Religious Education: Another Secular Jihad
The uproar over religious education in schools is reaching fever pitch, with all the usual suspects (the ABC, the Age, etc.) going ballistic as they whip up hysteria about this matter. Indeed, it is just like the witch hunts of old, with all kinds of panic mongering and gloom and doom-ism.
The old chestnut about church and state separation is of course being thrown around here, with all the usual muddled thinking surrounding it. As if schools and education can ever be completely neutral and value-free. Such a condition does not exist. All knowledge, all education, and all learning is impacted by one’s worldview, by one’s values, and by one’s belief systems.
And it so happens today that the number one belief system being promulgated in our schools today is secular humanism. Indeed, it is the default position, and it is being force-fed to our children every single day of their lives. This in fact is the religion of modern education.
A religion did you say? You heard me right bub. Not only did the US Supreme Court declare secular humanism to be a religion, but plenty of the early secular humanists quite proudly proclaimed the religious nature of their belief system.
Only later, when they realised that they too could get booted out of schools because of the bogus “separation of church and state” nonsense, did they stop admitting to their religious basis. I have written before about this, offering a number of quotes along the way: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2007/05/22/secular-religion/
This is such an important issue that one American expert, David Noebel, has written an entire book documenting all this. Entitled Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism (3rd ed., Summit Books, 2007), this revealing volume offers 63 different pieces of information to verify this thesis.
Let me cite just one of his pieces of evidence. Back in 1983 John Dunphy wrote an article for The Humanist, entitled “A New Religion for a New Age.” The title already gives the game away, but he went on to say this:
“…the battle for mankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity. . . . These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing the classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level – preschool, day care center or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new – the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”
This is as good an admission as any of the reigning religion in our schools. No wonder the secular humanists are doing all they can to banish every last trace of Christianity in the education realm. They know it is a competing worldview, and one which directly challenges their own premises.
And of course besides this obvious point about there being no such thing as neutrality in the classroom, these secular jihadists are simply making a mountain out of a molehill here. There is no one holding a gun to the heads of the students, forcing them to take a CRE class, or visit a school chaplain.
Any concerned parent can simply say that they do not want their children taking part, and that is the end of the matter. But according to the secular witch hunters, this is the worst thing which can possibly be occurring in our schools. However, as Nicholas Tuohy has rightly noted, this is far from the case:
“Are there not more pressing needs to protect our children from? A recent conference in Melbourne was held concerning the increasingly disturbing sexual portrayal of children in the media. In relation to the findings of a 2010 survey by the Advertising Standards Bureau, Melinda Tankard Reist said ‘the proliferation of ads sexualising children showed self-regulation was failing.’ What about the increasingly violent video games and movies that children are regularly exposed to, not to mention hard-core pornography that is now only a click away? Then there is the epidemic of childhood obesity. With significant challenges and threats like these, it defies imagination that The Age and the crusading humanists take up arms against ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘Blessed are the poor’.
He continues, “I think Australians are largely fearful of religion. That’s why no one talks about it and media campaigns like The Age are always trying to sideline religion or make it out to be some sinister and suspicious practice we need to protect our children from. Like it or not, our very education system comes out of the Christian heritage of Western nations. Great learning institutions like Oxford were started by very Christian people. It is absurd to say that Christian faith is some threat to kids. Even the most vituperative critics of Christianity, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, have recently expressed praise for the role the King James Bible had on literature and Western culture.”
And spare us the furphy about proselytising: “Everyone does it. Football teams, soft drink companies, fast food joints, and newspapers. That is, If we believe we have a ‘product’ that is worthwhile we will want to share it and promote it. The gaming and alcohol industries spend hundreds of millions a year to get people to buy their products, and everyone is fine with this? Get a few well-meaning and good Christian people telling kids that God loves them, to do unto others as you would have them do to you, telling the story of the Good Samaritan and The Age sees fit to launch a witch-hunt against Christians? I know first-hand that CRE and chaplaincy goes to great lengths to offer no-strings services and does not attempt to ‘convert’ children.”
