In the previous article, we looked at the first two myths about neutrality in education:
- Myth #1: Neutrality is possible.
- Myth #2: Neutrality is acceptable.
Let’s move on now to the third of the Neutrality Myths.
Myth #3: Neutrality Is About Facts; Worldview Is About Spin
This myth may not be as pervasive as the first two, but I wonder if it may affect some Christian parents. It’s the wrong idea that neutrality is all about facts and that anyone who brings a worldview to the discussion is going to skew or spin the truth.
Yes, it’s true that some worldviews distort, ignore, or manufacture their own “facts.” In truth, all worldviews except Christianity are guilty of getting some facts wrong. But we must never forget that the Christian worldview is, in reality, true. It is not neutral, but it is true. This is a key distinction and one we must understand. Presenting our children with a distinctively Christian education is not a disservice to them, as if they won’t understand the real world if they are taught according to the Bible. Indeed, only Christians can properly understand the world, because Christianity—the biblical worldview—is all about reality.
Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey point out in their book How Now Shall We Live? that every worldview follows a three-part grid: Creation (how did we get here?), Fall (what is the problem with the world?), and Redemption (what is the solution to mankind’s problems?). Only Christianity offers the correct answers to these questions and thus gives us an accurate view of the world around us.
The greatest truths in the world are that God exists, He has spoken, and He has sent His Son in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem a lost world marred by sin. This is true reality, and God intends that these truths shape everything about our lives. For the Christian, neutrality must retreat in the face of this truth.
God is the Author of all truth. Thus, an education centered on a correct understanding of God and His Word will never be neutral, but it will be factual, truthful, and an accurate representation of the world as it really is.
This brings us full circle to my opening point in Part 1 that we often overlook the significance of education in the lives of our children. Neutrality tells us the ultimate meaning of nothing and tries to keep us from taking sides, even if truth demands it. We would never think of joining a neutral church nor of being a neutral family. So why is it that we believe neutrality in education is no big deal? Why do we take such a large slice of our children’s lives and say it doesn’t really matter what the content is or how it is presented? We have lost sight of what education is meant to be.
A True Education
Biblically speaking, education is not meant to be a purely intellectual transfer of facts from one mind to another. God is certainly not anti-intellectual; He does, after all, command us to love Him with our minds as well as our hearts. But to reduce education to a completely intellectual pursuit is to make it something God never intended it to be.
Let’s go back to the study of history as an example. In Psalm 78:4–8 we read:
We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: and might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
We see here an overtly spiritual purpose to the typically intellectual (and secular) study of history. In God’s model, the study of history involves the mind and the heart. As knowledge of their past was gained, the goal was for children to learn of God and follow Him. The heart and mind were both engaged.
Israel Wayne points out in his book Full-Time Parenting that, biblically speaking, education is discipleship. In other words, education is meant to be something more than the mere transfer of information. As planned by God, it is meant to be transformational, impacting the complete person, both mind and heart.
If this is true, then we have a clear mandate to center education on God and His truth. Even academic subjects should be taught within a biblical framework. This means that attempted neutrality, rather than being desirable or acceptable, should be banished. God calls us to something far higher.
Moving Boldly Forward
If we are to raise up a generation that is everything God desires it to be, we must reject convictionless education. We must reject the idea that our public schools are neutral and that neutrality would be acceptable even if it were possible. We must embrace the biblical concept of education, which is to shape and mold our children’s hearts as well as their minds. And we must stand boldly on the Word of God, centering our educational efforts on God’s eternal truth. We must teach our children in the fear of the Lord, for it is this—and not a hollow mask of neutrality—that is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge.
A Night With Rev. Franklin Graham!
At this year’s annual IFI banquet, our keynote speaker will be none other than Rev. Franklin Graham, President & CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Christian evangelist & missionary. This year’s event will be at the Tinley Park Convention Center on Nov. 1st. You don’t want to miss this special evening!