Western civilization is indebted to the Judeo-Christian tradition for the ideas of human dignity and human rights, innovation in science and medicine, habits of humanitarian charity and universal education, and its rich contribution to the arts. As the prodigious Jewish scholar Jacob Neusner has written:
Or as Irish historian Christopher Dawson once put it in his book Religion and the Rise of Western Culture:
“Western culture has been the atmosphere we breathe and the life we live: it is our own way of life and the way of life of our ancestors; and therefore we know it not merely by documents and monuments, but from our personal experience.”
Even the notorious atheist, the late Christopher Hitchens, agrees that Western culture makes little sense without attending to the contribution of biblical religion:
“You are not educated. . . if you don’t know the Bible. You can’t read Shakespeare or Milton without it . . . And with the schools now, they don’t even teach it as a document. They stay out of the whole thing to avoid controversy. So kids can’t quote the King James Bible. That’s terrible.”
The Bible + Culture will highlight some of the ways the Bible has shaped the West.
BibleMesh aims to help people understand the big picture as well as important facts of the Bible. The first BibleMesh resource is “The Biblical Story,” a course that presents Scripture as a cohesive narrative of God’s work in the world from Genesis to Revelation. It utilizes an interactive quizzing tool that helps people remember what they have learned. And finally, it includes a social networking platform which will allow pastors and church leaders to host their own online Bible studies and contribute their own resources. Forthcoming content will include courses in Biblical Greek and Hebrew.