The truth is, this is just another secularist beat-up, aided and abetted by a leftwing secular media. They are just as much fightin’ fundies as any Christians can be. And it is clear that they are not at all averse from going on their own witch hunts and conducting their own secular Inquisitions.
The secular jihadists are clearly alive and well.
40 Replies to “Religious Education: Another Secular Jihad”
Thanks for your insight Bill. Would you mind giving two or three examples of the religious tenents of secular humanism, some Christian analogues and some examples how our children could be taught without pushing any religion, leaving religion education up to the parents?
The differences are clear enough.
-Secular humanism of course denies God, the metaphysical and the supernatural, while biblical Christianity affirms all three.
-SH says man is the measure of all things, the fount of all knowledge, and is able to save himself. BC says God is central, we need his divine wisdom, and without him we are fallen, lost, and unable to redeem ourselves.
-SH says human reason alone will lead us to a positive outcome and a glorious future, while BC says we need divine revelation to point us in the right direction, and our human reasoning by itself is fallen and fractured.
-SH sees science as saviour, and believes things will get better and better. BC sees Christ as saviour, and science, like all other human knowledge, is finite, fallen and fallible. It also is rather pessimistic about autonomous man, knowing that without outside help, mankind is heading in the wrong direction.
I would think the current voluntary system is fine. Kids can, if they like, get exposed to some central tenets of Christianity, learn a bit about the most important work of literature ever produced (the Bible), and be exposed to a view that they may not have encountered before if they grow up in a secular and/or non-religious home.
Given that Australia, like the West, is the product of the Judeo-Christian worldview, to be ignorant of it is to be under-educated, even mis-educated.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
I sent the following letter to the Age last week:
Yes, how awful to want to spread the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to children. How simply backward to uphold easily the most civilising and moral ideology that has ever existed on the planet and contributed in major ways to the freedoms we enjoy in Australia today.
And – oh my! – how terrible that a report was given of how 2 sisters how loved the program. How glad we are that the government can help instil some healthy atheistic bigotry into these lost children instead!
God-haters seem to forget that Christians get taxed too and many find the spreading of secular worldviews with their hard-earned equally – if not more – repugnant. Especially when Australia has a history replete with influential Christians that fundamentally shaped this nation and if still alive today would be deeply shocked at how we have lost our way.
We ignore the most important part of our heritage to our peril. Education in this country should not be hijacked by those who oppose the truthful telling of history.
Surprise! It didn’t get published but ones from people with weak arguments did. Honestly, I hardly ever go this rag anymore, I gave up at their ludicrous bias on ClimateGate/Copenhagen back in November/December 2009. What they push simply isn’t news, it’s moonbattery.
Christians should remember that they have the greatest message on the planet and stand up for it. Last weekend I celebrated a friend’s 21st – the 3rd child of a strong Christian family and one of my favourite people on the planet. I was privileged with watching and compiling dozens of hours of video footage from his life from 3 weeks old to just recently. His faith in God shone through from an early age, and he is deeply respected by his friends and family. His achievements are already legion and he is as enthusiastic and talented a person you could ever hope to meet. Funny how I routinely see the same patterns in many other children of Christian parents and then also get sad when I see the selfish patterns of those kids growing up without God. The idea that Christianity is bad for kids is an evil lie. Secular humanists need to tell us all of how their version of proselytising kids is so much better – that’d be good for a laugh if the results weren’t actually so tragic.
I am not surprised that your letter did not make it in. It was far too sensible, factual, reasonable, logical, and common sense-ical. The Age does not really trade in those categories.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Thanks for your comments. They were refreshing to read, and a good counter argument to those who spout that they would want to see all belief in God banned on the grounds that it just teaches people to hate.
Can someone please remind me again — why does my tax money pay for ABC?
Yes when I wrote about the ABC, I was going to say, “our” ABC – as it is often referred to. It is certainly mine because I am forced to subsidise it with my tax dollars, but it certainly is not mine in that it tends to push all the wrong agendas, primarily that of the secular left. It certainly is not representing me in any way, even though I have to dish out my hard-earned money to keep it afloat.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Clearly there is an organised campaign to drive every semblance of Christianity out of schools in Victoria, insinuating that CRE and chaplaincy are somehow poisoning our children. If this succeeds, within a few years the best, most enthusiastic kids will leave the state schools (already happening), violence and drugs will increase and people will cry out “the government must do something!” Armed guards will be needed, as is already starting. We’ve seen it all in the USA: as soon as prayer in schools was banned, the US school system began its inexorable decline.
