Do All Public Schools Now Teach Humanism?
Robert L. Waggoner
Whether theists know it or not, and whether theists like it or not, children of theists are being taught humanism in public schools. This teaching weakens theism in many children, and destroys it in others, especially since theistic parents are unaware that much of what children are learning in public schools is anti-theistic. The result is that homes, churches, and the nation suffer the consequences from humanistic indoctrination in public schools.
People have been so accustomed to thinking public schools generally teach theistic values, that most theists, especially older folks, think it incredible that all public schools now teach humanism. Yet, that is precisely what all public schools now teach, according to many expert observers of modern public education. Here are a few of their assessments.
· “The modern creationist movement and the resistance of secular educators to this movement have brought into clear focus one very important fact. Our American public schools and secular universities are controlled by the religious philosophy of evolutionary humanism. Furthermore, through its pervasive influence on the graduate schools and the textbook publishers, this powerful concept has had significant impact even on most Christian schools.”
· “At present, the state schools are an establishment of humanism. They teach and propagate a philosophy of life which does more than omit Christianity: it is radically at war with biblical religion. Until we recognize that schools are establishments of religion, and that all education is inescapably a religious activity, we cannot come to grips with our cultural crisis. It is necessary, therefore, to recognize that the most central religious exercise of any culture is education. The religious faith of a society comes to focus in its education.”
· “It was . . . Dewey who began to fashion a new materialist religion in which humanity was venerated instead of God. This is basically the religion of secular humanism, and this is what has become the official religion of the United States, for it is the only religion permitted in its public schools and totally supported by government funds. The Constitution of the United States forbids the government from establishing a national religion. But we have one, whether the people know it or not.”
· “The NEA has remained remarkably faithful to the Humanist Manifesto since 1933. For all practical purposes, the public school has become the parochial school for secular humanism. Its doctrines pervade the curriculum from top to bottom.”
· “The modern State has asserted its responsibility to educate children. This is the means by which the modern State has arrogated to itself the position of the established god on earth. The government schools have become the established religion of every nation on earth. Humanism, which is the worship of man and his works, rests on this crucial institutional foundation: the tax-supported, State-regulated, hypothetically neutral, deeply religious humanist school system. There can be no neutrality, yet the government schools have almost completely stamped out Christianity and the law of God by means of the neutrality myth. The State forces Christians to finance schools that teach a rival religion, the religion of humanism. The State has also attempted to regulate Christian and independently financed schools. At every point, the State has substituted tenured bureaucrats who are virtually impossible for parents to remove from authority, while it has removed parents from the seats of power in setting curricula or any other standards. The modern State, which is a messianic, supposedly man-saving institution, has used the tax-supported, compulsory schools as the primary means of stealing children from God, by removing them from parental control.”
However much theists may dislike these statements, theists must, in all fairness, ask how educational observers like those quoted above, arrived at the conclusion that all public schools do indeed teach humanism. Is there sufficient evidence to warrant this conclusion? Just how those persons quoted above arrived at their conclusions may not be known. However, a line of reasoning that leads to no other logical conclusion can be given. First, the argument is given – then the supporting evidence.
In syllogistic form, the argument may be stated as follows:
Major Premise: The theory of evolution is now taught in all public schools.
Minor Premise: The theory of evolution is a major doctrine of modern humanism.
Conclusion: Therefore, all public schools now teach humanism.
Although logical, the syllogism does not indicate the significance of the evolutionary perspective either in modern public education or in the philosophy of humanism. That will be shown by supporting evidences in major and minor premises. The argument and evidence may be summarized, in outline form, as follows:
Argument and Evidence
I. Major Premise: The theory of evolution is now taught in all public schools.
A. The current “creation-evolution” controversy in the teaching of biology is not the issue. The primary issue is: Which worldview – creation or evolution – should serve as the educational philosophy for public schools?
B. Beliefs about origins are important because they determine beliefs about all educational subjects, methods, and purposes.
