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Education and atheistic propoganda…

This is in response to this article here, which discusses teachers’ opposition to sending out promotional material for an atheistic camp that was given to them- presumably without school endorsement- to distribute to students.

I will pass over the unspoken irony and more obvious and tired objection that if it had been a Christian camp or activity the ACLU would have been all blood and fangs.  That almost goes without saying.  But my general disgust with the thin skinned and easily offended atheist ‘minority’ dictating to the majority can be expressed against the Christian teachers in this story- provided that the school district also distributed Christian materials.  Doubtful, I know. 

I understand the problem of the conscience involved for these teachers and even the overly-sensitive ‘free-thinker,’ desperately and bravely seeking society’s approval for his position.  One does not like to further causes they don’t merely not support but positively rejects.  But it’s a school for goodness sake, and by most estimates, in the abstract, schools are supposed to be about learning new things and being exposed to new ideas- all, I suppose, in the context of excercising critical thinking skills. 

But that is not really what are schools are, anymore.  School districts have agendas, that is true, but they also don’t want to deal with lawsuits over every little thing that someone might get offended over.  As a consequence, the general pattern is that schools are taking more and more topics off the table for discussion because of fear that this or that point of view will offend someone.   Again, I acknowledge the fact that there is a heavy handed secular humanistic agenda at work, but I think we underestimate the inclination for self-defense, too.

From my point of view, if Christianity can be propogated only by eliminating the discussion of all the other alternatives then that makes Christianity a weak belief system.  I would think that atheists and others would feel the same about their own point of views, efforts of groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the ACLU to accomplish just that not withstanding.  But we have cultivating a culture where it is dangerous to discuss such issues in the schools, the very place that one would think such discussion would be encouraged.

I know of Christians who have argued that they don’t want Christianity taught in the schools out of fear of the competency of those who would teach on it.  The fear is not invalid, but the solution is actually not suppression, but inflammation.  This goes for non-Christian points of views just as much (yes, yes I know.  I don’t need to be reminded how the secular humanists and free-thinkers definitively want their viewpoints propogated and the rest suppressed since the others are ‘religious’ and theirs, we are led to believe, is not).    It is the open discussion that will increase the general competency of individuals, including teachers, to more accurately discuss various viewpoints and ideas.

A teacher that deliberately or innocently misrepresents Christianity would be exposable.  I don’t mean that in a bad sense.  Since a large majority of the other teachers would be better informed they could help correct caricatures and misrepresentations, and if a person persisted in stating these, the correct view being put on the table, with evidences and argument, students would be able to make up their own minds.   That is the point, isn’t it?  When students saw a teacher acting in defiance of the plain evidence, they would be able to judge for themselves whether these misrepresentations were deliberate or innocent.  I presume that atheists, buddhists, etc, would appreciate the same sort of open market corrections and incentives to accurately expressing their points of view.

We are so far away from this level of discourse that I fear what is needed is a major overhaul of the whole educational system.  It is not possible to teach anything free completely from ideology.  If each ideology is not going to be allowed to put forward its strongest arguments but you cannot completely remove the ideologic ‘taint,’ then we need to structure our system so that only the bare amount of information and skills are addressed in our educational systems. 

Reading, yes, literature, no.  Historical facts, yes, interpretations of those facts, no.  Give students the raw foundation and then get them out of the system altogether so that they can get on with ‘making up their own minds.’  I expect that such an overhaul would amount to ending our public schooling at around 8th or 9th grades, but that is not so bad.  Any later than that and you necessarily get into higher level issues where ideological slanting and sorting is inevitably more overt.  So get them out and then the ones that want to continue in their education can do so out of their own free will and consent and free from the lawsuit happy constraints of our litigation society.

Well, it’s an idea, anyway.


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