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Education Wars: The Battle for Our Children

Sep 4, 2012

There is perhaps no greater battleground than that of the education arena. He who can educate (or indoctrinate) our children will win not only our children but the future. For centuries we have known of the crucial importance of education, especially the relatively new public, or state, education.

Abraham Lincoln once put it this way: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” Vladimir Lenin boasted, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” And again, “Give us the child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”

Well did Churchill lament, “Schools have not necessarily much to do with education… they are mainly institutions of control, where basic habits must be inculcated in the young. Education is quite different and has little place in school.” And religious leaders too have seen the battleground that education is.

Charles Spurgeon offered this caution: “To leave our youthful population in the hands of secular teachers, will be to sell them to the Ishmaelites.” But it is not just a question of secularism robbing kids of values. If education were indeed value-neutral, that would still be a worry.

As C. S. Lewis wrote, “Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil”. Or as Theodore Roosevelt once put it, “To educate a child in the mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

But education of course is not value-neutral. Someone’s worldview and values will always be pushed. And what we have witnessed over the past century or so is the steady expulsion of Judeo-Christian values, replaced by those of the secular humanists.

But don’t take my word for it. The secular warriors have been most explicit about their intentions of capturing education for their purposes. They have made it absolutely clear that they are engaged in a war on religion, and want to replace it with their own religion: secular humanism.

All the early atheists and secular humanists admitted to the religious nature of their worldview. For example, in the late nineteenth century England Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), and other atheists sought to overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity. Their goal was to secularise society, and replace Christianity with the “church scientific”.

His grandson, Julian Huxley (1887-1975), sought to “develop a scientific religion” which he called “evolutionary humanism”. As he wrote in 1959, “It is essential for evolution to become the central core of any educational system, because it is evolution, in the broad sense, that links inorganic nature with life, and the stars with the earth, and matter with mind, and animals with man. Human history is a continuation of biological evolution in a different form.”

And they knew the key role which public education would play in carrying out their work of indoctrination. John Dewey (1859-1952), the father of modern education, and a signatory to the 1933 Humanist Manifesto, was adamant about the role of education in promoting agendas and pushing values: “Schools do have a role – and an important one – in production of social change.” (John Dewey, 1859-1952)

Or as he said elsewhere; “We make a religion of our education. . . . Faith in education signifies nothing less than belief in the possibility of deliberate direction of the formation of human disposition and intelligence.” And again, “I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

The early secular humanists all knew the importance of using the education system to indoctrinate the young. They knew that if they could get to our kids at an early age, they could win them for their religion of secular humanism. Way back in 1919 the American Communist Party had this as their slogan: “Give us one generation of small children to train to manhood and womanhood and we will set up the Bolshevist form of the Soviet Government.”

John Dunphy, who wrote “A New Religion for a New Age,” in The Humanist (January/February, 1983) was most clear about 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.”

Or as Charles Francis Potter, another signatory to Humanist Manifesto put it, “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”

More recently the postmodern philosopher Richard Rorty (1931-2007) said this: “I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.”

Rightly did Thomas Sowell write in his 1993 volume, Inside American Education: “Advocates of Secular Humanism have been quite clear and explicit as to the crucial importance of promoting their philosophy in the schools, to counter or undermine religious values among the next generation.”

Or as Dennis Prager put it in his recent book, Still the Best Hope: “Just as the purpose of Christian seminaries is to produce committed Christians, the primary purpose of most Western universities is, consciously or not, to produce committed secular leftists. The major difference between them is that Christian seminaries declare their purpose, and Western universities do not.”

James Dobson and Gary Bauer, writing in Children at Risk (1990) said: “The humanistic system of values has become the predominant way of thinking in most of the power centers of society. It has outstripped Judeo-Christian precepts in the universities, in the news media, in the entertainment industry, in the judiciary, in the federal bureaucracy, in business, medicine, law, psychology, sociology, in the arts, in many public schools and, to be sure, in the halls of Congress.”

Or as Ann Coulter rightly complained in Godless America: “Public schools are forbidden from mentioning religion not because of the Constitution, but because public schools are the Left’s madrassas. . . . At least the crazy Muslims get funding from Saudi Arabia for their madrassas. Liberals force normal Americans to pay for their religious schools.”

Quite so. We now have religion and values galore in our public schools. But they are those of the secular humanists. And this has certainly not been by accident; it has been quite deliberate, as the above evidence affirms. Those with agendas have long known the importance of capturing education for their purposes.

As William F. Buckley warned a half century ago: “The most influential educators of our time – John Dewey, William Kilpatrick, George Counts, Harold Rugg, and the lot – are out to build a New Social Order. There is not enough room…for…religion (Christianity). It clearly won’t do…to foster within some schools a respect for an absolute, intractable God, a divine intelligence who is utterly unconcerned with other people’s versions of truth…It won’t do to tolerate a competitor for the allegiance of man. The State prefers a secure monopoly for itself…Religion (Christianity), then, must go…The fight is being won. Academic freedom is entrenched. Religion (Christianity) is outlawed in public schools. The New Social Order is larruping along.”