Yes they think they will usher in utopia once they have banished every trace of Christianity in our schools. They will get utopia alright: the same coercive utopia that millions died under in atheistic Communist regimes.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Bill is right. It’s a secular Jihad. This is not the atheists being wronged because they are having religion pushed upon them. No! This is the atheists/God-haters wanting to push their atheism down the throats of everyone.
Religious education in government schools is optional. Optional means they do not have to send their kids to RE classes. (Unlike evolution which is compulsory and forced on everyone whether they want it or not.) What is it about these people that they can’t bear other parents teaching their children about God? The parents whose children are being taught RE want their kids taught RE. They think it’s a good thing. These God haters are trying to deny that right.
Who do they think they are? Why do they think they have the right to force their beliefs on the parents who want it?
For decades secularist have been using homosexuals to work like acid in society, slowly breaking down the bonds that keep it together. But it could well be that they have done their job and are ready now hand it over to another section of society who have been led to believe that they also are victims of oppressive authority – especially that of parents and teachers. As with China’s cultural revolution, where children turned their parents over to the authorities to be imprisoned, beaten and even killed, children in the west are being radicalised on an industrial scale by gay activists. We must wait and see for the first set of parents to be exposed in this way.
As for secularism being a religion this article might be of some interest.
David Skinner, UK
Quite true Bill. Couldn’t agree more. I’m putting together an article for my own site. And a letter to the relevant state minister is in order, me thinks.
It still staggers me that so many Christians who are concerned about these things still keep their kids in government schools. I know it is tough to find alternatives (believe me I know) but we are not called as Christians to a life of ease and moral anesthesia there are other ways – this is how many of the once great (now secular) universities were founded. Our Christian children are part of the ongoing work of the Great Commission and ought to be discipled as Christians in their formative years not as pagans and atheists. Why do those who oppose our worldview understand and take this seriously when we do not? The mind boggles. Wise as serpents we are not.
This is a well-worn leftist/secular trick; call it ‘neutral’ and ‘value free’ but all the policy positions come out leftist. This found its most comprehensive and articulate expression under John Rawls, thoroughly demolished by Robert George in “God’s Reasons: The Role of Religious Authority in Debates on Public Policy”,
People whose hearts, minds and souls are disconnected from God are empty husks and one day they will find this out.
See also this post from the inimitable Ed Feser;
“The BBC brings news of the latest illustration of the fraudulence of liberal “neutrality,” as a Christian couple is denied the right to become foster parents because of their disapproval of homosexual behavior – all in the name of “non-discrimination,” naturally. As BBC News religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott sums up the court’s decision, “the court discriminated between kinds of Christianity, saying that Christians in general might well make good foster parents, while people with traditionalist Christian views like Mr and Mrs Johns might well not” (emphasis mine). And there you have it. Liberals never try to impose their views on you – as long as you agree to be a liberal too. All views are equal, but some are more equal than others. Four legs good, two legs better.”
I also like this quote from a review Ed did of Amy Gutmann’s book,
“Modern liberalism has a paradoxical tendency to promote both excessive individualism in the realm of private behavior and a stifling conformity of thought and action in the public sphere.”
Not to mention a redistribution of wealth in order for everyone to pursue their version of the good life!
The real problem here is the fact that the state has commandeered education through the public school system. As Christians, we’ve given far too much ground, and are making a serious error if we send our children to be indoctrinated there (and the article rightly points out that they will be).
Biblically speaking, there is no role for the state in education – it is the responsibility of the family. The state education system should not properly exist.
The Church wonders why our young people are exiting the faith en masse, a big part of the problem would be that they are immersed in a godless education day after day, week after week. I’ve seen many leave the faith due to the constant all-sides battering that they receive in the state schools.
