Our American madrassas

I am impressed with the discipline imposed by the traditional madrassas: students are expected to memorize the Koran, word for word, which requires that they spend day after day reading and reciting. I don’t deny that it’s hard work and is a kind of achievement, but it’s not education — it doesn’t teach people how to think for themselves.

So I find this story about kids memorizing the Bible rather dismaying. These are clearly kids with brains, discipline, and a kind of warped ambition, who have the potential to do interesting things, and our Christian leaders have apparently seen some virtue in the madrassas model, so they’ve got them engaged in the pointless and backwards-looking exercise of Bible drills. It’s such a waste.

At least it’s all-American and thoroughly capitalist. The winner of the Bible bee got $100,000. I only hope he takes the money and uses it to get a good secular education so he can do something productive with his mind.