Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Real Education

I believe some conservative Christians oppose high education for the exact same reason they oppose public schooling: FEAR
College campuses do challenge traditional values and tend to lean heavily left-ward. All you need to do is sit through an orientation session at a college (even in a fairly conservative area) and you soon will discover that you aren't in Kansas anymore. You learn about tolerance for "alternative" lifestyles, how not to get date raped and where to get free condoms. I wish I still had a copy of the "stop the hate" week events.
There are pressures present on a college campus that you might not find anywhere else. I do not believe that a Christian is not called to cower in fear, but is to confront the culture. It does seem that a whole lot of children raised in a church setting abandon their religion in the four years they were on a college campus.
Before anyone becomes confused about where I stand, I believe that going to college is an excellent opportunity to learn about other people. I take the same stance on college as I do with public schooling: I think it is a good option that will help build a person's perspective. College doesn't create the weak faith, but it does expose weak faith.

To a certain degree I agree that we should never avoid education because of fear. We are not supposed to separate from the world, or be naive of the world. Yes, we are to be innocent as doves, but also as shrewd as serpants. We cannot truly minister to the world unless we know the world.

But we need to know the world from God's perspective. This is why I do not send my children to public school during grade school. I don't believe that they are established well enough in the worldview of Jesus to be handed over to the world for their education. When it is time, when they understand what we believe and why we live how we do, and also are able to make choices on their own based on what is real and not just because of social pressure, then I send them to school.

As far as college goes, it isn't necessary, but I would encourage my children to go if they wanted or needed to in order to do what God wants them to do.
-Steve K

However, I do wonder if all this sheltering and protecting children is effective for preserving faith... what kind of faith can't stand up to any testing? Is it real faith or just an illusion of faith? Can faith really be preserved?

I for one am not convinced that indoctrinating our children and keeping them isolated from the world will produce any signficant difference in results. True, by keeping them close to home with good social pressure we might be able to get them to appear right on the outside... but is that our goal?

Kinda like the Prodical son vs. the son who stayed home... did the son at home develop as a person by being isolated from harmful influences? Who's faith became greater as that story progressed?

I agree that there is no cause for sheltering our children. However, we also shouldn't thrust our children out into a world of hostility without training or an example.

I homeschool my children in the context of a household and a church where there are drug addicts, mental illness, people threatening my life, deaths, AIDS, conflict-- as well as laughter, hope, prayer and recovery from addiction. So they see my wife and I deal with all of these issues. This is their true schooling, more than Bible studies and math problems.

So I agree. If homeschooling is "sheltering" children from the world, then it is not a full education. But if homeschooling is integrated with exposure to the real world and a Christian response to it, then it is far better than sending a six-year-old to public school and saying, "Okay, now go and deal with it" How can they know unless they are taught?
Steve K

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