Don’t Check Your Brains at the Schoolhouse Gate!

On August 19, 2008, I joined a panel of Christian school educators on Steve Deace’s WHO AM-1040 Radio program to discuss a recent California Supreme Court ruling which upheld The University of California system’s right to deny college credit to students who had taken Christian school science classes which used textbooks teaching the biblical account of creation.

The specific books in question were published by Bob Jones University, a long-standing Christian university, and A Beka books of Pensacola, Florida – a prominent publisher of Christian school textbooks. In the California Supreme Court ruling, the written judgment stated that these textbooks do not promote “critical thinking,” apparently because the textbooks indicate that any information which is inconsistent with biblical truth should be dismissed as falsehood. The majority of the judges also took exception with the Bible being “the unerring source for analysis of historical events.” Des Moines Christian School and nearly all of the other Christian schools of Central Iowa use textbooks from these same publishers.

Radio program co-host Jen Green posed the following question as set-up for the panel’s discussion – What does this decision mean for Iowa’s private schools?”

During that radio program, I very much enjoyed my interaction with Mrs. Green, Mr. Deace, and two fine science teachers from Iowa Christian Academy of West Des Moines. Air time did not allow me the opportunity to share all of my ideas on this important question, but I thought you might be interested in a more full disclosure of the ideas which I prepared for the radio broadcast. (The major themes are bold-faced for your convenience.)

For me, this judgment of the California Supreme Court is a part of the cosmic battle between the biblical worldview and the many competing worldviews of our time. Naturalism, in the case of Darwinianism, is drowning-out God’s truth about creation, for example. We should not be surprised when we encounter such passionate beliefs which are antithetical to biblical truth.

One of my fellow radio show panelists made an excellent point. He believes – and I agree – that the evidence falls firmly in support of Creation Science, and the matter has essentially been “decided,” but liberal media sources conditioned by Darwinists and Darwinianism continue to keep the debate alive.

Also, this is a free speech issue. Shouldn’t Christians be allowed to believe and state beliefs which are in opposition to other contemporary worldviews? Why is it that some points of view are politically correct to share in public, while Christian beliefs are often marginalized as “fantasy” or “myth”?! Christian thoughts are often presented as “soft” and, as the California court concluded, not “critical thinking.”

Spiritual or religious thinking should not be “squishy” or “fuzzy” or “inferior.”

Do we really live in a true “marketplace of ideas”? I think not. Liberal professors at government-run universities ironically suppress the free speech of professors who believe in Creation Science. Ben Stein had that point right in his movie, Expelled.

Some of the great intellectuals in history believed in Creation Science –

  • Kepler
  • Galileo
  • Pascal
  • Boyle
  • Sir Isaac Newton
  • Jesus, the most brilliant thinker who ever was or will be!

Why do so many people believe in evolution? Evolution is a THEORY supported by little evidence or FABRICATED evidence, yet evolution is a default belief of our culture. Darwin still “rules from the grave,” as the book with the same phrase indicates. Now, that being said, I know there is disagreement in the Christian community about micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Personally, I believe that physical adaptations have occurred over time (micro-evolution), but I do not believe that whole species have changed over millions and millions of years (i.e., primordial ooze becoming fish, which in turn evolved into land animals, apes, and human beings). God created all beings as unique beings during His six-day creation. I personally believe that said creation took place during six 24-hour days, but I won’t get hung up on this disputable matter with brothers and sisters in Christ who believe those days may not have been literal 24-hour days. I hope to know the truth in heaven when I speak to Jesus face-to-face!

I believe John 1:3 to be literal truth – “Through [God] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

Still, from my point of view, it takes more faith to believe in evolution than to believe in creation!

Some scholars believe “religion” and “science” should be separated, but a Christian believes that religion integrates with science – in fact, religion CANNOT be separated from science. Science is GOD’S science. God essentially “created” science.

I have taught educational leadership classes at Drake University all of the last 12 years. A high school science teacher in one of my classes once asked, “Do you teach evolution at Des Moines Christian?” I wasn’t quite sure about the thought or belief which motivated his question. Did he think we were so dogmatic in our teaching about creation at Des Moines Christian School that we would not allow any teaching about evolution? Did he believe this was such a controversial issue that teaching of evolution would divide the body at DMC? Of course, we should teach about evolution at Des Moines Christian! Otherwise, how would Christian students be able to defend their biblical worldview against those who hold to evolution as a religion in and of itself?!

A Christ-centered school should be all about the business of education and not be accused of indoctrination!

And we most certainly DO teach critical thinking at DMC. Our mission says as much – “Equipping the next generation to think, DISCERN, and act through biblically-directed, Christ-centered education.” Discernment IS critical thinking. We are not training students to think like automatons. They must learn to digest information and discern truth from falsehood.  Christian philosophers and theologians like C.S. Lewis, Dallas Willard, J.P. Moreland, R.C. Sproul, Os Guiness, Ravi Zacharias, and John Piper are some of the most brilliant thinkers I have ever read. Christian Ken Ham has done seminal work in analysis of Creation Science.

We are called to “love the Lord with all of our minds.” We Christians, I believe, generally concentrate on loving the Lord with all of our hearts, soul, and strength. But, in an era of decided anti-intellectualism, we must place more emphasis on loving the Lord with our minds!

Truth is truth. Whatever the source – whether from non-biblical or biblical sources – as the Holy Spirit “in-forms,” truth is known.

But we need to be careful that we are wise as serpents and gentle as doves. We need to be winsome, not dogmatic. There should be no appearance or perception of judgmentalism. Being too sure of ourselves wreaks of arrogance.

That being said, though, we should not be ashamed of truth, and we should boldly state what we believe.

Could what happened in California happen in Iowa? Most assuredly! Parents must not abdicate their biblical responsibility to educate their children, and parents must disciple their children, teaching them to think critically. We Christians must not “check our brains” at the schoolhouse gate. We must be very diligent to protect freedom of speech and belief in knowledge which is consistent with biblical truth. We must know what is going on in the courts and legislature. We must lobby our State Senators and Representatives, so our rights are not taken away from us. And, by all means, Christians must love the Lord with all of our minds!

A free society hinges on our active engagement.

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