Reading is developmental, not just fundamental. Reading is about comprehension, analytical thinking and spiritual/intellectual understanding. Reading forces an individual to think about thinking. The time-proven fundamental basis for the acquisition of knowledge and understanding is reading (self-improvement). “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3). Question: why is it that most Americans are not reading; especially minority Americans?
Modern technology has produced a double-edged-sword-cultural narrative primarily because television has had the negative impact of pulling individuals away from books; especially children. Most Americans are no longer reading the Bible, books, newspapers, or other printed materials. The founding fathers created a mass universal education system in order that Americans might primarily be able to read the Bible. College and university students do not read books because they are too busy texting and eye-balling their cell phones. As a result, four-year college graduation rates have declined. Most importantly, college students know very little about the text in the “Book of Life” from Genesis to Revelation. (Bible is an acronym for: Basic-Instructions-Before-Leaving-Earth). The golden age of television is becoming not so golden after all. Technology especially television has fueled the dumbing-down of American culture (instant gratification). Consequently, long form thinking is becoming a skill activity of the past. In order for society to solve complicated social problems and find medical cures for deadly diseases long range thinking and planning are an intellectual necessity. Thus, reading is the primary intellectual foundation for creative/critical thinking.
Individuals are not reading, for the most part, because they have not been taught how to read phonetically (phonics). Developmental reading begins in the family structure which should provide the basic priority experience. Therefore, children do not read books, because they do not see their parents reading books. Yet, not being able to read is not a crime, but at the same time not desiring to know how to read is a sin; not only against one’s self but against one’s children. If parents cannot read and know whether or not the elocution of scriptures are being rightly divided, then they may be easily misled. “For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” (1 John 1:3). Simply put, man’s interpretation of this scripture is: “If you talk the talk, you must walk the walk”. There is nothing new under the sun, but an individual must know how to read in order to understand this spiritual and moral lesson. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This spiritual law of “reaping what you sow”comes directly from the Bible: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God-head; so that they are without excuse…” (Romans 1: 20-21).
Knowing how to simply read in a democratic society is essential to being a productive citizen, because democracy is for an intelligent citizenry. Reading is about creative thinking. It has rightly been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But, on the other hand, a good book is worth a thousand ideas. Ideas make the world go around, and not money. Ideas not only make money, but also become life-saving ventures as well. Holiness makes the spiritual world go around, and makes for peace on earth, and good will towards all.
Reading the Bible is an important spiritual-intellectual-life experience, because the categories of understanding are spiritual and moral in nature: time, class, number and space. Reading requires creative thinking about the spiritual meaning of life (self-discipline). The Bible is the book of life the basis for spiritual self-development, because there is nothing new under the sun. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Herein lies the creative roles of both theology and sociology as academic disciplines. By the way, President Abraham Lincoln constantly read the Bible, and this just might be the major reason for the Emancipation Proclamation.
It seems as though American society is becoming an anti-intellectual-culture, that is America has become an entertainment oriented culture (external-subliminal-stimulation). Conditioning our children toward visual stimulation (entertainment) and away from books is a recipe for spiritual-moral decadence. Entertainment is not self-development. Reading is spiritual self-development. Question: should we be worried? Answer: yes, because our children are not being prepared academically for the challenges of higher education. As a result, embracing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines has become a no, no. Far too many of our children are not disciplined in abstract thinking, because abstract thinking is an essential requirement in “STEM” fields of study. Therefore, allowing our children to be entertained by technology (screen-age-baby-sitting-services); especially the television is an unwise and extremely harmful parenting proposition.
Reading the Bible with clarity helps individuals understand all of life’s spiritual challenges. If it is not in the Bible it does not exists. The question of questions is: “Can we save ourselves from ourselves by reading more?” The answer is a resounding yes; yes we can in this writer’s opinion. During slavery, reading was a precious spiritual-intellectual-commodity, because a high price-tag was placed upon it: one’s life. Now, individuals can freely read, but they don’t? Simply put, too many Blacks have become captives of their own intellectual inability to understand and take ownership responsibility for their own socio-economic-condition. Some Whites created a “Black-dehumanization-system”, and all Whites are beneficiaries, and all Blacks with God’s help must resolve the problem.
In conclusion of the matter, this writer publicly confesses we need to strengthen our families, our churches, and our educational institutions, because even with less we have achieved and can achieve even more by learning how to read, learning how to work together, and above all learning how to love and serve each other. Selah!