As someone who went through public education, I can say that it is only by the grace of God that I remain in the faith – because my education and going through that system did much damage in my development which I need to deal with to this day.
Christians, get your kids out of these schools – homeschool, Christian schools (although many of these are humanistic schools with a Christian badge unfortunately) – take ahold of your God given responsibilities in this area. Even if you abdicate by default, you will still be held to account for the decision.
It seems a monumental and difficult task, but there are alternatives that honour God, even if we have to work hard to take them and perhaps develop them given how far behind we are at the moment.
The cost is too high. The state realises the value of the next generation, it’s time the Church woke up as well.
May God bless you,
Isaac Overton, ACT
Well said Phil Twiss!
Isaac Overton, ACT
That quote is spot on. When I was attending Humanist meetings in the seventies there was a quite explicit effort by the leadership to get their ideas on Humanist morality taught in State schools. I recall one official saying he had managed an interview with a bureaucrat in the Education Department. What became of that effort I do not know but I doubt if he was taken seriously because he had no qualifications and in fact was an ill-educated man earning a living selling newspapers, tobacco and girlie magazines in a small stall in the city centre. Years later in a gesture of Humanist grandiosity he was named Humanist of the Year, a worthless honour. In those days gay activists were starting to turn up at Humanist meetings and were warmly welcomed. Most instructively, their beliefs were not subjected to the same critical scrutiny as was directed at religious guests. So much for Humanist claims to be critical thinkers and devotees of Reason.
During the nineties I attended a Skeptics dinner where a Humanist guest, also an officer in her Humanist Society, was quite explicit about getting the Humanist foot in the door of State education. I remember that meeting particularly well because I nearly fell off my chair laughing when the same lady announced that “we Humanists should be proud of our critical thinking skills”! For those not familiar with Humanists, they like to be seen at the cutting edge of “moral progress” (their expression, not mine). For example, when Dolly the sheep was cloned American Humanists quickly formed a committee to decide if it was ok to clone human beings. I think the answers was a hasty “yes” but my memory is not clear on that one. Similarly in Australia they quickly got on the homosexual marriage bandwagon. As far as I know the issue was not debated in the various societies in accordance with the Humanist principles of democratic debate, free inquiry and scientific objectivity. The decision to endorse homosexual marriage seems to have been made by a ruling clique by their own dubious lights.
Humanist ethics tends to focus on specific issues such as abortion and euthanasia. Unlike religion It has little to say about virtue and vice, and the cultivation of moral character. But they do get into the ethics of belief, which I regard as pointless because they wouldn’t practise it anyway. Usually Humanists describe their ethics as “based on reason” but that is question-begging and self-congratulatory. Also they claim to be “scientific” but their concept of reason or rationality is not scientifically based.
Aside from the religious aspects of Chaplains, they are a necessity in schools. The are an adult, non-educator that students can confide issues to, knowing they will help! The Chaplain is the school “Buddy”, like having an adopt-a-cop program in the school.
Well said, Mark. You won’t be offended if I still get the Age on Thursdays, for the Green Guide, will you?
2 Peter 3 Verses 3 to 5 says it all in my eyes. However that aside, the hypocrisy of these people astounds me, these people have benefited from the Judeo Christian way of life and I am willing to bet that they have all the religious holidays off and enjoy the freedoms that our Biblically based Constitution provides so as far as I am concerned these people are far worse than any Christian they want to accuse.
Well said Mark, well said Isaac, we are home schooling our children, as difficult a task it may be on certain days and despite the disapproval of well meaning friends and family, it is worth it. Our children are being fed a steady diet of ‘truth’, we live in a world created by God and if anyone tries to tell you otherwise ask them to prove evolution. The case for creation gets stronger as ‘science’ through its own discoveries, disproves evolution. We need to stand up for what we believe before it is all taken away. We (Christians) seem all to happy to just ‘let things happen’.
I fear that we are fearful of ‘offending’ because we are Christians and we don’t want to be seen as aggressive or causing a stir, Jesus wasn’t fearful of offending for a righteous cause. Unless we take a stand and say enough is enough, what kind of society will our children be living in one decade from now? If they remove CRE and chaplaincy from the classrooms, God help our children, they will be at the mercy of the SHs and others determined to push their own agendas whether that be the acceptance of homosexuality as a ‘normal’ lifestyle or the right to kill the unborn.
