Nice post, KCrady.
Coming from a liberal Christian family (now atheist, myself), I‘ve wanted to discuss how to teach children, and now seems as good a time as any. In our liberal Church of the Brethren admitted SPAG, we choose the 4 gospels (Christ) as our creed.
I can appreciate the core teachings of Jesus,
What are the "core" teachings of Jesus? His apocalyptic predictions of an immanent end to the world? His teachings about Yahweh's judgment and everlasting suffering for the damned in Hell? His promotion of an ascetic, itinerant lifestyle (hate/leave family to follow him, have no thought for tomorrow, lilies of the field, sell all your possessions and give to the poor, etc.)? His parables? His discourses? His debates with the Pharisees? His ministry of faith-healing and exorcism?
Whatever set you pick, on what basis do you define them (and not others) to be the "core?"
as with many great religious teachers and philosophers throughout history,
Comparing Jesus to, say, Lucretius or the Buddha, I don't think he qualifies as "great" at all. If not for the historical triumph of Christianity (which had more to do with Paul and Emperor Constantine than the teachings of Jesus), I doubt very much that Jesus would be remembered as a "great teacher." Even the early Christians themselves didn't bother to preserve more than a tiny handful of "teachings of Jesus." They preserved quite a bit more of the teachings of Paul.
as having important things to teach kids. While science and math are the important things, do you think that the humility,
Where is Jesus humble? He is portrayed accepting worship, demanding absolute, unquestioning obedience from his followers, and making grandiose claims about himself. For the price of a very bad weekend, he (supposedly) gets everlasting domination over the Universe. What comic-book supervillain wouldn't take that
Since the main act of "self-sacrifice" attributed to Jesus is his participation in an atavistic eat-my-flesh-and-drink-my-blood vampire-cult rite of torture and human sacrifice, I'd say no
, kids don't really need to learn that shit. Well, for purposes of cultural familiarity, so they'll understand why Catholic priests wear tortured-dead-guy-on-a-stick necklaces and so forth, maybe. But not as any sort of ideal they should look up to.
and “turning of the other cheek” that we can get from Jesus are an important thing to expose kids too,
No, I don't think "turning of the other cheek" is a good thing to teach to children. Better to teach them rational methods of conflict-avoidance and self-defense
than make them easy prey for bullies.
or do you think these ideas confuse kids, weaken humanity (a business, survival of the fittest view)?
No, I don't think we are limited to a choice between Jesus and Genghis Khan. False dichotomy. Why not Lucretius or Rumi or Buckminster Fuller?
My family (mom, sisters) would argue that the parts of the bible that teach kids to “stand in other’s shoes” are one of many necessary readings for kids as they grow up.
On what basis do you pick those parts, and not the Song of Solomon, or the injunctions to exterminate Pagans, or the rules for keeping women in their place as men's property? Can't you teach your children empathy for others without the Bible? If you must appeal to ancient teachings, the Buddha had a lot to say about compassion for all beings. Compare the pledge of the Bodhisattvas, to refuse entry into Heaven as long as other beings anywhere suffered and had need of their compassion. Jesus doesn't hold a candle to that.