Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“A mathematician in the model of Jesus.” : Christian Education in a Nut Shell.

The following is from a website that answers parent’s questions about their children’s education.  This is the closing paragraph explaining the difference between parochial and public schools: 
The parochial school is giving your children a religious upbringing that cannot be duplicated at a once a week religion class. Furthermore, they are having the chance to be with a group with similar values and be part of a faith community.”

My translation:  “Your child will be indoctrinated into the preferred myth and non-think of the school's religious sect early - before they can form their own independent thoughts, concepts and perspectives. Furthermore, they will be insulated from ‘the others’ who have varied /differing perspectives and world views.”

And the parochial school authorities wouldn't deny it.  What they will do is put a spin on it.  They’ll talk about “... instilling a Christian morality and set of values that will provide a solid foundation for exemplary lives.”   
In other words: “... teaching the child that those who do not share their supernatural belief system are damned to eternal pain and suffering; are less than they; have questionable morals and ethics; and are to be viewed with suspicion.”

So what happens when that child enters the real world?  What are the chances they will have cultivated an understanding that  people whose religious beliefs are different, or who lack belief entirely, or who are gay, or whose parents are lesbians,  are as likely to be as  honest, loving, caring, generous, patriotic and posses every positive quality that they do?   
Not very good, in my opinion. 

In a recent article in my New Hampshire newspaper a Catholic middle school administrator said that while they use textbooks from a Christian publisher and teach creationism, they also teach evolutionary theory in their science class, because that’s what students will be taught in the NH high schools.   His justification for this disconnect between teaching religious dogma on the one hand and contradicting real science on the other was “You don’t want to say two plus two is four because Jesus said so.  That’s plastic.”    

The story goes on to describe a poster which exhorts children to become “mathematicians in the model of Christ.”  Somehow the administrator was able to justify this bizarre and totally baffling admonishment by saying [It] means thinking of Jesus first, others second, and yourself third...even when it comes to fractions and acute angles.’   No plasticity there, nor an iota of common sense.  

I live in NH where our school system is rated above the national average. Thus sending a child to a Christian school can only mean the parents want their child immersed in religious indoctrination, mental domination by religious zealots, and the institutionalized isolation/segregation that these schools promise. Academics and preparedness for the real world becomes a secondary consideration, hit or miss, as the teachers don’t even have to be accredited nor is the curriculum monitored by, or answerable to, a secular authority.   

Perhaps in those states where the public schools are so poor that they are ranked below average or among the worst in the nation (i.e. Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas)  concerned parents dedicated to their child’s intellectual advancement  may well be served by a parochial school curriculum, but then only if they couldn’t access a secular private school, or are not qualified or comfortable with home schooling their child.   

I’d just be sure to deprogram them daily to counter act the religious indoctrination and non-think that accompanied the day’s academics lest they become less like a mathematician in the model of Archimedes, and more like a mathematician in the model of Christ who wouldn’t have known a protractor from a talking donkey.


Chatpilot said...

As a kid I attended Catholic school for about a year. I got thrown out though because I had one hell of a temper and I threw a chair at a nun. I am of the opinion that religious instruction is a personal and private matter. I don't think that it is necessary in public schools.

If you want to brain wash your kids with religious indoctrination at an early age then knock yourself out. I don't care as long as it's being done in a school that is not funded by the state. This is one of the reasons I think they shouldn't be allowed to teach ID in public schools because it's not science it's religion.

Anonymous said...

"Your child will be indoctrinated into the preferred myth and non-think of the school's religious sect early - before they can form their own independent thoughts, concepts and perspectives."

That's it. Get 'em young.

Thankfully, Catholic schools are a dying breed.

David said...

One of my atheist relatives decided with his wife to send their children to a religious private school believing that they would receive a better education that way. Turns out that's all a load of bull. In the end they pulled their kids out and sent them to a state school because they spent most of their time praising Jesus, but at the end of the day couldn't add 2 and 2 together.

I am quite happy with the fact that I was educated in secular state schools. We learned real science, how to use condoms and the facts about reproduction, STDs and homosexuality, and I don't think we were once told that sex was only for when you got married. Imagine getting that education in a Catholic school.

hottr6 said...

Hi Hump,

I am an atheist and ardent follower of your column, as it provides me with new ways to refute arguments of those inflicted with the God Virus.

I was raised by the Jesuits... and I am grateful for their education. I became an atheist while in their care, and while I was openly critical of their belief system, they absolutely did not try to indoctrinate me. Indeed, their message during our debates was to "Keep an open mind, for one day I may experience an event that will challenge my world view".

Unbelievably, Jesuits are Men of Science, and through them, I studied and became a scientist and have researched for 35+ years.

The Jesuits I grew up with were articulate thinkers, and well understood the frailties of belief. Propagandists they were not. I consider them "Men for others".

Dromedary Hump said...

Thanks for that.

The Jesuits are also defending the recent Vatican attack on US nuns for their liberalism. They are certainly outside the mold of the more pedestrian form of Catholic education, and Catholic cultists.

perhaps your "Men for others" assessment is well applied.