What if scholarly views presented in class conflict with student belief?
A teacher may acknowledge student beliefs but those beliefs may not impede the class’ reading and comprehension of the biblical text. In addition, students may not ask other students to affirm or deny a statement of faith. Many students discussing the Bible with others of different – or nonexistent – faith backgrounds learn for the first time that other people read and understand the text very differently than they do, and if discussions are handled well, studying the Bible from an academic perspective in a diverse classroom environment can be an excellent way to foster respect and tolerance for the beliefs of others, and an appreciation for the relevance of scholarly views. How can this be done? Scholarly views respond to questions or problems that many readers have found in a text. Teachers can ask students to provide an alternative solution to those problems (for example, “Why are there four Gospels, and not just one?”) or ask whether students see these problems in the text as well.