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Friday, January 11, 2013

Thirteen Year Dose

If we think American schools are religiously neutral, we must think again. Of course, if the public schools were overtly indoctrinating children in Buddhism, or Native American Animism, many parents would hit the ceiling. (Maybe.) But when it comes to the indoctrination of children in Dewey's "Common Faith," Christian parents are curiously passive. 

Apparently enough Christians think secularism is "neutral," and if kids can learn to read and write well enough to enter a university, they'll give secularized education a pass. Apparently enough feel that if teachers don't stand up in front of a class and say, "The Bible is a fairy tale," things are tolerable. Yet when teachers don't connect the Word of God seriously to a single academic subject over a period of thirteen to seventeen years, are those teachers really being "neutral?" [Consider last week's post.]

My biggest concern about young Christians being indoctrinated into secularism via education is not that they will become atheists. My biggest concern is that they will become dualists.  

A Christian dualist is one who reads the Bible, prays, goes to Church on Sunday, maybe teaches Sunday School, and yet doesn't make any substantive connections between God's Word and what goes on in the workplace for 40-60 hours Monday through Friday at Boeing, because he or she thinks "faith" is a personal matter, and the workplace is "public," and therefore "secular." The Christian dualist doesn't mix the Word with Boeing because he or she never mixed the Word with math, science or economics over thirteen to seventeen years in school, so why mix it now with Boeing? Building airplanes is a "secular" endeavor, isn't it?

Really? Where exactly is this "secular" world, anyway? [See Where Is The "Secular" World?]

In short: after a thirteen year dose of secularism (even via the best Christian teachers who would never speak badly of the Bible), a young Christian is most likely to come out the other end as a dyed-in-the-wool dualist, thinking the Bible is relevant to Church life and personal life, but not relevant to business, law, politics, medicine, or driving a bus, because it wasn't relevant to language arts, history, social studies or sports.

Many Christian parents who attended secularized schools themselves don't see a problem with their children attending them, because they "turned out OK." But my question is: Did they?

Did we?

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  1. Great article Christian, it really got me thinking. I think I may even have to read some of this to the students in my classes, they need to know how the education they are receiving is different from the publuc schools.

  2. Great. Let us know what your students think about it, OK?

  3. Thank you Christian for the encouragement because my husband and I are making great sacrifices to send our kids to a wonderful Christian school. It is so worth is as I hear my son, who is a junior in High School seeking the Lord for his furture plans. The biblical worldview he (and our other kids) are being taught is making a difference daily. Your blogs are terrific. Please keep fighting the good fight. More people need to ponder their decisions about their childrens' education. God bless you! Elisa Anderson

  4. Elisa,

    Thanks for your encouraging note!

    Onward and upward.

  5. I agree with your post, but I think the BIGGEST difference you can make in your child's life (whether Christian school or Public) is the relationship you build with them. It IS harder to go over what was said in school or with a friend every night before I put my kids to bed but we have WONDERFUL talks about God, the Bible, life situations etc. My daughter went to private Christian school from KG - 3 and public now from 4-6. Her faith has definitely been tested and she is a lot stronger for it. She has had her friends say, "don't tell me you believe in the Bible" and her response is "don't tell me you believe in evolution!" Both my husband and I (and the grandparents!) have daily talks and discussions about what this world will say to her (if not now, it will come later!) and we get to build up her faith and she learns (at a young age) how to be strong going upstream in a downstream world! So my opinion is, it's all on the parents heads. Even if my kids were still going to a private Christian school, I wouldn't leave it to the teachers there to teach my child about God and life. As parents, we all live in the same messed up world and we continually have to train our children "in the way they should go." I can't stress how important I feel it is for parents to develop a trusting, open and God fearing relationship with their kids. It's our responsibility, not the schools.

  6. Great, Selina! Would that all Christian parents and grandparents did what you are doing.

  7. The 'sin' of secularized (e.g., public) schools is primarily one of omission rather than commission. Spending 13 years in classrooms where God is perceived as being irrelevant because his name and activities are never mentioned tend to produce students who have been desensitized and thus neutralized to perceiving kingdom activity (pro and con) or seeking the coming of the kingdom within the public arena. The war is being won without firing a shot as Christians sleep.

  8. Well said, Jack.

    The frog is in the pot, brought slowly to a boil.

  9. I think what this article doesn't address is the role of the parents in a child's education. My child attends a public school (not in the US, but secular nonetheless.) He's in class weekdays for 4 hours and 40 minutes. After that he's home and is my priority and responsibility. We discuss what he learned that day, we go over his homework together and read his history and science together. We discuss what the Bible says and if anything in the texts contradicts that...he shares life experiences he had with other kids and we talk about how to apply Biblical principles to different issues, we pray for his teacher together...Even though my child attends public school, his education is still one of my main priorities.

  10. If every Christian parent did what you do, we would have an amazingly strong generation of "Daniels in Babylon." Keep up the good work.