I read and reread your article diligently and have formed a conclusion.
Student Assignments & Reactions
Students read 20-page excerpts from the
Old and New Testaments in "The Portable World Bible," Robert O. Ballou (Editor)..."
From wordcounter.tools/how-many-pages-are-there-in-the-bible -
"There are more than 1,200 pages in the bible. The actual number of pages varies based on the edition of the bible. Maybe less or more than the average number of pages listed above.
Of the 1,281 pages in the bible, there are 993 pages in the Old Testament and 288 pages in the New Testament. There are a total of 66 books in both wills, divided into 1,189 chapters. The longest chapter in the bible is Genesis, which has 50 chapters, occupies 58 pages, and includes 1,533 verses. The Bible has a total of 31,173 verses, with more than 23,000 in the Old Testament. In total, the bible has 774,746 words."
Therefore, nothing of value could come from such a tiny and shallow universe of words in the assignment, no universal concepts from such a narrow view, such a small sample. Any search for answers in the Scientific Community requires much, much more raw data to even begin to form any basis for a hypothesis - let alone a viable theory or provable dynamic.
Again, the approach you have been using, no matter what socio-political justifications you rationalize it with, is this: "the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable." Whether you like it or not, or whether or not you take it as an insult, it is the precise definition of "agnostic" given in MerriamWebster.com. that forms the philosophy of your teaching.
It's no skin off my nose, but the students have no resolutions to their questions, only more questions, more confusion and indecision. Opinions and opinions of opinions have no rationale and, in my opinion, can develop only scatter-brained thought and even more unsolvable questions. This could only be incredibly frustrating for students. This is not my idea of promoting critical thinking.
I do think, if I remember correctly, being 17 years old is not a well cultivated field of extensive experience, nor of a long succession of successful harvests.
Allow me to backtrack to the beginning of your article. I have no clue where you got the ideas expressed in the first three paragraphs. The Classics in Literature and Music, and even playground recess and rock n roll have more Societal contributions to our " heritage and cultural identity" and the "essential part of being human" than the Bible and the Religions of the World. As teenagers my classmates and I lived in a subculture unique to the American Experience and had no undertones or shades of the Bible - just a tumultuous cavalcade of a rollercoaster of emotions and a merry-go-round of hormones.
Leastwise, I don't remember any deep philosophical thought... Perhaps you can enlighten me. I don't pretend to know everything.