.

8.  Julian Huxley, UNESCO: Its purpose and Its Philosophy (Washington DC: Public Affairs Press, 1947), page 61.

9. and

10. and




14. John Courtney Murray, S.J., and Religious Pluralism at


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