An Unlikely Ally in the Promotion of Bible Reading
Longtime English broadcaster, atheist Melvyn Bragg, recently spoke at Henley Literary Festival in Oxfordshire, England. When asked about the decline in Bible reading among young people, Bragg’s reaction was somewhat apologetic-like (in the biblical/defense sense). He said: “I think it is a great deprivation. What have we thrown away? One of the greatest pieces of art, work, whatever way you want to put it. It’s awful. As for being too difficult, really? Honestly. We should be too good for that, we used to be the clever country.”1 Bragg even went so far as to propose that “[t]he first week of every month in every church and every school, no matter what denomination because I’m talking about culture as well as a religion, it should be read so that people have a depth to language and depth of reference, which they are without.”2
Although as a Christian I have far more (eternally) important reasons for wanting the Bible read increasingly more around the world (cf. Romans 10:17), the fact is, any rational person, even unbelievers, should be in favor of Bible reading. After all, the Bible is the most well-preserved, ancient work in history. Its composition is diverse—from the laws of Moses, to the poetry of Job, to the letters of Paul. What’s more, it’s the greatest selling, most widely distributed piece of literature in world history. Indeed, even atheists should promote Bible reading!
1 Laura Lambert (2017), “It’s a Disgrace That Children Don’t Read the Bible, Says Atheist Melvyn Bragg,” Daily Mail, Oct. 3, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4946152/It-s-disgrace-children-don-t-read-Bible-says-Bragg.html.