1. In public education, the theory of evolution is considered to be, at least in theory, the philosophical and psychological foundation for all public education. It is . . .
a. The key to all knowledge
b. The key to all educational methods
c. The key to all educational purposes
2. Special implications for creationists – Public education denies existence of God, the validity of supernatural revelation (i.e., the Bible), and the spiritual nature of man.
C. The creation worldview is now beginning to threaten the philosophical foundation of all modern public education. That’s why it is so strongly opposed by the educational establishment.
II. Minor Premise: The theory of evolution is a major doctrine of modern humanism.
A. Documents of humanism emphasize evolutionary beliefs.
B. Significance of theory of evolution to humanism
1. It is the foundation of the religion of humanism.
2. It is the integrating factor of all life for humanists.
3. It is supposedly scientific. Therefore, it tends to make humanism creditable.
III. Conclusion: Therefore, humanism is now taught in all public schools, to the degree, at least, that the theory of evolution is the philosophy under girding educational content, methods, and purposes.
IV. Argument and Evidence Re-Enforced To realize the extent to which modern public education is humanistic (that is, anti-theistic) imagine what public education would be like if it were theistic. That is . . .
A. If creation were the key to all educational subjects
B. If creation were the key to all educational methods
C. If creation were the key to all educational purposes
Argument and Evidence Expanded
I. Major Premise: All public schools now teach the theory of evolution.
“One of the most amazing phenomena in the history of education is that a speculative philosophy based on no true scientific evidence could have been universally adopted and taught as scientific fact, in all the public schools . . . . This is the philosophy of evolution. . . . When creationists propose, however, that creation be taught in the schools along with evolution, evolutionists commonly react emotionally, rather than scientifically. Their “religion” of naturalism and humanism has been in effect the established religion of the state for a hundred years, and they fear competition.”
A. The current “creation-evolution” controversy is not the major issue.
That all public schools now teach an evolutionary view of origins is so evidently true that should anyone declare otherwise he would likely not be considered creditable by professional educators. Since the Scopes Trial at Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, evolutionary teachings have become the norm in all public schools in America.
Although it may be argued that a majority of Americans believe in creation rather than in evolution, and although preachers sometimes give sermons against believing in evolutionary doctrines, the theists, as a whole, have done very little to protest the teaching of evolution in public schools.
The first significant blast in the last half-century against the theory of evolution was in 1961 when John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris published their book, The Genesis Flood. Since then, momentum has been gathering among creationists for the presentation of scientific data affirming creation and refuting evolution. The result is that creationists and evolutionists are now locked in legal, educational, and polemical battles throughout America.
Whereas creation and the theistic worldview were once dominant in American public schools, they are, for all practical purposes, now legally excluded. Evolution and the humanistic worldview occupies the high ground. Evolutionists characterize their beliefs as scientific, while they characterize creation as religious and therefore unscientific. But evolutionism is as much a religion as is so-called creationism. Moreover, creationists generally believe that the case for creation can be better established by arguments from scientific data than can the case for evolution.
Even so, evolutionists are determined that creation not be given equal hearing with evolution in public schools. Creationists have debated evolutionists in public forums, and have generally gained more favorable reception from their audiences than have evolutionists. The result, however, is that evolutionists are now hesitating to debate creationists publicly.
In judicial arenas, however, creationists are generally defeated, not by the evidence, but seemingly by prejudices of the judiciary. The educational establishment does everything in its legal power to keep creationists from presenting scientific data for its view of origins. Court cases in Arkansas and Louisiana have demonstrated that the teaching of creation is not acceptable in public schools.
Creationists, generally, see the battle to get creation taught alongside evolution as the major battle for Christian faith in public schools. But it isn’t. Nor is it to legalize prayers or bible readings in schools. The real issue is: Which worldview – creation or evolution – will serve as the philosophical foundation for public education?
