we don’t need no education
One of my kids came home from school last week with some complaints about his history curriculum, which uses the textbook “Old World History and Geography” from A Beka books. A Beka books is associated with Pensacola Christian College, a very fundamentalist Christian school. I have seen some of their school materials before and found them relatively innocuous, but this was different.
The lessons he said included a lot about people turning towards or away from God, but without a lot of details about the actual history itself. He also noted that evolution was described as a false teaching. I went through the chapter so we could spend some more time discussing it.
Here is a paragraph from a chapter on England:
During the twentieth century England lost its great empire, much of its wealth, and its position as a world leader. There were many causes for this decline.
Modernism. England’s problems began in the late ninetheenth century when many of her church ministers began to deny the truth of the Bible. The false ideas that the Bible does not mean what it says and that men must use their reason alone to find truth are called modernism or liberalism. Religious modernism was the result of a humanist movement in France during the 1700s called the Enlightenment. The wicked ideas of the Enlightenment and modernism spread throughout Europe during the nineteenth century. Modernism has caused great harm to every nation that has been affected by it.
Yes, you have entered the alternate reality of Fundamentalist Christianity, where a war against the use of reason is taking place. I guess at least they are not hiding it. I will go out on a limb here and say we have definitely benefited from the use of reason as championed by the Enlightenment, but hey, I’m just a liberal modernist, what do I know?
Here is another quote from the same page:
Evolution. Another false teaching that arose during the nineteenth century was Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Many people who doubted the Bible began to accept Darwin’s false idea that man has descended from the animals. Such a belief took away man’s dignity as a creature made in the image of God, and it caused people to stop being concerned about their soul’s salvation. It also caused a decline in science, for scientists began to accept an untested idea as truth, an attitude that goes against the scientific method.
“…scientists began to accept an untested idea as truth…“? What a minute, who are these people to start lecturing us on the scientific method??? And I would like for them to describe to the children what this decline in science since the time of Darwin looks like.
I find it indicative of the way fundamentalism bleeds over into more mainstream Evangelicalism. The school is not what most would consider fundamentalist, yet material like this can still exist in the curriculum. Of course secular ideas creep into Evangelicalism at least as much as fundamentalist ones, so that in itself is not surprising. But I am still somewhat taken aback by the detachment from reality displayed by the authors, and that “decline in science” line is still bothering me. This book is not training children to think critically, it is training them to think the right things, the things they are told to believe, and to fear ideas which might challenge those beliefs.