This is a free sample from the introduction and first session of our all-new high school curriculum, Can I Ask That?
Stephen was in his first week at college. He was interested in a class he’s signed up for called “The Bible as Literature.” The professor seemed really fun and obviously brilliant. Stephen figured she probably knew pretty much everything about the Bible.
“Welcome to class,” Dr. Swanson smiled at the start of the opening session. “We’re going to begin with Jonah.”
The students stopped staring at their phones and looked up. It only took Stephen about ten seconds to notice the girl two chairs over from him. He knew there would be hot girls in college.
“Many of you have heard the Bible story of Jonah, a man who was swallowed by a big fish,” Dr. Swanson continued. “But does anyone here actually believe that happened?”
Stephen looked around the class to see if anyone else would raise their hand. No one did and, most importantly, the hot girl kept her hand down … so he didn’t raise his hand either.
“Exactly,” the professor continued. “There’s no way Jonah could have been swallowed by a fish. It’s just a literary device.”
A literary device?
The professor explained how ancient writers used stories like this to illustrate a point. In fact, the prof continued, the story of Jonah was similar to other stories written by other ancient writers. Not only was it not a real story, but it was just a borrowed story from ancient fiction.
Inside, Stephen panicked.
Why didn’t my youth leaders at church talk to me about this in high school? Were they hiding something? he wondered. Is this professor telling the truth?
As the prof continued, Stephen started wondering if the entire Bible fit the category she assigned to Jonah: fiction. He had always loved his church and Jesus as best he could, but his whole world was suddenly filled with doubt about his faith.
Surprised at himself, Stephen started to ask himself a deeper question.
Is faith in God something you do when you’re a kid, just until you know better?
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