Creationists have long since lost the major battle for Christian faith in public schools. And most creationists do not even know what it was, when it happened, nor how. It happened when the proponents of evolution devised and superimposed their own worldview upon American public education. It happened when John Dewey, G. Stanley Hall, James McKeen Cattrell, Edward L. Thorndike, John B. Watson and other educational philosophers and psychologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries exchanged the Bible for the Darwinian theory of evolution as the foundation of all knowledge. The theory of evolution also became the philosophy under girding instructional methods and educational purposes. This happened without theists, generally, even being aware that there was a battle to be fought. Creationists lost!
B. Beliefs about Origins are Important Because They Determine Beliefs about all Educational Subjects, Methods, and Purposes.
The study of origins is important, but not especially because it provides the framework for studies in biological sciences. Rather, the study of origins is important because one’s beliefs about origins are the foundation for all other beliefs. It also determines educational methods and purposes.
1. In public education, the theory of evolution is now considered to be, at least in theory, the key to all knowledge.
To believe in the creation of our natural universe requires belief in a supernatural being who has power and purposes greater than what is demonstrated by the natural universe. To believe in evolution requires belief in a self-existing universe. It requires belief that this natural universe is all that exists, that it evolves by chance and that all things are only physical. For evolutionists, nothing is spiritual or eternal.
One’s beliefs about origins color his thinking about all other subjects – whether physical, social, ethical, or philosophical. The physical sciences – biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, etc. – are all predicated upon one’s views of origins. Did God create the heavens and the earth and all things in them? (Psalm 148:3-5; Romans 1:20; 1 Corinthians 11:12; Hebrews 2:10; 3:4.). Did creation occur in a seven-day week as declared by scripture? (Genesis 1:1-2:4; Exodus 20:11). Or has a self-existing universe evolved over billions of years to become what it now is? Does nature operate only by chance?
The social sciences – psychology, sociology, politics, etc. – are almost entirely premised by evolutionary concepts – that mankind is only physical, descended from an ape-like ancestor; that all societies, like individuals, evolve; that might makes right, and that the survival of the fittest is justification for aggression and overthrow of others.
Modern historians are generally committed to doctrinaire evolutionary concepts in the interpretation of both ancient and modern history. They see no place for God to work in the affairs of mankind in either biblical or contemporary history. Therefore, for them, biblical history must be considered as saga, legend, or myth.
In the teaching of ethical and moral values – truth, honesty, decency, etc. – one’s beliefs about origins determines one’s behavior. If all things evolve by chance, then there are no absolutes, all things must be relative. Right and wrong are always flexible according to current social standards. One can therefore act in whatever manner may be desired by himself or his society. On the other hand, if God created mankind and holds mankind accountable to a consistent, universal standard, then there are absolutes. One must behave according to God’s absolute standards.
The major philosophies – whether political, psychological, sociological, etc. – having major impact upon the modern world, are all evolutionary philosophies. These are all taught in public schools. All modern public education is anti-biblical and anti-theistic to the extent that all subjects taught in public schools presuppose that all things evolved. Even in such subjects as speech, math, meteorology, etc. which have very little evolutionary content, textbooks and/or teachers often introduce their subjects with an endorsement of evolutionary origins.
Evolutionary presuppositions in modern education require an automatic rejection of a supernatural God who created and sustains all things. It requires rejection of supernatural revelation about God and all other aspects of reality. And it requires rejection of the spiritual nature of man. Since humanity is presumed to be only physical, then education regarding mankind’s spiritual nature is intentionally not addressed by modern public education.
2. In public education, the theory of evolution is now considered to be, at least in theory, the key to all instructional methods.
The theory of evolution is not only the philosophical foundation for all subject content taught in public schools, it is also the psychological basis, at least in theory, for all instructional methods now used in public schools. Psychology is the study of the human mind as demonstrated by human behavior. The workings of the mind are important for both teaching and learning. Educators want to know how the mind works in order that teachers may guide students effectively in the learning process.
