A new campaign, an initiative of the Bible Society, urges parents to read tales from the Old and New Testaments to their children.
The Telegraph has the details:
It might not feature boy wizards, magic wardrobes or Hobbits, but its epic cast list does include a giant, a talking snake and a man who lived for 969 years.
Now parents reading stories with their children are being urged to mix favourites such as Harry Potter or the Narnia books with tales from the Bible as part of a new campaign aimed at a million young people.
The initiative is timed to coincide with the release of a string of blockbuster Hollywood adaptations of stories from both the Old and New Testaments.
Organisers are hoping to introduce a new generation of British children to stories from the Bible with which their grandparents would have been instantly familiar.
They fear that ignorance or open hostility towards religion by some parents could lead to a generation of children growing up unaware of many of the stories which have formed a foundation of western art, literature and music.
The campaign also follows a series of studies suggesting that fewer and fewer parents are regularly reading stories to their children at all.
The campaign, an initiative of the Bible Society, aims not to promote religious teaching but simply to introduce a new generation of children to the drama and adventure contained in the Bible.
Research commissioned by the charity found that British adults who recognise themes and stories from the scriptures in modern films and music are in the minority.
The study, which will be published this month, also found that only just over a third of adults think that having an understanding of the Bible is an important part of young people’s education.
However, it found that where they are introduced, Biblical stories still carry a strong resonance with parents and children alike. Separate polling conducted for the campaign identified the nativity as the nation’s favourite Bible story for both children and adults, followed by Noah’s Ark and the life of Joseph.
But there was then a divide along gender lines. The story of David and the giant Goliath ranked fourth among boys, while for girls it was Adam and Eve, which featured the talking snake. The story of Methuselah – who lived to the age of 969 – did not feature.
The organisers of the “Pass It On” campaign are understood to be working on a new app for iPads and other tablet computers containing a selection of Bible stories designed to be read to or by young children.
They are also in talks with popular children’s authors to come up with their own exciting retellings of once familiar Biblical stories.
“Despite being the world’s all-time bestseller, the Bible today faces its greatest challenges in the UK for centuries,” said James Catford from the Bible Society.
“Its stories open the door to understanding much of our history, as well as our cultural and literary heritage. But many of us have never opened its pages and only a tiny minority read it regularly.”
The campaign hopes to capitalise on a string of Biblical blockbusters, including Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, and Russell Crowe’s forthcoming appearance as Noah.