As Mark Steyn put it in After America: “The massive expansion of American education is evidence not of progress but of its exact opposite – its decay into ideological factory farms. It’s a progressive 4-H: Hogwash, Hypersensitivity, Habituation, Homogeneity – for the price of which you wind up in Hock.”

The schools have been captured by the other side. Unless our children have been given a solid training in the biblical worldview, they will be ill-equipped to take on the secularist educators. As Dr. D. James Kennedy pleaded, “Don’t send an eight-year-old out to take on a forty-year-old humanist. I have never seen any people more unhappy than fathers or mothers who have come to me and said, ‘Where did we go wrong? We gave him everything, and now he’s turned his back completely on everything we believe.’ Yes, they gave him everything but a Christian education.”

Or as Mark Steyn wrote: “For four decades America watched as politically correct fatuities swallowed the entire educational system, while conservatives deluded themselves that it was just a phase, something kids had to put up with as the price for getting a better job a couple years down the road. The idea that two generations could be soaked in this corrosive bilge and it would have no broader impact, that it could be contained within the precincts of academe, was always foolish.”

Exactly. We have lost millions of Christian young people to the religion of secular humanism. If we want to turn this around we first must be aware of the problem. In the West the schools are no longer the domain of the Judeo-Christian worldview, but secular humanism. And as Francis Schaeffer wrote in A Christian Manifesto: “These two world views stand as totals in complete antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural results.

“We must never forget that the humanist position is an exclusivist, closed system which shuts out all contending viewpoints – especially if these views teach anything other than relative values and standards. Anything which presents absolute truth, values, or standards is quite rightly seen by the humanists to be a total denial of the humanistic position.”

So parents have a lot of serious thinking to do here. Will they abandon their children to the wolves in the public school system? Some may feel called to do so. But many may well need to look seriously at some other options – before it is too late.

[1729 words]

26 Responses to Education Wars: The Battle for Our Children

  • Dear Bill, All this concern about what some schools are teaching ignores a basic understanding. Deuteronomy Chapter 6 verses 6 and 7 says the parents should educate their children in the ways of God.
    Regards, Franklin Wood

  • Having tried to raise my kids with a Biblical Worldview I am now praying for my second daughter who feels called to primary teaching. Her first challenge was to find a ‘Christian’ institution to go to. Her next challenge will be to apply her Biblical understanding to everything she learns even there.
    At first she didn’t even want to attempt this because she knows it will be a battle. May we raise up many more who are willing and able to step into the fray. And may we uphold them in prayer at all times.
    Bill, may you be blessed for keeping us informed.
    Kay Symons

  • Absolutely, humanism is rife in school even from Kindergarten. As a christian public school teacher seeking to leave the humanist system, my comment is regarding the depth of this humanistic problem. I have taught kindergarten and year one for the last 5 years. All children are hardening their hearts to God and their parents from the very first (6) weeks of school. Do you want to harden your child’s heart?… send them to institutionalised school.
    See the “indoctrinaNation” movie (indoctrinationmovie.com) for a great review of the education system as Bill has written in words.
    Someone once said “whenever I pass a school or prison, I feel sorry for the people inside”
    Daniel Campbell

  • There are signs that the UK Govt is beginning to realise that our schools should be teaching in a more traditional way with proper standards of achievement rather than massaging children’s and education ministers’ egos, with inflated exam results.

    Let us hope and pray that teaching children respect for the Christian truths will come to be seen as the way towards living a fuller life in a more civilised society.

    Alan Williams, UK

  • It all starts at the foundation of a strong one-man one-woman marriage – one that lives, breathes, and nurtures such a family; that too – without any compromise OR trading family and family values by treating the original family as a smogers board.

    A battle for our children ONLY makes sense when the full value of the bearer of those children is upheld – no mater what. A battle for children commences with the battle FOR their mother – not against her.

    How can one even attempt to point at what ‘world views’ are putting out there when the very nucleus of the God breathed family is being compromised and traded off for age-old ‘world views’.

    Is it possible that the value, purpose and principles declared in Psalm 139 is being undermined? Perhaps the buck stops here.

    If this does not drive the point home, try Proverbs 22:6
    “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” and to achieve this…. BOTH parents influence the child in unity – that is as one.

    Grace Hamilton

  • I think Franklin Wood (see first post above) misses Bill’s point.

    Governments have greatly restricted parents’ ability to control their children’s school education.

    The government helps itself to a hefty slice of a family’s income to fund a largely secular state school system.

