BACK IN SCHOOL, BUT WHAT IS THE AGENDA?
The kids are back in school. 2019 is like previous years, and the start of a new term is exciting and anticipated by students, parents, and teachers alike. But I feel compelled to remind folks, especially Christians, that along with the anticipation and excitement, that we realize there is a new "god" in government education.
Secular humanism manifests itself in varying degree in every facet of our society. But no other segment of our culture has been so successfully overwhelmed and captured by Secular Humanism as has that of our "educational system." The irony of this is quite remarkable. I say this because from colonial times and until early in the 20th century, all learning was universally religious. During this time, the Bible was the basis of the curricula, and nearly every academic subject taught within a Christian framework.
The textbooks of practically all public schools until well into the 1900s were mostly promoters of the Judeo–Christian morality. "The New England Primer" and William McGuffey's "Eclectic Readers" are notable examples. McGuffey's books, first published in 1836, were still being used in public schools until 1920. Teachers in the public school were nearly unanimous in espousing the values of Christianity or at the least the moral principles enshrined in the Ten Commandments. During this period of well over 200 years, the vast majority of Americans rightly assumed that education and religion go hand in hand.
What happened to bring us to where we are today? One person, Horace Mann, exerted more influence and change in the goals of education than any other. Mann, as chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education, developed and promoted a plan that not only, made school attendance mandatory, but also, completely "neutralized" the religious influence in education.
Mann believed firmly in the innate goodness and perfectibility of humanity. His planned public, but utterly non-theistic education, was antithetical to the Calvinistic concept of learning which had dominated culture for the previous 200 years. In his plan, the pupil was soon defined mostly by his rights rather than his responsibilities. The concept that a student is accountable to God, parents, and teachers was subtly discarded by these new progressives who now began to insist that all these were ultimately accountable to the student.
As education became religiously neutral and universally required, educational "progressives" began promoting an even more dramatic change. John Dewey, at Columbia University, insisted that "values" must be formed by the democratic process rather than from an "archaic reliance on an absolute standard-- namely the King James Bible." Dewey's idea was that "values" change as life and society changes. In other words, "morality" is always fluid, local, subjective, and temporary. Of necessity, values would vary from culture to culture. Gradual but relentless attrition and subversion of traditionally held values and the outright rejection of any universal moral absolutes continue unabated to this day in public education.
The nation has been warned of the potential dangers of learning absent any moral certainties. As the nature of education continued to divest from its traditional moral underpinnings, numbers of educational and religious leaders began voicing their concerns to their congregants and the nation. For example, Dr. Charles Hodge, Princeton University theologian, warned the U.S. President in an open letter that:
"A comprehensive and centralized system of national education, separated from religion, as is now commonly proposed will prove [to be] the most appalling engineering for the propagation of anti-Christian and atheistic unbelief, and of anti-social nihilistic ethics, individual, social, and political, which this sin-rent world has ever seen."
Can anyone look at the condition of our public school and deny the general fulfillment of Hodge's prediction? How is it that students' attitudes toward such things as respect for authority, evolution, abortion, same-sex marriage, transgender, patriotism, the work ethic, sexual restraint, capitalism, restrictive gun laws, liberalism, and so forth have changed so dramatically from previous generations?
Can we accept that there is has been neither bias nor intent in bringing about all of this? Are we to believe that liberal humanistic ideology and purposeful curricula manipulation had no part in the change? Do we think that there has been no effort to manage, divert, or subvert young minds from traditional beliefs and values? How is it that so many kids raised in conservative and traditional backgrounds eventually abandon many of their parent's values as they progress through the educational process?
Every vestige of Christianity is now nearly eradicated from our public schools. But this does not imply that "religion" is missing. The new "god" of the government school is secularism [humanism]. And make no mistake, this "current god" is a very jealous "god." Its "priests" and devotees will abide no "blasphemy," "heresy," or trifling with any of its "beliefs" or policies. It is apparent that no student, teacher, or administrator who defies or questions a school's humanistic mandates, its atheism, or goals will escape the secular inquisition. WEN
The Grace Baptist Chapel
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