Dennis Prager
I offer the single most politically incorrect statement a modern American -- indeed a modern Westerner, period -- can make: I first look to the Bible for moral guidance and for wisdom.

I say this even though I am not a Christian (I am a Jew, and a non-Orthodox one at that). And I say this even though I attended an Ivy League graduate school (Columbia), where I learned nothing about the Bible there except that it was irrelevant, outdated and frequently immoral.

I say this because there is nothing -- not any religious or secular body of work -- that comes close to the Bible in forming the moral bases of Western civilization and therefore of nearly all moral progress in the world.

It was this book that guided every one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, including those described as "deists." It is the book that formed the foundational values of every major American university. It is the book from which every morally great American from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln to the Rev. (yes, "the Reverend," almost always omitted today in favor of his secular credential, "Dr.") Martin Luther King, Jr., got his values.

It is this book that gave humanity the Ten Commandments, the greatest moral code ever devised. It not only codified the essential moral rules for society, it announced that the Creator of the universe stands behind them, demands them and judges humans' compliance with them.

It gave humanity the great moral rule, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

It taught humanity the unprecedented and unparalleled concept that all human beings are created equal because all human beings -- of every race, ethnicity, nationality and both male and female -- are created in God's image.

It taught people not to trust the human heart, but to be guided by moral law even when the heart pulled in a different direction.

This is the book that taught humanity that human sacrifice is an abomination.

This is the book that de-sexualized God -- a first in human history.

This is the book that alone launched humanity on the long road to abolishing slavery. It was not only Bible-believers (what we would today call "religious fundamentalists") who led the only crusade in the world against slavery, it was the Bible itself, thousands of years before, that taught that God abhors slavery. it legislated that one cannot return a slave to his owner and banned kidnapping for slaves in the Ten Commandments. Stealing people, kidnapping, was the most widespread source of slavery, and "Thou shall not steal" was first a ban on stealing humans and then on stealing property.

It was this book that taught people the wisdom of Job and of Ecclesiastes, unparalleled masterpieces of world wisdom literature.


Dennis Prager

Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph.
 
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