Many Christians claim a form of factual neutrality where some subjects (e.g., science, medicine, technology, geography, politics, mathematics) can be taught without any regard to religious presuppositions since “facts speak for themselves.” This is most evident in education where a self-conscious sacred-secular divide is maintained and supported by Christians. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to government schools. Since these parents believe that math is math and history is history, the religious stuff can be made up at church. But one hour of Sunday school and an hour at Youth Meeting each week and maybe a mission trip in the summer can’t make up for five days a week, six hours each day, 10 months of the year, 12+ years of a government-developed curriculum that is humanistic to the core.
Knowledge of what works in the field of medicine still leaves doctors, for example, with decisions relating to abortion and euthanasia. An abortionist can be an expert in the way he performs an abortion. He has honed this “skill” through scientific study of the created order (general revelation). But is it right and just to use this knowledge in the destruction of pre‑born babies? Where does one go to find out? Dr. Jack Kevorkian designed a “suicide machine” that was efficient, effective, and painless, three criteria to consider in the practice of modern medicine. But was what he did right and just? This is the real issue. Procedures that were designed as part of the healing craft are now being used to destroy life. There is no doubt that abortionists and doctors like Kavorkian are skilled practitioners of their respective crafts, but that’s not enough.
The study of the facts alone might lead some medical practitioners to conclude that since animals often abandon and kill their young, therefore homo sapiens, also an evolved species, are little different if they do the same. A more highly evolved species like man can do it more efficiently and for “high” social reasons. Such a view is not as far-fetched as it seems. Some years ago, after a debate on the issue of abortion, a discussion arose.
[M]ost of the students already recognized that the unborn child is a human life. Nevertheless, certain social reasons are considered “high enough” to justify ending that life. According to some of the women, examples of “high enough” reasons include protecting pregnant teenagers from the psychological distress of bearing a child, helping poor women who aren’t able to care adequately for a child, and preventing children from coming into the world “unwanted.” Many charged that pro‑life philosophies are not “socially acceptable” because they fail to deal realistically with these problems.(1)
The modern‑day evolutionary hypothesis rests on a study of “nature.” A majority of scientists have made a thorough study of the cosmos and concluded that man has evolved from some type of primordial chaos. Such a conclusion has numerous ethical implications.(2) A number of ideological, political, and economic systems are based on the doctrine of evolution.(3) It is this independent study of the facts alone that leads them to their anti‑Christian conclusions.
The humanists understand the importance of education in creating worldview shifts and control, so why don’t Christians? Charles Francis Potter, who founded the First Humanist Society of New York in 1929 and signed the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, made no secret of the purpose of the American public schools:
Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-school, 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?(4)
R. J. Rushdoony pointed out the Humanist design for education in Intellectual Schizophrenia (1961) and The Messianic Character of American Education (1963). According to Rushdoony, modern government education “is erosive and destructive of all culture except the monolithic state, which is then the ostensible creator and patron of culture. When it speaks of the whole child, it speaks of a passive creature who is to be molded by the statist education for the concept of the good life radically divorced from God and from transcendental standards.”(5) Rushdoony was not the first to understand the goal of statist education. Robert L. Dabney (1820–1898) saw it more than 100 years ago:
[T]he Jeffersonian doctrine of the absolute severance and independence of church and state, of the entire secularity of the State, and the absolutely equal rights, before the law, of religious truth and error, of paganism, atheism, and Christianity, has also established itself in all the States; and still the politicians, for electioneering ends, propagate this State education everywhere. By this curious circuit “Christian America” has gotten herself upon this thoroughly pagan ground; forcing the education of responsible, moral, and immortal beings, of which religion must ever be the essence, into the hands of a gigantic human agency, which resolves that it cannot and will not be religious at all. Surely, some great religious body will arise in America to lift its Christian protest against this monstrous result!(6)
For decades before the rise of Hitler, Christians were subjected to arguments like the following from pastors and theologians based on the two-kingdom theory:
- “The Gospel has absolutely nothing to do with outward existence but only with eternal life, not with external orders and institutions which could come in conflict with the secular orders but only with the heart and its relationship with God.”(7)
- “The Gospel frees us from this world, frees us from all questions of this world, frees us inwardly, also from the questions of public life, also from the social question. Christianity has no answer to these questions.”(8)
- Once the Christian understands the moral significance of the state, Wilhelm Hermann declared in 1913, “he will consider obedience to the government to be the highest vocation within the state. For the authority of the state on the whole, resting as it does upon authority of the government, is more important than the elimination of any shortcomings which it might have. . . . For the person who is inwardly free, it is more important [that] the state preserve its historical continuity than that he obtain justice for himself.”(9)
While many Germans might have been opposed to Nazi policies at a personal level, they had been conditioned to believe—because they were Christians living in two kingdoms operating with two sets of standards—that they could not do anything about these rapidly implemented policies at a political level.
What would America be like today if the Church of Jesus Christ had heeded Dabney’s warnings and some “great religious body” had arisen to make the break from an educational system that was designed to be the indoctrination center for the State and its messianic motives? The usual Christian response is to reform the public schools, to get more parents involved, sue to get a moment of silence, prayers at sporting events and commencement exercises, release programs, and pass laws to teach the Bible as literature. There’s the question of how the Bible will be taught. Will the Old Testament be taught as myth? Will someone teaching on the Olivet Discourse point out that Jesus was mistaken about His coming?(10) There is no neutrality in education. The sooner Christians understand this, the sooner they will be able to turn this nation around.Endnotes:
- “Students Defend Abortion For ‘High’ Social Reasons,” The Rutherford Institute (January/February 1984), 8(↩)
- Henry M. Morris, The Long War Against God: The History and Impact of the Creation/Evolution Conflict (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989).(↩)
- Francis Nigel Lee, Communist Eschatology: A Christian Philosophical Analysis of the Post‑Capitalistic Views of Marx, Engels, and Lenin (Nutley, NJ: The Craig Press, 1974).(↩)
- Charles Francis Potter, Humanism: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), 128. Quoted in David A. Noebel, J. F. Baldwin, and Kevin Bywater, Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism (Manitou Springs, CO: Summit Press, 1995), vi.(↩)
- R. J. Rushdoony, Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education (Vellecito, CA: Ross House Books,  1998), 10.(↩)
- Robert L. Dabney, Discussions of Robert Lewis Dabney: Secular, ed. C. R. Vaughan, 4 vols. (Harrisonburg, Virginia, Sprinkle Publications  1994), 4:548.(↩)
- Christian Ernst Luthard (1867). Quoted by Pierard from Karl H. Hertz, Two Kingdoms and One World: A Sourcebook in Christian Ethics (Minneapolis: Augusburg, 1976), 83.(↩)
- Quoted in Hertz, Two Kingdoms and One World: A Sourcebook in Christian Ethics, 87.(↩)
- Quoted in Hertz, Two Kingdoms and One World: A Sourcebook in Christian Ethics, 91.(↩)
- For a refutation of this claim, see Gary DeMar, Is Jesus Coming Soon? (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision,  2006).(↩)