    Should parents prefer to enrol their child in a religious, non-government school, they have to pay private school fees, but they do not receive a proper tax rebate for the state school system that they are no longer using. (Government state aid for independent schools only partially offsets this).

    To get rid of this unfair financial penalty for parents who educate their children outside the state sector, you must somehow persuade the government to introduce voucher funding for schools.

    Under this system, the parents of each child of school age would get an annual book of vouchers, one for each term. The voucher would be equivalent in value to the current cost of educating a child in the same year at a government school.

    Parents would be free to spend their vouchers at any school of their choice, state or private, religious or non-religious.

    Schools, in order to survive and flourish, would have to compete with one another to attract student enrolments (and voucher funding).

    John Ballantyne,
    Melbourne.

  • Thanks Bill for the info, very depressing. My wife and I can’t afford home schooling or private school, but now I’m starting to think I can’t afford not to.
    Julia’s 5 Billion over 13 years is a red herring, for one reason it gives people the illusion she has a big picture and two, typical left hogwash, assuming money fixes everything.
    Daniel Kempton

  • Many parents believe that sending their children to Christian schools solves the problem. In my experience the easiest solution is never the best. I must echo Franklin and Grace in saying the hard work MUST be done at home. If you leave it to a Christian school, I fear that even evangelical school kids will leave with the philosophy of the world in their hearts.
    Luke Belik

  • All of this points to why school choice and orientating the funding of schools through vouchers (for lack of a better word) to parents, rather than the system we have now. All this is only a problem if the government forces your child to a school you aren’t really comfortable sending them to.

    It also reminds me that what is more important to the spiritual health of a child isn’t so much a parent’s decision but God’s: Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12+13).

    Thankfully, God’s sovereign power to choose his people outstrips any indoctrination by anyone.

    Lee Herridge, WA

  • Thanks for this excellent summary of everything that is wrong with the modern education system. We home school because we know it is the only way to bring up our children with a Biblical worldview and “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

    We recently watched this presentation, which contains much similar material, by Dr Voddie Baucham Jr.: http://www.gracefamilybaptist.net/store/product/children-caesar/

    Bill Stolk

  • So privatise education.

    That way parents will get more control over what their kids are being taught.

    Damien Spillane

  • That is exactly why my wife and I are planning on home-schooling our children.
    Mario Del Giudice

  • We had four of our five children in a Christian School we helped to found. In the end for various reasons we sent them all to state schools which fortunately in our area seemed to be good for all of them. One problem with the Christian school idea, as others have mentioned, is that for some church-going parents it seems to be used as a cop-out to avoid real Christian teaching in the home.

    One thing I will never tolerate is people telling me that Scripture requires that we send our children to a Christian school (no one here is saying that but I have heard it said), but I entirely agree with Bill that we have to be aware of the godless dogmatic humanism that is prowling around out there. Parents need to be vigilant.

    in my final years of teaching I had no compunction to avoid giving Christianity and its values a mention here and there, knowing what indoctrination was going on in other classrooms.

    David Morrison

  • Hi Bill,What does C S Lewis whom you like so much have in common with the following people, most of whom you may have heard of? Bindi Irwin, Maria Sharapova, Pro Hart, Agatha Christie, John Travolta, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein (bit of a dunce when he went to school), Benjamin Franklin, Mozart, Irving Berlin, Mark Twain, D H Lawrence, Noel Coward, Felix Mendelssohn, Charles Dickens, Blaise Pascal, Konrad Adenauer, Hans Christian Anderson, Patric Henry, William Penn, Abraham Lincoln, Pearl Buck. Alec Issigonis, (failed maths three times and went on to design the famous Morris Mini)The Williams sisters, Justin Timberlake, Will Rogers, Charles Chaplin, Florence Nightingale, Albert Schweitzer, Andrew Carnegie, John Paul Jones, Martha Washington, Joan of Arc. John and Charles Wesley, D L Moody, John Newton, William Cary, Jonathan Edwards, and my kids including the eldest who got the highest ever score on aeronautical physics at the Brisbane uni last year and 100% on his last ADF flying school theory exam a week ago? They were all home educated, most by their mums, outside the public school system.