Conclusions derived from studying the mind are largely dependent upon presuppositions or assumptions brought to the study of the mind. Creationists generally believe that the mind of mankind is distinct from the brain and that it is somehow related to the spiritual nature of humanity. (In the Bible, Jesus told about a rich man who died and afterward, “in hell” remembered Lazarus and his five brothers who were yet living on earth (Luke 16:19-31). In order for that to be, his memory, a faculty of the mind, had to have existence beyond the life of the human body. Thus, biblically speaking, the human mind is something more than physical.
Evolutionists, on the other hand, believe that human beings are only physical, and that human minds are only physical. The mind is not distinct from the brain. Mind and brain are but one and the same. For evolutionists, the mind is not a special faculty capable of receiving ideas. Rather it is merely an ability that has evolved, like any other ability, to help a human being to adapt to his or her environment. These differing presuppositions are directly related to instructional methods. Because creationists and evolutionists differ in their presuppositions regarding human nature and the nature of the human mind, they logically differ in their educational methodologies.
Although public schools in America were once mostly theistic, with the coming of evolution and with its adaptation as the root source of educational philosophy and psychology, public schools became humanistic. Modern public education, often referred to as progressive education, is but the application of ideas derived from evolution as the basis for instructional methods.
Progressive education grew out of the new experimental psychology based on the belief that man is an animal, a product of evolution with common ancestry with the ape, and could therefore be studied like any other animal. In Germany, where the new psychology originated, Darwin’s main support came from Ernst Haeckel, who maintained that psychology was a branch of physiology and that mind could therefore be fitted into the scheme of evolution. Haeckel was also responsible for the idea that during embryological development higher organisms like man relived their evolutionary history – that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. That hypothesis has since been proven false, but it has become the basis of the way reading is taught in most American schools. The look-say method of teaching reading was promoted by the progressives on the ground that children should go through the different stages that the human race went through in learning to read: pictography, ideographs, and finally the alphabet. The application of the dictum that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” in reading instruction has led to a literacy disaster.”
All educational psychology (and most other psychology also) is based on the theory of evolution. Behavioral psychologists, such as Edward Lee Thorndike and John B. Watson, derived from Charles Darwin the stimulus-response techniques now used in teaching. Thorndike, the father of behavioral educational psychology, wrote, “[n]o where more truly than in his mental capacities is man a part of nature. His instincts, that is his inborn tendencies to feel and act in certain ways, show though out marks of kinship with the lower animals, especially with our nearest relatives physically, the monkeys. His sense-powers show no new creation. His intellect we have seen to be a simple though extended variation from the general animal sort. This again is presaged by the similar variation in the case of the monkeys. Amongst the minds of animals that of man leads, not as a demigod from another planet, but as a king from the same race.” The assumption that the theory of evolution is the philosophical foundation for all knowledge and all instructional methods lead to an additional assumption, namely, that the theory of evolution is also the philosophical foundation for all educational objectives.
3. In public education, the theory of evolution is now considered to be, at least in theory, the key to all educational purposes.
Because creationists believe that mankind is both physical and spiritual, creationists are concerned with truth, and with the acquisition and use of knowledge for both time and eternity. For creationists, the purpose of education is therefore to train the mind, to develop moral character by teaching children God’s laws, to prepare and to discipline the young to serve God. Creationists are interested in children knowing all things needful to become independent of their parents, to lead faithful Christian lives, and to build their own Christian homes. Creationists are interested in educating for both time and eternity. For creationists, learning relies primarily on use of cognitive skills.
On the other hand, because evolutionists believe that mankind is only physical, evolutionists are not so much concerned about imparting knowledge to children as they are teaching children how to solve social problems, to adapt to their physical and social environments. Evolutionists are interested in teaching children things that relate only to time – not to eternity – things like self-realization, social adjustment, and financial success.
The stimulus response techniques now used in teaching is indicative of changes in the purposes of education. Americans have traditionally believed that schools were to foster the intellectual development of children by teaching them basic skills. They were to cultivate their minds through study of systematic knowledge produced through the centuries, and to instill an understanding of their heritage and culture. However, modern educational philosophy intents for schools to modify behavior and to inculcate evolutionary values and vacillating emotional adjustments. Some educational philosophers have gone so far as to redefine education as therapy. For such purposes “[e]very school classroom in America must now be regarded as a mental clinic. Every teacher must be regarded as a facilitator or psycho-therapist. And every child in the classroom must be regarded as a patient.”
