Monday, January 16, 2006

Whose God Is In The Classroom?

Last month, WorldNetDaily brought together lists of the top ten Conservative Colleges as compiled by Young America's Foundation and juxtaposed them against a list of the top ten Liberal Colleges as compiled by the Princeton Review. The observation I have is that one cannot have an educational structure without ideology. Educational ideologies are typically intentional. There is often some tension among the staff and faculty as to what the ideological vision may be, but these tend to be trumped by administrative vision.

A consistent ideology is rooted in a single primary doctrine from which multiple sub-doctrines may be derived. Tensions over sub-doctrines arise over which competing sub-doctrines best fulfill the primary doctrine. For example, if the school is Christian, then the primary doctrine may be that the school should glorify Christ. Competing sub-doctrines may be over whether students should be prepared primarily with Biblical Studies (which address students' spiritual lives) or Liberal Arts (which may assume that students already have a dedicated spiritual life and need "real world" skills in order to minister to the world). Faculty or staff with a primary doctrine that differs from that of the school may try to subvert the primary doctrine of the school by arguing in favor of sub-doctrines that they believe favor their own instead of that of the school. They may use arguments that cause others to believe they are arguing in favor the school's primary doctrine while their purpose is very different.

This same pattern can be applied to church bodies or other corporate entities like clubs, governments or civil organizations. I mention churches, because ideologies are religious in many respects. In Islam, the primary doctrine is that there is no other God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. In Christianity, God provided the solution for our salvation by becoming human and paying the penalty for our transgressions against Him. For a "liberal" college, it may ostensibly be to provide the education that instructs students in the greatest achievements of mankind. (This is basic humanism.) In reality, it may be to indoctrinate students in basic socialism. In a "conservative" college, it may ostensibly be to provide a classical education. In reality, it may be to indoctrinate students in limited government. The focus of schools is always on achievement of some sort, but what is achieved is the focus of the primary doctrine. In a business school, is the primary doctrine to develop students into people who will make good business decisions or those who will make business a platform for social reformation?

In the science classroom, what should the sub-doctrine be? In pubic schools, the primary doctrine is increasingly established not by local school boards but by federal bureaucrats through a clause of deferential mandate motivated by funding and judicial action. An example may look like this: "Maple Grove Elementary School will provide the best education available," where "available" depends on federal money and the ability of the school to stay out of the courtroom. For this reason science departments often declare that other than "naturalistic" conclusions may not be investigated or taught. This is often an easy step to take given that people who have been educated in schools that profess naturalistic ideology lead the scientific establishment. The problem with naturalism is that what is defined as "natural" is not defined by anything other than what is "accepted" as natural by a group of people who do not wish to consider the truth value of some things. This is why some of the finer theories of the physical universe are regarded as anomalous by the rest of the scientific community and relegated to science fiction as a popular outlet. I offer time dilation and string theory as examples. When physical theorization becomes metaphysical, biologists tend to leave the lab. This is because people who are subjective in their thinking are more attracted to biological and anthropological sciences while people who like to find mathematical absolutes in the world gravitate toward physical sciences.

The application of physics is made by engineers, but biology is applied to medicine on one count and by philosophers on another. For this reason, biological conclusions are more interesting to the armchair philosophers than the dry minutia of physics. For most, physics is only as interesting as the gadgets engineers design or the contribution engineers make to biological conclusions (or the cool plot devices of sci-fi movies). This is why biology may assume a position of indefinite naturalism, but takes on an aura of scientific conclusiveness. For example, when biological archeologists dig up a bone, carbon dating can be applied. When the carbon dating doesn't give the scientist the result he or she wants (as is often the case), other factors such as geological strata are taken into consideration and the results of the carbon dating refined - sometimes way outside a reasonable margin of error. But the fact that they were carbon dated at all lends popular credibility to the results.

All the verbage to this point has been to demonstrate the fact that a system of doctrine is the same as a religiously held belief. People who believe in a supernatural being will debate the nature of their God. People who don't believe in a supernatural God per se will yet adhere to a principle that transcends all other beliefs. Whatever principle this is can be considered their "god". For humanists, this is mankind. For an existentialist, this would be himself. For the naturalist, this would be anything not resembling the typical worship of a supernatural being. For some whose god is truth, they often find their way into a supernatural or metaphysical understanding of the world. This has been the case of more that one devoted Christian whose erstwhile atheism gave way to the God of Truth.

In schools, there is no education without one god or another. To remove one god is to replace it with another. To remove all gods is to replace them with the god of godlessness. A school in Lebec, California, was sued recently for teaching religious alternatives to evolution. The article states that the school violated the separation between church and state. This much-touted "separation" doesn't exist in any legal document. The "freedom of religion" says nothing about separating religion from the government. It forbids the government from establishing religion and preventing the free practice of religion. The school was not in violation because the school itself is not the government. As it is, the exclusive teaching of evolution is the establishment of the religion of naturalism. Once we realize this, we'll be in a better position to negotiate the disparate religious/ideological conclusions - politically, scientifically and religiously - that ravage our society.

However, it will never happen in a fallen world.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh God .. so much fuss about god

Mon Jan 16, 10:27:00 PM GMT-5  

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