Posted by Joseph Knippenberg
The WSJs Naomi Schaefer Riley writes sympathetically about Christian secondary schools.
Its a good article and a good contradiction to the prevailing view. On the other hand, I know from personal experience that many of the stereotypes can be true. Many of the parents at the Christian classical school where I taught last year said evolution can only be mentioned if it was said it was thoroughly wrong without discussion, Greek and Roman classics were actually called "pagan literature," logic was labeled "the Devils Advocate," teachers could only appeal to the Bible, not reason, and there was just a ton of anti-intellectualism. Although I wanted to go into the school with a real sense of "we all agree that there is objective truth and they are Christian truths, I am so jaded and left thinking, these people are absolutely nutso just like the stereotype said. I think George Marsden, et al., are correct, but only up to a point.
I have taught in two very different Christian schools. There was something of what you speak of in each. I have been trying to think, for days, how to respond to your comment. My best response to the anti-intellectualism I met was to ask those parents if they wanted their children to go on to college. Most of them did. I would ask what they expected their children to find there. They knew what they would find. Then I suggested that their children needed to know how to counter those things, and that knowing the Bible just would not be enough. If they did not know logic, both sides of issues like evolution and could not reason or did not understand secular reason, they would be labeled "Christian" and would be mocked and their ideas ignored. Those parents had just not thought the issue through.
But Greek and Roman literature IS pagan, in Christian terms. I still insisted it be taught and that there was truth in it. To parental fears, I would ask if they knew anyone or had heard of anyone who had converted to belief in the Greek gods through the reading of those classics. Happily, they had not.
However, also happily, none of my students had any trouble getting into the colleges of their choice. Maybe it is only those students who are doing well who want to keep in touch, but that is a goodly number.
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