4. In public education, the theory of evolution is increasingly becoming, in actual practice, the key to all knowledge, all instructional methods, and all educational purposes.
Many theists in America’s public schools will argue that they and many other teachers and administrators certainly do not believe that the theory of evolution is the key to all knowledge, instructional methods, and educational purposes. And they are right. But it doesn’t matter whether they believe it or not. The fact is that the theory of evolution is, by design, worked into textbooks and other curriculum guides. When schoolteachers follow those guides, and they must at least to some degree, then they, however unconscious of it they may be, are implementing the intentions of educational philosophers and psychologists.
Without the general public’s awareness, the theory of evolution has changed public education. The change has come gradually, but it is now accelerating faster because evolutionists now have a stronger hold on the educational system.
Conclusion of Major Premise
The current creation-evolution controversy is a surprise to evolutionists and to the educational establishment. They thought that the creationists’ perspective was dead. The unforeseen possibility that creation might now be allowed equal hearing with evolution, even if only in biology classes, is a genuine threat to them. Should creationists win adherents, if only in biology classrooms, then it would not be long before creation would become a threat to evolutionism in public schools, not only as the way all things originated, but more significantly, as the philosophical foundation for all subject content, teaching methods and educational purposes. Evolutionists, and the educational establishment, are not about to risk that possibility. That’s why the teaching of creation in public schools is so strongly opposed today by the educational establishment.
If, in the teaching of origins in biology classes, equal treatment were to be given to alternative perspectives, i.e. to evolutionism and creation – either by elimination of evolutionism from biology instruction, or by inclusion of creation in biology instruction, then many contenders for equal treatment would probably be satisfied. However, this would not be equal treatment, not even in biology, because evolutionism would still be the philosophical foundation for other aspects of biology curriculum. Moreover, evolutionism would continue to be the philosophical foundation for all subject content, methods, and purposes in all other courses at all grade levels.
The two philosophical systems – creation and evolutionism – are incompatible. Neither can tolerate the other. Either one or the other will prevail in public education. Evolutionism is now in control. Theistic parents must awaken to the danger which evolutionism presents to the faith of their children. The threat is very real. In defense of theistic families who send their children to public schools, and also of theistic school administrators and teachers who are employed by public schools, it may be said, theists, generally, are not consciously aware that evolution is the root source of educational philosophy and psychology in American today.
While many theists in the teaching profession may sense the undesirability of evolutionary assumptions within their own curriculum content, teaching methods and purposes, and while they may therefore alter it in accordance with their own theistic perspectives, they cannot thereby overcome the strong hold that evolution has upon public education. With each passing generation, the strength of evolution becomes more firmly entrenched in public schools.
II. Minor Premise: The Theory of Evolution Is A Major Doctrine of Modern Humanism
A. Documents of humanism emphasize evolutionary beliefs.
Humanism is a major influence in today’s world largely because of the theory of evolution. Evolutionary ideas are fundamental to modern humanism. The first four of fifteen articles in the first Humanist Manifesto emphasize evolutionary beliefs.
“First: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”
“Second: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.”
“Third: Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.”
“Fourth: Humanism recognizes that man’s religious culture and civilization, as clearly depicted by anthropology and history, are the product of a gradual development due to his interaction with his natural environment and with his social heritage. The individual born into a particular culture is largely molded to that culture.”