I know of a chaplain who attends a state school and she reports having many children approach her not to talk about religion, unless asked to, but to have someone listen to them in a non judgmental way. It is also worth noting that a lot of awareness programs designed to help have been developed by the religious, in this instance ‘Christian’. Focus on the Family (a christian organization) have introduced two excellent programs (that I know of, there may be more) for educating adults and teens on what could be termed the hazards of modern society.
Hypocrisy of the secular aside, as Bill said, we should all be extremely concerned with what is going on today.
Given that the Chaplain of Melbourne Grammar School, has basically come out making the *exact* same points that the so-called ‘secular humanists’ are making, seems to dilute your point quite a bit. Is he also on a ‘Secular Jihad’?
See the ‘From The Chaplain’ section.
Hey Chris, our long lost atheist buddy. Long time no hear from! Welcome back.
Let’s say I were to quote an atheist to refute some of your position; you will likely scream bloody murder, stating that of course not everyone claiming to be an atheist really represents your atheistic position. Yet here you are quite happy to do this very thing to Christians, thinking you have landed some knockout blow in the debate. How much credibility should anyone give your comment? I don’t really think my point has been weakened here at all.
The truth is of course that you can find a Christian somewhere to say anything you want. You will find some Christians pushing heroin injecting rooms, homosexuality, or abortion. Why, we even have some “Christians” who don’t believe in the deity of Christ.
So to answer your question, if a Christian abandons biblical Christianity for the latest trendy secular agenda, then yes, they might as well be engaged in a secular jihad. Just as Lenin had plenty of useful idiots in the West to push his Communist agenda, unfortunately there are plenty of useful idiots in the churches to push the secularist agenda.
So I am afraid you will have to try harder to score some debating points here. But nice to see that you are still alive!
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Would you mind outlining which of the points Ron Noone makes in that document that you disagree with?
Thanks again Chris
But my article and comments should be sufficient to show up our differences, so I don’t really want to waste my time on this guy and his remarks, which I had not even heard of until you pointed them out. They are a dime a dozen and I am not going to worry about them.
But very briefly, he gets off on the wrong foot theologically when he complains about their “simplistic view of God”. Spare me…
However the real issue is simply this: we are not talking about lectures in hard core theology, philosophy of religion, or anything else here, like this guy snobbishly and foolishly suggests. We are talking about mainly housewives coming in for a few minutes a week at a school’s request to tell quite little children just a bit about the Bible, our Christian heritage, and so on.
All that is perfectly reasonable, given our modern nation would not even exist if it were not for the Judeo-Christian worldview which is its foundation, as it is of Western civilisation in general. And given that the majority of Australians still claim to be Christians – and not secularists such as yourself – it is fully legitimate to offer such services. Those who don’t like it can readily opt out.
But I am repeating what I have already said, so that will suffice.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Atheists are generally much more intelligent than religionists.
Atheists are generally much more arrogant than religionists.
They also tend to contribute absolutely nothing of value to a debate such as this.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Attention to Bill Pertwee and Chris Mayer.
Congratulations!! I’m sure you’ll be absolutely ecstatic upon hearing that you have just made my prayer list!!
Benefits include being constantly harassed by the Holy Spirit into looking into and accepting truth, having your name written in special red ink and to top it all off, I’ve even drawn little stars next to YOUR names, just to make you feel extra special 🙂
Mario Del Giudice
Well said Bill (M), Bill’s (Pertwee) comment demonstrated the ridiculous of his assertion at the same time as it attempted to assert it!
A word of advice Bill (P), if you are going to claim superior intelligence, at least say something intelligent (i.e. actually engage with the discussion at hand).
Isaac Overton, ACT
“Atheists are generally much more intelligent than religionists” – Bill Pertwee (b?- d?)
