God In Education

It has been said, “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will show you the man.” Of all the various implications such a statement has, the role of education in the life of children, from a young age, is significant. The role of educating youth is recognized as important, both for the children, but also for the future of society as a whole. How should they be taught, and what should be the emphasis given to what they are led to believe? Education can range from a benign desire to help a child be well-rounded and whole, to make the most of themselves with the lives they have to live, or to indoctrinate into a specific way to think and live, to the exclusion of other philosophies or belief systems.

Many may be familiar with the name John Dewey (1859-1952), an American philosopher who believed that schools were a vehicle through which society could be reconstructed to a more “progressive” view of life. Dewey was more concerned with using the education process to promote social changes than in teaching math, the arts, science, history, or such. He was one of the signers of the Human Manifesto I, a document that advocated the spreading of secular humanist values.

That Dewey’s influence has been great in how schools view their role in society, and to the youth of America they are to educate, can be seen in statements made by secular humanists. At one website, secular-humanism, one can read such statements as, “What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour, once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?” (Charles F. Potter, “Humanism: A New Religion,” 1930). John J. Dunphy is also quoted: “The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism” (The Humanist, 1983). The website also states one of the greatest tools to accomplish this goal has been the promulgation of evolution, which attacks both morality and faith in God.

That some have an agenda in what to accomplish through the educational process is clear. But what is the result of banishing God from the classroom, and ultimately public life? Where are the benefits one can claim have made society better, safer, more enlightened than before? Being created in the image of God implies that God must be a part of our consciousness and lifestyle to be whole and sound, both individually and for society collectively. Do we not see what Paul said was characteristic of a world without the knowledge of God? “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sexuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4.17-19). Taking God out of the equation leaves finite humanity to try and discern what life is all about, which humanity on its own is incapable of doing. Paul reminded the Corinthians, “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2.14-16).

The results of excluding God from our public life can be seen in the epidemic of school shootings, of children killing children, a stark reminder of what happens when we are left to our own devices. A knowledge of God and his will is essential for one to have the complete picture of life and make the best use of what God has blessed us with. May we recognize the value of including God in the educational process, at school, society in general, and especially at home, for the quality of life it blesses us with. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1.7).