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
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.” New Hampshire
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.