RRD:I wish to preface my excerpt of Ms.VanDamme’s piece,with these statements.
(Her article is quite long,and valuable for its methodological critique of Secular Classical Education in addition to the parts excerpted below,I urge you to read the whole thing).
I believe that parents have the right to give their children a Christian Classical Education,a secular classical education,a Objectivist education etc.,without interference from the state.
I believe Ms.VanDamme agrees with me on this.
It is unfortunately necessary to say this,since we live in a world where the government is a increasingly intrusive part of our lives.
To the extent I would oppose giving a Christian Classical Education to a child,I would do so by means of persuasion,and rational argument;not force.
Second I am less convinced than Ms.VanDamme seems to be that the children who emerge from a Christian Classical Education would wage “a full-fledged war against reason”.
In my experience,strict religious schools tend to be very effective;at “producing” atheists,(or skeptics).
However the fact that a school would declare the Enlightenment to be a enemy to be vanquished,when this country and its freedoms were the product of the Enlightenment,is alarming to me.
Still I agree with Ms.VanDamme,as to whether this is a appropriate,or valuable method of education.
“The False Promise of Classical Education” by Lisa VanDamme
….”To grasp the breadth of Christian classical education’s anti-educational views, consider
this: The author of an extremely popular curriculum describes an “overall plan for education, laying out an entire curriculum for the home educator.
This overall plan for education must have a theological center which encompasses every single subject.” Is this the
curriculum of Foundations Academy or Logos
School? No—it is a description of The Well-Trained Mind by its author, Susan Wise Bauer—
not in the book (which mentions but downplays the authors’ religiosity) but in an essay on the
Internet explaining the value of the book to Christians.
Bauer defends her and her mother’s impeccable
Christian credentials, and defends the seeming
secularity of the book by saying that true Christianity demands that textbook authors not
provide “this theological center.”
”The church of Christ, not textbook writers,should be responsible for providing the central Christian story that must inform all true education. . . . a Christian education can only be
provided by a Christian community—parents, in
obedience to and in faithful relationship with
their local church. ”
Having indicated that Christianity in its modern
form is too individualistic, because it gives words too much weight over community
authority, Bauer makes this view explicit by approvingly quoting Robert Godfrey of the
Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals:
”Many people do not like the idea of a disciplined
church. They believe they should be able to do whatever is right in their own eyes. Such an
attitude reflects the militant individualism of our society.
But it does not reflect Christ’s teaching about the life of his church. Proper discipline by
the officers of the church is necessary for the
well-being of individual Christians as well as for
the church as a whole.
Such discipline can take
place only in the context of membership in a
local church. ”
This is the ultimate consequence of Christian classical education: not excited, eager,independent minds,but “disciplined,” slavish
young followers of dictatorial Christian communities.
If you want to see concretely the kind of children these indoctrinators aim to produce
and are in fact producing, watch the recent documentary “Jesus Camp,” which follows a
summer camp called Kids on Fire run by evangelical Children’s Pastor Becky Fischer,which trains members of “God’s Army.” In one scene early in the documentary, Fischer speaks
admiringly of the methods used to “disciple” children throughout the Muslim world.
”It’s no wonder with that kind of intense discipling and training, that those kids are willing
to kill themselves for the cause of Islam.
I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the
young people are to the cause of Islam.
I want to see them as radically laying down their lives
for the gospel as they are over in Pakistan and in Israel and in Palestine, because we have, excuse me, but we have the truth! ”
I do not know how widespread such camps are,
but I do know that the ranks of Christian
classical educators are many and growing—and
they are training the next generation for a full-
fledged war against reason—or, as the Academy
of Classical Christian Schools calls the enemy,
“the soul-destroying Enlightenment.”