May I also put forward a propositional statement? Generally, atheists, unlike weak Christians who need God as a crutch, are able to face stark reality head on. They have given up any immature idea of being able to appeal for help from the “the Old Man up there,“ and are proud to go it alone. But just supposing, for arguments sake, that when they die, they discover, that there is, after all, a God, who reveals their every thought, word and deed and requires from them an accounting. Is it likely they will say, “What a relief, God exists after all?” Hardly; it is more than likely that they will be filled with rage and terror.
Here is a list of immature and stupid Christians. And this only mentions scientists and mathematicians. It does not even touch politicians, philosophers, writers, composers, artists, military men – even Napoleon – in fact people from all walks of life, who have put their trust in Jesus Christ. Neither does it mention deists, like Einstein who believed in some supreme intelligence.
According to the link below, atheists make up a tiny percentage of the world’s population, being concentrated mainly in Western European countries. And it is precisely those, like Britain that are in economic, social and spiritual meltdown. How intelligent is that?
David Skinner, UK
Bill, don’t let Mr Pertwee wind you up. He’s looking for trouble.
Keep spreading the good word.
As Bill said in a comment above, “They will get utopia alright: the same coercive utopia that millions died under in atheistic Communist regimes.”
There’s also a coming utopia with no vestiges or influence of Christianity. It’s called the lake of fire.
I’d like to add voice to those denouncing Bill Pertwee for his crass assertion. David Skinner is correct to mention Napoleon, as that is precisely how Mr Pertwee is acting.
Without Christ in our lives and in our societies we are all doomed.
Does Mr Pertwee wish to doom the rest of us as he, unless he mends his ways, is doomed?
I generally agree with you Bill. Stay sophisticated in your presentation of material would be my only advice.
I do not actually disagree with some who promote private education over state.
I actually think my kids in the state system have to be far stronger in their faith than those in a Christian school, plus it allows my family to connect with those we are called to love into the kingdom. Faith is made stronger when it is exercised – not just by being protected and supposedly fed more.
Xians in the state system strengthen the local church as they don’t rely on a school as a primary faith community (which only lasts a few years). They have extra money to spend on the kingdom (we certainly do) instead of school fees. Kids in the state system learn how to interact with and love people of differing world views – God knows we need more people like that to do the work of sharing the gospel. Parents of kids in the state system don’t have to work as many hrs to pay for fees, and so can volunteer more for Jesus- my family do. They get to spend more time together as a family.
The list of good reasons for Xians putting their kids in the state system is very long. It might mean looking outside our own little worlds, and living what we say we believe – reaching the lost for Jesus instead of huddling together in Xian ghettos – but it is so important.
Taking the Xians families and teachers from the state system has abandoned 70% of our community to much less personal contact with the people of God. As Xians we are partly to blame for the current rise in anti-theism in state schools.
I know this is not a popular Xian opinion, but i urge people to consider it’s value.
I have written about these matters before, eg., https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/01/05/homeschooling-and-state-education/
The short answer is this: students (and their parents) must prayerfully and carefully seek God as to what is the best option for them. For some it will be state schooling; for some it will be Christians (private) schooling; and for some it will be homeschooling. Finding out and doing what God wants done in a particular situation is crucial here.
And there are good Christian arguments (and counterarguments) which can be made for all three options.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Thanks for your reply. And quickly!
I agree with you, but wanted to put the other side to a couple of posters above. Everyone must make their own Godly decisions.
I think “my” position is probably the least represented one in our current culture, and needs promoting in the same way as evangelism needs constant support or it drops off.
The current CRE/Chaplain debate is likely to push even more Xians out of the state system – the exact opposite of what is needed. I think this is an area where private Xian Ed can be counter – productive.
I don’t know if you have heard this one before but if you haven’t here goes.
An atheist primary teacher who was very anxious to push the benefits of atheism onto her very impressionable students, told her class to put their hands up if they were athiests.
Ever keen to please all the children put their hands up except one.
“So Lucy, your not an atheist?”
“Why is that?”
“I am a christian.”
“Oh, and why are you a christian?’
“Because my parents are and my great grandparents were,”
“So if your parents and great grandparents were morons, would that make you a moron?”
“No miss. It would make me an atheist.”
Excellent joke Mr Marks!