In the spring of 1974, fresh out of graduate school and barely moved into the office that came with my first faculty appointment, I accepted my department chair’s invitation to begin teaching an undergraduate course in the Bible as literature. Over the ensuing 36 years I have learnt a great deal about the approaches that contemporary students take to religious issues.
Like all great literature, the Bible elicits complex, multidimensional and highly individualistic responses; nevertheless, through decades of observation, I have come to understand some of the hurdles these young people face, to recognise a number of biblical themes that do and do not resonate with them, and to identify those texts that elicit great discussions as well as some that simply flop.
One of the most persistent misconceptions about this course is that the majority of enrolled students are devout Christians, fully immersed in the inerrant authority of God’s Word and living out the imperatives found in the Gospels. Unless students are church-going and Bible-believing, so the mythology runs, they will be at an academic disadvantage.
In fact, the opposite is true. Each semester about two-thirds of my class of 40 or more are drawn to the Scriptures for reasons other than pious belief, and they bring with them a stunning array of attitudes towards the Bible and the world that produced it.
Read the full story in Times Higher Education.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.