    Rob Withall

  • Many thanks for that Rob. I just posted a piece on homeschooling here:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2012/09/05/homeschooling-under-threat/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Daniel, overall home education ends up cheaper than a public school but a family does loose that second income if the wife was working but God’s grace is sufficient, and money is not everything. My family has home schooled for 16 years to date, sometimes it has not been easy and we have despaired but we parents are still a work under construction just as our children. Home education is a work of faith!
    Rob Withall

  • Sorry I am on my soap box today, Bill, You or your readers may be interested in a well researched short History of Australian Schooling by Susan Wright of Bendigo. It is fascinating reading.
    http://www.home-ed.vic.edu.au/2003/10/30/australian-schooling-a-history-of-social-control/

    Rob Withall

  • Daniel I have to agree with Rob, lose of income can be a problem but you can homeschool without spending a fortune (I know single mother’s who find a way). If you want to discuss the cost of homeschooling or any other issues about getting started I would be glad to walk you through it. If you want to get in contact I’d be happy for Bill to forward you my email or facebook account so we can discuss things further. Sometimes it does seem so daunting after meeting people who homeschool and realizing they are ordinary people not “super-parents”.
    Kylie Anderson

  • Abraham Lincoln had 50 weeks of formal education in his whole life between 1814-1826. He did his arithmetic on a wooden shovel using charcoal and a pen knife to scrape off the results as there wasn’t money for paper or a slate.
    However he was trained to fend for himself, reflect on his condition and expected to make something of himself and assume adulthood at a very early age. Modern schooling robs the child of his or her independence and the wonderful life possible.

    Rob Withall

  • Thank you Kylie I would like to take you up on your offer. I feel the Lord has led me to this point and now has provided someone to help me through to the next stage. Even in my own little brain I’ve figured out, my 9 year old girl Sophie, is not being challenged or shown much of anything of real value. In a crude sum I reckon total school work for her day, consists of about 1 hour, the rest is, ??? I think you would get my drift.
    Please Bill make my Email address known to Kylie.
    Daniel Kempton

  • Hi Bill, please forward my email to Kylie also as we are looking at homeschooling next year. I understand if you are too busy Kylie.
    Luke Belik

  • No problem Luke. I’d be happy to help any way I can.
    Kylie Anderson

  • From what I have seen both the Christian home and school needs a jolt. I was at a New Year’s Eve event at the home of a parent who had his children educated in the local Christian School. His daughter was graduating and about 20 of her classmates were there to celebrate.

    At about 10.30pm it broke up as they discovered they were not going to be allowed to get drunk so they left for another party than had the grog in abundance.

    Among the crowd was that years school student captain.

    Obviously 13 years of christian schooling and home life had not done much to inculcate Christian morality and virtue.

    Roger Marks

  • Frightening stuff here, like; `As Dr. D. James Kennedy pleaded, “Don’t send an eight-year-old out to take on a forty-year-old humanist.`
    I have found too that our children’s friends have a massive influence on them, but how do we choose our children’s friends?
    I have only heard good reports of home schooling, but I still don`t think it would have worked for our family.

    Johannes Archer

  • Bill, great blog! However, as a teacher for eight years now I have seen both sides of the coin, State and Private (Christian). And to tell you the truth there is not much difference!
    The State schools are blatantly teaching our children humanist ideals and don’t shy away from that. You are “discouraged” from mentioning anything to do with religion for fear of being reprimanded or worse (it is an unspoken fact). I now mention God and my beliefs with the kids as often as I can, given the situations, and I feel I’m doing God’s work by planting little seeds!
    Private Christian schools have the pretense of teaching with a Biblical World View! I ask what form of Biblical World View??? One that doesn’t offend someone from a different denomination because their traditions do not meet Biblical truth?? Or one that accepts the Government funding and then chooses not to exercise their right not to teach according to the State’s curriculum because the funding is so important to keeping the school afloat?? I see both these issues as hypocritical, how can a school teach from a Biblical World View if it teaches the exact same curriculum as State schools which are progressively pushing Evolution and removing the schools’ ability to offer alternatives except in religious studies, among other sensitive issues? And how can a school teach Biblically if we can’t cover certain topics that are in the Bible because it might offend? I myself have been reprimanded at a Christian School for mentioning a belief I have which is Biblically sound and I could support it with countless Bible texts to comfort a student but their parents did not support the same, instead of following the Biblical principle of going to the one who you have a grievance with, they contacted the principal and then had the child removed from my class! Something that is rife within the schooling system!
    For these reasons and several more my husband and I will begin homeschooling our daughter when she starts high school. We would start earlier but her Grandfather, who holds the same beliefs as us is her teacher this year and will be next as well and I’d like a year with our new baby (Due January) before commencing homeschooling, which is also under attack. Most parents would not even consider it even if they had one parent at home because it is considered to be inferior to institutionalised schooling by society (home-schooled kids are wierd!). The department also makes it very difficult for parents who do homeschool, sometimes forcing them to send their kids to school, I knew of one who had been homeschooling for 3 years and the department wanted ridiculous amounts of documents or her status would be revoked. Why do they do this, because they want to take education away from the family. There is even talk of making Kindergarden compulsory (I’m assuming the year before grade 1 as it is called Prep in QLD, Reception in SA and Kindy in NSW, Vic and ACT) and to top it off they’ve started encouraging parents to send their kids to institutions as young as 3! This push to remove kids from their parents as early as possible should ring alarm bells to everyone, it certainly does for me!

    Sara Belik

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