The second Humanist Manifesto also acknowledges the importance of evolution, but not as strongly. The first article declares that “[a]s non-theists, we begin with humans, not God, nature not deity. Nature may indeed be broader and deeper than we now know; any new discoveries, however, will but enlarge our knowledge of the natural.” The second article contains the statement that “science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.” The ninth item in A Secular Humanist Declaration is more cognizant of the current creation-evolution controversy. “Although the theory of evolution cannot be said to have reached its final formulation, or to be an infallible principle of science, it is nonetheless supported impressively by the findings of many sciences. There may be some significant differences among scientists concerning the mechanics of evolution; yet the evolution of the species is supported so strongly by the weight of evidence that it is difficult to reject it. Accordingly, we deplore the efforts by fundamentalists (especially in the United States) to invade the science classrooms, requiring that creationists theory be taught to students and requiring that it be included in biology textbooks. This is a serious threat both to academic freedom and to the integrity of the educational process.”
B. Significance of the theory of evolution to humanism
The significance of the theory of evolution to the philosophy of humanism may be declared in at least three ways. First, it is the foundation faith tenent of the religion of humanism. Humanist cannot prove that there is no God, that people have no souls, that there is no heaven or hell, that mankind will not live after death, that mankind is basically good, that there are no absolutes, or even that all things have evolved over billions of years. These are not supportable by the scientific method, yet they are all declarations of belief. They are all in the realm of religious faith.
A humanist, Octavius B. Frothingham, wrote a book in 1872 entitled Religion of Humanity, “in which he used the doctrine of evolution to establish a humanistic, naturalistic concept of religious and ethical values.” The importance of the theory of evolution in confrontation with theism is declared by another humanist, Charles F. Potter, a signer of the first Humanist Manifesto. He declared “[i]t will be remembered that the theory of evolution found its bitterest and most persistent opponents among the theistic religionists. Only gradually and with reluctance has orthodoxy readjusted its theology to make room in it for the theory of evolution. There are many Theists today who believe in evolution, but they have had to make over their idea of God considerably. Indeed, they have not yet succeeded in making a satisfactory adjustment. It is still to be seen whether or not Theism will survive the shock which the theory of evolution has given it.”
Second, the theory of evolution is considered by humanists to be the integrating factor of all life. One of this century’s best know humanists, Julian Huxley, put it this way. “The new idea-system, whose birth we of the mid-twentieth century are witnessing, I shall call humanism, because it can only be based on our understanding of man and his relations with the rest of his environment. It must be focused on man as an organism, though one with unique properties. It must be organized round the facts and ideas of evolution, taking account of the discovery that man is part of a comprehensive evolutionary process, and cannot avoid playing a decisive role in it.”
Third, the supposed scientific affirmation of the theory of evolution tends to give humanism creditability. Edwin H. Wilson, writing in The New Humanist, declared that “what we are calling humanism is a subtle, permeating influence growing organically out of the progress of scientific knowledge wherever that knowledge is effectively related to human life.”
It is therefore only logical to humanists that the theory of evolution should be taught in all public schools. When therefore evolution is taught in public schools as proven scientific fact, as it now is, it means that school children think that evolution is more significant than creation – which is increasingly disdained as religious superstition. Both science and education are therefore presumed to be allies of humanism. In this respect, the importance of public schools is under scored by statement from Charles F. Potter. “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?”
Through public education, evolutionary beliefs promote humanistic values. This is as was intended by John Dewey and other educational philosophers and psychologists who designed the present public educational system.
III. Conclusion: Therefore, humanism is now taught in all public schools to the degree, at least, that the theory of evolution is the philosophy under girding educational content, methods, and purposes.
It would be a mistake to presume that humanism is taught in public schools with respect only to the theory of evolution, or of the natural sciences. It is also taught in ways that are unrelated to the theory of evolution. But the argument here given and its accompanying evidence should be sufficient to those who doubt it that humanism is indeed taught, in some form, and to some extent, in all public schools in America.
Moreover, it must not go unnoticed, that whenever private schools use public school textbooks, and/or educational methods, and whenever Christian or other private school teachers (who must generally be certified by the state approved, humanistic oriented, teacher-training colleges) use, even unconsciously, humanistic educational philosophy and psychology in their classrooms, then Christian and other private schools, unknowingly, also indoctrinate students in humanistic values and purposes.
