Back in November of 2010, there was some fuss stirred up regarding the Gideons handing out their bibles in public schools here in Ontario. While this was met with heavy objection from many atheists, I for one feel this is an excellent opportunity for education and enlightenment, for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that the bible itself contains nothing that would turn a person into a Christian. That requires charismatic people preying on vulnerable people, as well as parents drilling it into the heads of their children when they're still young enough to believe in anything their parents tell them to be true. By itself, the Bible is little more than ink on paper. I'd bet that the majority of people who proclaim to be Christian have never actually read the Bible cover to cover. Many claimed they had, but when questioned about the contents that aren't normally preached every Sunday, they often draw a blank; indicating they either "Skimmed" through it and never actually absorbed anything, or only cherry picked certain passages as they worked their way through. The bible itself provides nothing compelling nor even remotely convincing all by itself.
The second reason is that this provides an opportunity for children to learn how absurd Christianity really is. I recommend that it be a requirement for the children to read the bible as a condition of it being given out in schools. In fact, reading the bible has been known to turn Christians into atheists. Forcing these children to read such a poorly written piece of tripe in its entirety might be considered cruel and unusual punishment, so perhaps all they really need is a list of Bible absurdities to look up and confirm. We could also throw in a list of Bible contradictions for good measure. Get those kids really thinking about the Bible.
Yet another reason is that it doesn't cost the taxpayers money for this education. It costs the Gideon church money. Here is a perfect opportunity for children to learn about how absurd Christianity really is, and the Christians are willing to pay for it! All we have to do is rubber stamp a couple of URL's inside the front covers before passing them out. In fact, I'd be willing to buy the stamps and ink myself, and I'm certain I could round up enough interested people to ensure each and every bible gets our "Stamp of approval" before being passed out.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, attempting to stop the Bible from being passed out at public schools may give it more power (in the eyes of impressionable children) than it really has. It becomes that "Forbidden" thing, which immediately allows a shroud of mysticism and intrigue to exist around it. It was this shroud of mysticism and intrigue which gave Christianity its power in the early days, when the overwhelmingly vast majority of believers were illiterate.
Let the Gideons pass out their silly little Bibles, and in the interest of ensuring a balanced education, ensure those bibles are accompanied with a list of absurdities and contradictions. The children can learn for themselves how backwards and absurd Christianity really is. Who knows; we may finally see the end of religion and the beginning of enlightenment within a few short generations...or at least until the Gideons run out of money to print Bibles.