by David Cooper
I have often said that there is no neutral education. All education, whether public or private, is driven by and advocates for a particular worldview. It may be overt or subtle, but it is there. FRCS holds to a Biblically-based worldview; public schools, charter or otherwise, must hold to a worldview based in secular humanism. Schools in the public sector have stripped away any vestiges of faith-based learning in order to present a form of education and reasoning that is palatable to a highly pluralistic society, and this worldview is far more dangerous to our children than any content that might be presented in a classroom. It is relatively easy to correct false teaching about the origins of man or the sanctity of life, but what about the subtler, and potentially more destructive, faulty worldview behind the reasoning of such teachings? It is much harder to spot and infinitely harder to uproot once planted.
The danger lies in what a secularized version of education communicates to the learners: that truths about the world can have meaning apart from God and the Christian worldview. This leaves students trying to answer essential worldview questions void of the truth about the fallen nature of man, an eternal God, or a scripturally-based objective morality. The essential, or “big questions”, as defined by Dr. James Sire in his book, The Universe Next Door are:
- What is the nature of ultimate reality?
- What is the nature of material reality?
- What is a human being?
- What happens to a person at death?
- Why is it possible to know anything at all?
- How do we know what is right and wrong?
- What is the meaning of human history?
These questions may not be openly addressed in the public/charter school classroom, and therein lies the problem. This omission or evasion perpetuates the philosophy of relativism–the belief that there are many right answers to those questions–which implies that the classroom is not the place to discriminate between those positions. This could not be further from the truth! Guiding students through the process of discerning truth from error is the high calling of education. It is precisely what all education does, whether boldly or covertly. We have been lulled into the comfortable, yet false, belief that education is about imparting factual knowledge and practical skills to students. But the truth is, it has always been about much more than that; it is about training young minds how to think about the world and their place in it.
Students who are subjected to a secularized education tend to develop a compartmentalized intellect. Instead of seeing all that they learn, in and through the lens of faith, they tend to place a divide between their learning and the pursuit of their faith (and subsequently their faith and other aspects of their lives). It creates an unnatural separation between what is being presented as secular and what is understood as sacred. They are being indoctrinated into a belief system that dictates their faith should not, and in some cases is not allowed to, influence or inform their learning. To think that this will not have a negative impact on the full breadth of a child’s life is naive.
When I hear parents say, “Well, you know, most of the teachers and the principal at our school are Christians…” intimating that this somehow makes their public/charter school faith-infused, shows a significant lack of understanding of the issue at hand. They seem to equate education by Christians as Christian education. However, it isn’t about what the teacher believes, how she behaves, or even the content she chooses to teach or eliminate. It is about the lens or worldview through which the State allows her to teach her students. It is a framework of learning that is devoid of faith, difficult to combat, and eternal in its implications.
In contrast, at Front Range Christian School there resides a worldview that embraces learning informed by the sacred, models life in which faith is pervasive, and builds a deep understanding of the world, while answering the essential questions with unwavering truth. Teaching and learning from a Christian worldview is not an educational luxury. It is the essential truth that gives the world meaning.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” ~ C.S. Lewis
It is by our faith that all we see, learn, and teach makes sense and has value. Outside of the Christian education framework, learning becomes a worldly self-improvement exercise with man at its center: a focus that removes God from the throne and leaves men filled with knowledge but devoid of understanding.
As parents working to raise a new generation of Christ followers—a generation that is equipped and prepared to impact the world with truth, grace, and love—it is imperative that we understand that there is a very real and incredibly important difference between education taught by Christians and Christian education. The impact our children have on this world, and for the Kingdom, may depend on it.