IV. The extent to which modern public education is humanistic may be better realized by imagining what public education would be like if it were theistic. If creation were the philosophical foundation for all public education, then it would be the key to educational content, methods, and purposes.
A. If, in public education, creation were the key to all knowledge, then . . .
1. People would readily acknowledge the concept of a creator. The universe and all things in it would be understood as originating from a common source – the Creator. Similarities between living things, whether plants or animals, would not be construed as related by evolutionary families, but rather as products designed by the same designer. The order and arrangement of nature would be an indication that knowledge may be ascertained by observation and experimentation because nature is generally consistent, rather than chaotic. All things would then be perceived as having purpose in the mind of the Creator.
2. People would recognize that just as creation requires a Creator, and just as the natural was produced by the supernatural, so also knowledge would be understood as derived from both natural and supernatural sources. People would not then be prejudiced against Divine revelation as a creditable source of knowledge for public education.
3. People would not be blinded to the fact that mankind has a spiritual nature. Mankind would be recognized as the highest form of all living things, but he would also be considered as distinct and different from all other living things. The study of human psychology would not be based only on the study of animal nature, because it would be understood that mankind is more than physical in nature. Psychological conclusions would be based upon both divine and natural revelation.
4. All subjects taught in public schools would be taught in harmony with creation perspectives. Historians, for example, would not look upon the course of human events as chance happenings. Rather, history would be viewed as a record of human events wherein God works out his will. Moreover, biblical history would be taught along with profane history. The significance of Christ, not only in his earthly life and times, but throughout human history, would be emphasized. Moreover, godly men throughout all human history would be portrayed as examples which students should appreciate for their character and good works. The actions of not only individuals, but also of nations would be viewed in accordance with their conformity to God’s revealed word.
B. If, in public education, creation were the key to educational methods, then . . .
1. All educational methods used in teaching would be consistent with biblical ethical and moral values. Because there is a Creator, and because He has created all things orderly, it follows that there are absolute truths and standards by which all things should function – including all human behavior. Then, to follow the creator’s absolute truths and standards, students would be taught to look to divine revelation, not to human judgments, or to natural revelation.
2. The manner of learning would be that which is most consistent with acquiring a knowledge of both divine and natural revelation. The most consistently used methods of learning would be those that aid in the acquisition of knowledge, such as memorization and recitation. Emphasis in learning would be on development of each student’s cognitive skills. Testing of students to verify their understanding of a body of knowledge would be extremely important. Testing would seldom be through guessing – such as in true-false, or multiple-choice tests.
C. If, in public education, creation were the key to all educational purposes, then . . .
1. The purpose of education would be to impart knowledge concerning the Creator and all His creation. It would not be, as when evolution is supposed to be the key to all educational purposes – to socialize students that is, to prepare students to live in a socialistic society. The sciences, along with their technological benefits, would advance for the good, not for the harm, of humanity.
2. All students would be taught that their lives should be spent in glorifying God and in serving their fellow man, rather than self. Students would therefore be directed to pursue occupations of unselfish service, not those of selfish materialism and hedonism. The quality of human life would thereby be increased in every community.
3. All public schools would teach that everyone is accountable to God, and will at the end of this earthly life be judged by God to spend eternity either in heaven or hell, depending upon each man’s beliefs and conduct in this life.
So effective has been the use of public schools by humanists, that public schools, at least until recently, have been the single most effective medium for humanizing our culture. While the media, especially television, may now have replaced public schools in their over-all effectiveness in developing anti-theistic biases in America, public schools continue in second place, at least.
Humanistic entrenchment and momentum within public education means that public schools will become increasingly more humanistic and therefore increasingly more anti-theistic in the coming decades. Humanism is so firmly entrenched within public education that it is impossible for theists to bring about educational changes in keeping with theistic principles.
