Striving For The Goal
Ostensibly, as a fanatic, Right-Wing Christian, I wrote this post to deride the supposed benefits of a secular education. However, I doubt the wisdom of making fun of the beliefs of others. Moreover, I have observed that what we are for is much more important than what we are against, and we should never lose sight of that fact. Therefore, this post will constantly point to a goal.
Proverbs 22:6 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Parents have a responsibility to bring up their children so that their children know how to use their God-given gifts and how to live as God would have us live. Unfortunately, clever people work overtime trying to convince us that we must avoid this or that disastrous pitfall. By focusing our minds upon our fears, they can get us to spend all our efforts trying to get us to avoid that thing we fear instead of working on that thing we desire. Then, instead of educating children we spend all our time trying to prevent something bad from happening to our children.
When we spend our lives driven by fear; we don’t accomplish much of anything. We just run and run and run, always tired and spent. Finally, we just give up.
If we let ourselves become confused enough, we will have forgotten what it is we wanted in the first place. Yet we don’t have to be confused. We don’t even have to be afraid. We just have to take responsibility for our own children.
Why Would Christians Want A Secular Government?
Why would Christians want a secular government? The answer goes back to the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Because Christians believe that each of us is entitled to the freedom of our own consciences, we believe in limiting the power of government. Hence, the Constitution restricts Congress from interfering with the religious practices of the American people. Therefore, in the sense that government does not exist to promote or implement any particular religious belief, the founders considered the government secular.
However, the founders did not set out to create a secular society. Nor did they intend to shield the government from religious influences. With the First Amendment they simply stated that Congress could not uses its powers to force anyone to practice any particular religion.
Secularism: An Ideology of Nots
Since the founding, what was a simple prohibition on Congress has grown into an ubiquitous monster. The reason? We insist upon providing our children a secular education. Yet, curious though it may seem, most people have no idea what is meant by a secular education.
Carefully consider the definition of “secular.”
- of or relating to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal: “secular interests”
- not pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to sacred ): “secular music”
- (of education, a school, etc.) concerned with nonreligious subjects.
- (of members of the clergy) not belonging to a religious order; not bound by monastic vows (opposed to regular ).
Whatever is secular is just what someone in authority says is “not” religious. Thus, the whole point of a so-called secular education is to NOT teach something, especially something religious in nature.
Hence, whenever someone proclaims the glories of a secular education, that someone has only a vague idea of what they are advocating. All they know is that a secular education supposedly excludes the religious, spiritual, or sacred. That’s because Secularism is defined by what it is against, not by what it is for.
Refusing to teach children to believe in something is a bad idea.
This is a dangerous state. If they don’t stand for something, they will fall for anything. (from here)
Is A Secular Education A Rational Goal?
Is a secular education a rational goal? Probably not. At best, a secular education is pointless. Because some people want government-run schools, to avoid religious freedom concerns these people insist upon a secular education.
But stop and think. When a parent chooses a secular education, what is the purpose of the education? How do we define what the child should learn? Once we educate a child, what do we expect that child to do with what he or she has learned? When we secularize the education of children, how do we answer such questions?
Don’t get it? Then consider some of the subjects of we want children to learn.
- Metaphysics (metaphysical philosophy): When we consider metaphysics, we consider how we look at the world and each other at a very basic level. How can we know something is true? What are the appropriate methods of inquiry? What are appropriate questions? Is there a God? The secularist sets this basic question aside as immaterial.
- Science (or natural philosophy): Science involves applying the logic of philosophy to the study of the natural world. Here in particular the secularist says God is not relevant. In fact, the devout secularist considers belief in God an obstacle when it comes to “logical” inquiry.
- Ethics (moral philosophy): What passes for ethical education in the public school system politicians usually refer to as “character education,” but what are secular ethics? Whose secular ethics do we use? Do parents want their children to practice secular ethics? Isn’t the secularist likely to foul up an ethical problem by altering the relevant point-of-view? Instead of defining the difference between right and wrong from God’s point-of-view, what is the probability the secularist will have us define the ethical point-of-view relative to the individual, even relative to a particular individual in a particular situation. That’s situational ethics and moral relativism. That’s the kind of ethics that advocates the distribution of condoms in the public schools.
- Reading and Writing: Reading provides the primary basis we use to learn. Writing provides us a means to record our thoughts, even to communicate to others. We fill our hearts and souls (and the hearts and souls of others) with what we read, hear and see. Many of our reading tastes are acquired. That is, what we have read, heard, and seen in the past biases our choice of what we will choose to read, hear, and see in the future. When we should be taking care to set our minds on the thing above, not the things on earth (Colossians 3:2), the secularist will encourage us to read, write, learn, and communicate for our own fleshly pleasures.
- History/Civics: Many secularists set aside or misinterpret both the historical and the present role of religion in human history. For example, there is a common misconception that wars start over religion, the Book of James offers a different explanation. Pride promotes strife (James 4:1-6).
- Literature and Art: Once people produced literature and art primarily for the glory of God. Today the reverse is true. In fact, much of today’s literature and art is riddled with pointless sex and gratuitous violence. Do most advocates for secular education condone pointless sex and gratuitous violence in literature and art? Probably not, but too many secularists simply don’t care.
Nothing Is Secular
When we send our children to school, we must remember we prepare them to live, not just to do an eight to five job. That’s why The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons, Parts 225-236 contains these words from Charles Spurgeon:
To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred. He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him. He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament. He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice. He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.
When we believe in God, we believe in a Creator, that everything is of God.
Just so that we can be clear: there is no such thing as a secular world. By that, I mean that there is no such thing as the world apart from God, a world without God, or a world existing in a “neutral zone.” The good God who created the heavens and the earth, sustains them in their very existence. He has not made Himself absent, nor so endowed the world that it has existence apart from Him. We have created ideological zones in which we try to remove all reference to God or to control behavior in such a way that it can be conceived apart from God, but these are mere intellectual tricks. We cannot make God disappear, regardless of our ideas or declarations. God is simply everywhere present, filling all things. (from here)
If everything is of God, then nothing is secular. If nothing is secular, then our children’s education must include the knowledge of God. If we give our children a secular education, we will teach them they can safely ignore God. If we give our children a Christian education, we will teach them God loves them and that they should love Him in return.
In WHY DO CHILDREN NEED A RELIGIOUS EDUCATION?, we started a discussion on education. In addition to a significant number of comments, other blogs offered their opinions.
- siriusbizinus at Amusing Nonsense provided a three-part series, The Merits of Secular Education: Part I, Part 2, and Part 3.
- phadde2 focused on the rights issue: Is Education a Natural Right? Is the Constitution the Culprit?
- What Makes Christian Education Distinct (www.christianitytoday.com)
- Why Christian Education? What are the Issues with Secular Education? (www.champion.org)
- Education is no Paneacea (gbclander.org)
To Be Continued => Is There A Right To An Education?