Catholic School lesson plan promotes sexist, violent, antisemitic, forged Bible passage

A lesson plan in the Catholic Grow in Love series, for sixth class students, has the students acting out the Bible story about “the woman caught in adultery.”

This will be taught in about 90% of State-funded primary schools in Ireland, and teachers who want a job in these schools must be prepared to teach this.

This story is a sexist and violent addition to original John 8, which is an antisemitic story in which Jesus tells Jews they are of their father the Devil.

The part about the woman caught in adultery was added to the Bible centuries later. In the original John 7-8, Jesus has an argument with the Jews in the Temple, who decide to stone him, so he hides and then runs away.

You can opt your child out of religion class, but in most cases they will still be left in the classroom and be influenced by this rhetoric.

The story is sexist

In the story, the Pharisees say that they caught the woman in “the very act of committing adultery.” If so, then they must have also caught the man she was having sex with.

So why did they bring only “the woman,” and not also the man, to be judged by Jesus? This is an example of the Bible portraying women who have sex as “fallen women” to be forgiven by a man, as long as she doesn’t sin again.

The lesson plan does not involve anybody questioning why it is only “the woman” who is being punished, and the man is nowhere to be seen.

“The woman” is entirely passive throughout the experience. The lesson plan says that: “The gathering crowd ready their ‘stones’ and the woman keeps her head hung and says nothing, as she awaits her fate.”

The story is violent

The story involves people gathering to stone a woman to death for having sex. The lesson plan has students acting out this violent desire, and trivialising it by using rolled up pieces of paper to represent rocks.

Also, the lesson plans are even more violent than the forged Bible story. In the forged Bible story, the Pharisees “brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus…”

In the lesson plan, in the instructions for the students, “They made her stand before the group” has become “One of the (students in the play) handles the woman very roughly, before throwing her to the ground before Jesus.”

So the lesson plan is getting a student (presumably male, as he is playing a Pharisee) to handle a female classmate very roughly, and throw her to the ground. The students who are playing the crowd then shout “Let’s throw stones at her!” and “Stone her, stone her!”

The story is antisemitic

John 8 is one of several chapters in the Bible that give scriptural foundation to Christian anti-Semitism. In it, Jesus says to Jews who are talking about their God:

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

The story is a forgery

This story of the women caught in adultery was not even in the original version of John 7 and 8. It was added in centuries later.

In the original, or at least the most reliable versions of John 7 and 8, Jesus told the Jews in the Temple that whoever follows him will never walk in darkness, and that if they knew him they would also know his father. He told them that if they continue in his word, they will be his disciples, and they will know the truth, and the truth will set them free.

The Jews said they were descendants of Abraham and were not slaves to anyone. Jesus said they were not Abraham’s children, as they were trying to kill him. He said they were from their father the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning and who is a liar and the father of lies. Jesus said they did not hear the words of God because they are not from God.

The Jews told Jesus that he was possessed by a demon, and asked him if he thought he was greater than Abraham. Jesus told them that before Abraham was, he is. The Jews then started to gather stones, in order to stone Jesus, but Jesus hid and then ran away.

Why was it added in centuries later?

The most likely reason is to create the impression that Jesus rejected the Mosaic law. But without this later addition, Jesus has a very different approach to the Mosaic law.

  • Jesus says that cities that do not receive his disciples will be treated worse than Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment (Mark 6:11).
  • Jesus criticises Pharisees for not obeying the law of Moses that anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death (Mark 7:9-10).
  • Jesus explicitly endorses the barbaric laws of the Old Testament, saying: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:17-18).
  • Jesus says you should fear God who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28).
  • Jesus says that he did not come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword, and that he has come to turn man against father, daughter against mother, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law (Matthew 10:34-36).
  • Jesus says that God will tell people who are cursed to depart into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) where they will be punished for eternity (Matthew 25:46).
  • Jesus repeats in the gospel called Luke many of the stories in the gospel called Matthew.
  • Jesus says that people who leave him will be thrown into the fire and burned (John 15:6).
  • Jesus tells a church in Turkey that a woman called Jezebel had seduced his servants to fornicate, so he is going to kill her children with death for their mother’s sins (Revelation 2:20-23)
Atheist Ireland


  1. Avatar
    Ian Munro October 15, 2019

    If Jesus was alive today and behaved in the same way with disregard to the law he would be charged with being a trouble maker and a hooligan Modern history and archeology clearly indicates much is written without fact to portray the writers beliefs that’s why there are so many variations. It was the Romans that punished him not the Jews and there is no evidence he died of crucifixion it was only used as a punishment. Death was by beheading.

  2. Avatar
    Bill Sisk October 15, 2019

    This is outrageous. It is wrong on so many fronts. We need to move to a secular society where this violent mythology will no longer be relevant.

  3. Avatar
    Declan James October 16, 2019

    Can you provide some evidence that the story was added centuries later?
    If so how come it wasn’t added to the other three gospels?

    • Avatar
      Atheist Ireland October 28, 2019

      Hi Declan,

      It’s not even remotely controversial to say that this passage was added in centuries later. It is accepted by all reputable Biblical scholars and historians, and it even says so as a footnote in most Bibles.

      There are lots of things that are in one but not all Gospels, because the Gospels were made up by different people at different times in different places, who did not know each other.

      The Gospels did not even have authors’ names. The names Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John were made up and attached to them later.

      The earliest Gospel, called Mark, starts with Jesus being baptised by John the Baptist. It doesn’t have any of the stories about a virgin birth, because they hadn’t been made up yet.

      The Gospels called Mathew and Luke include the virgin birth story, but with different versions about where it happened and whether there was a census that brought people to different places (there wasn’t).

      You have to get as far as the Gospel called John before the Jesus character was there from the beginning. The Gospels are all completely inconsistent, because they were made up at different times for different reasons.

      It was only later that they were all collected up as if they were part of the same book, which is not how or why they were written.

      Again, none of this is remotely controversial. Any reputable Biblical scholar or historian will tell you the same.

  4. Avatar
    Patrick Gormley October 22, 2019

    Jesus said, “If you want her stoned then fine but find somebody worthy to do so.” Instead of acting immediately he dragged it out punishing her by making her feel she was about to be killed. He refused to just walk away for they could not stone her anyway. They were not authorised. He judged her as an adulteress and in those times that meant lifelong stigma that was a bigger torture than being stoned. He said nothing about the extreme violence of stoning vulnerable women to death.