Theistic parents who refuse to consider that public schools are increasingly anti-biblical and anti-theistic are endangering their ability to impart their theistic faith to their children. While some communities have large percentages of theists as public school teachers, administrators, and counselors, there is no indication that, in those public schools, the educational content, methods and purposes are theistic. Educational philosophers and psychologists – not public school boards, administrators, and/or teachers – determine educational content, methods and purposes. However, not one of these educational philosophers and psychologists is know for theistic convictions.
What therefore are theists to do? Here are three suggestions. First, theists must realize that God has not authorized civil governments to teach children. That is the responsibility of families. Second, theists must give serious consideration to alternative educational arrangements for their children. If theistic schools are not available, then theistic families may wish to work together to start theistic schools, or they may wish to teach their own children at home. Third, since public schools are not biblically authorized by God, since public schools are a primary medium for growing anti-theistic values in our society, and since public schools cannot be altered for theistic purposes, then theists should seek to privatize all education.
These proposals may be thought radical by theists because contemporary theists have generally not heard them expressed. Moreover, theists have been so accustomed to schooling their children in government schools, that the thought of such drastic changes in national forms of education may seem unrealistic. However, theists must thoroughly investigate public schools in light of biblical teachings. If what is here written is biblical and true, then theists should accept it. If what is here written is neither biblical nor true, then theists should reject it.
The problem many theists have with these proposals is not one of intellectual acceptance. Rather, the problem is generally emotional. Because theists are so accustomed to educating their children in public schools, theists, like all others in our society, have built their life styles in such fashion to accommodate public education. To remove children from public schools, and to seek alternative educational arrangements for their children, will require a change in life style for many theistic parents. Theists generally don’t want to change their life styles. Theists are comfortable and complacent with public schools. Theists therefore generally resist seeking educational alternatives for their children. Theists want to think the problem is not as bad as it has been pictured, or perhaps it will just go away. Don’t count on it. Theists must face reality. And the sooner theists confront this major problem, the better for Christian homes, the church and the nation.
Copyright © by Robert L. Waggoner, Revised, 1998. Permission is given to reproduce and distribute this document for non-commercial educational purposes when unaltered and provided copyright and authorship is given.
Henry Morris, “The Religion of Evolutionary Humanism and the Public Schools,” Up With Creation! ICR Acts/Facts/Impacts, 1976-77, ed. by Duane T. Gish and Donald H. Rohrer (San Diego, CA: Creation-Life Publishers, 1978), 312.
Rousas John Rushdoony, The Philosophy of The Christian Curriculum (Vallecito, California: Ross House Books, 1985), 176.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld, N. E. A.: Trojan Horse In American Education (Boise, Idaho: The Paradigm Company, 1984), 55.
Gary North, Unconditional Surrender: God’s Program for Victory (Tyler, Texas: Geneva Divinity School Press, 1983), 94.
Henry M. Morris, “Evolution, Creation and The Public Schools,” Creation, Acts, Facts, Impacts. ed. by Henry M. Morris, Duane T. Gish, George M. Hillestad (San Diego: Creation-Life Publishers, 1974), 109.
John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications (Philadelphia: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1961).
For further information, see Blumenfeld, 40-62.
For further information, read Henry M. Morris, The Troubled Waters of Evolution (San Diego: C-L-P Publishers, 1974), 25-45; Rousas John Rushdoony, 37-43; and Raymond F. Surburg, “The Influence of Evolution,” Darwin, Evolution, and Creation, ed. by Paul Zimmerman (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), 169-204.
Samuel L. Blumenfeld, The Blumenfeld Education Letter, IV, 6 (June 1989): 5.
Ibid., quoting Edward L. Thorndike, Animal Intelligence, 294.
Nancy Pearcey, “What Is Evolution Doing To Education?” Bible-Science Newsletter (January, 1986), 7 quoting from the widely used Hawaii Master Plan for Education.
John Eidsmoe, The Christian Legal Advisor (Milford, Michigan: Mott Media, 1984), 189.
Charles F. Potter, Humanism: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), 15.
Julian Huxley, The Humanist Frame (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1961), 14; as cited by Eidsmoe, 183.
Cited by Potter, 129.