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Is “Christian Education” an Oxymoron?5 min read

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appleWhile some may be quick to dismiss such a concept as anti-intellectual or narrow, I think that only a poor implementation of a Christian interpretation of knowledge will end up in a religious, anti-reason, post-hoc reasoning.

I suppose there are two possible errors that anyone designing a curriculum can make – that of pretending they don’t have a narrative structure into which they fit the data of history, science, math, the arts, and other fields of knowledge, or narrowly applying a narrative structure so that facts are warped to fit the chosen theology.

Unaware of One’s Narrative

In this case, many secularists or anti-religionists are unaware of their narrative framework, having little understanding how their adoption of such concepts as anti-religionism, Darwinism, secularism, or scientism infect their presentation of information, if not their teaching methods themselves.

For example, many modern historians have adopted the term ‘Dark Ages’ for the post-medieval period, assuming that the narrative of the corrupt Catholic Church stultifying learning and progress resulted in centuries of scientific and intellectual stagnation is true. Of course, these more aptly named “Middle Ages” may actually have been times of great progress, but assuming the negative narrative has actually stunted our exploration and understanding of the period.1 [ref]There was nothing dark about the Dark Ages: The Medieval Origins of Science (}}

Similar accusations can be made regarding the adoption of Darwinism. It can be argued that, while providing a believable naturalistic solution for the problem of the origins of life, assuming it has stunted science with such concepts as junk DNA, vestigial organs, and assumed common ancestry where there was none (now being revealed by genetics). And this is to say nothing of Darwinism’s historical contributions to eugenics and Nazism. 2 3 4 5

A third example – cosmology (origins research) in secular science always assumed that the universe had existed infinitely in the past – not because of evidence, but because of the understanding that to suppose a first cause meant that their must be an uncaused cause, that is, a God at the start. When Hubble first got real data showing that space and time probably did have a beginning, Einstein (his contemporary) was very resistant, knowing the implications of a finite beginning. Einstein tried for years to find a mathematical way to prove that the Universe had to be eternally existent, but later gave in to the evidence, concluding that he had wasted a lot of time resisting this idea. 6 7 [ref]“Einstein’s Greatest Blunder” was REALLY a blunder! ( }} 8

All that is to say that when someone scoffs at the idea of a Christian approach to education in any field (even math and science), we must be aware that everyone employs a narrative that can hinder real knowledge if they are not careful. Then that begs the question, or course, what perspectives to best for confirming what we do know, revising what we know, and understanding new phenomenon?

Overly Narrow Narratives

Simply employing a “Biblical” narrative is not by definition a good one – that is, unless

  1. our understanding of the Biblical narrative is sound
  2. the Biblical narrative has been proven accurate over time and has earned respect, and
  3. we don’t overemphasize our current understanding in interpreting new or conflicting data (deduction) – we must allow for induction based on new evidence to modify our model.

For example, if we are overly committed to our idea of the corruption of natural reason, we may disavow such soft sciences as psychology or counseling, or fail to develop philosophical reasoning to support our positions. We may even fail to appreciate the value and use of reason in faith.

The Bible Narrative as Trustworthy

After the last few centuries of scientific and historical/archaeological research, many (including myself) have found that the Bible’s narrative is trustworthy – not least of which is the Bible’s claim that time and space had a beginning, now fairly well confirmed by science.

So when we develop Christian education in a way that presents the world within the Biblical framework, if we are not overly narrow in our doctrine and open to deductive reasoning, we may find that a ‘Christian’ approach to most, if not all subjects is very fruitful and will lead to understanding things as they are.

  1. Top 10 Reasons The Dark Ages Were Not Dark (Listverse)[]
  2. Darwinism Impeding Science ([]
  3. Darwinism’s History of Racism ([]
  4. Evolution and Social Darwinism in Civil War Reconstruction ([]
  5. Examining the historical and logical links between Darwin and eugenics ([]
  6. Cosmological constant (wikipedia)[]
  7. Vacuum Energy Density, or How Can Nothing Weigh Something? ( []
  8. Einstein Likely Never Said One of His Most Oft-Quoted Phrases (atlantic)[]