Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Thursday, November 13, 2008

    John Frame On Education

    "To those who are offended by the advocacy of religion in the classroom, it should be replied that Christians have just as much right to be offended by the teaching of various secular philosophies, which disavow our need for God. Christians ought to express this offense (including their offense at having to pay for this brainwashing with their taxes) more consistently and severely. Why should offensive teaching be limited to “religious” expression in some arbitrarily narrow sense? Of course, if a more evenhanded view of these matters were to prevail, we would all have to accept equally the burden of possibly being offended, or we should eliminate public education entirely. Education in which people of all convictions are enrolled, but in which no one is offended, is not worthy of the name."

    From Apologetics To The Glory Of God, Footnote 3, p. 33

    17 comments:

    swordbearer said...

    Wisely put!

    But isn't it usually the case that those who cry offense the most believe offence on works in one direction. :)

    jazzycat said...

    "Education in which people of all convictions are enrolled, but in which no one is offended, is not worthy of the name."

    Excellent point. The fact is Christians get offended all the time.

    swordbearer said...

    Even moreso, Christ does! (which ought to cause believers to be more passionate and active about.)

    skeptimal said...

    Actually, secular doesn't mean "anti-religion." It just means you don't advocate for a particular religion in schools. You'd all be in favor of secularism if the majority religion in the U.S. was Islam.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal: "Actually, secular doesn't mean "anti-religion." It just means you don't advocate for a particular religion in schools."

    Response: We all know that this is wishful thinking. A secular society does advocate the religion of humanism over all other religions. That's the problem. Even the (very) few secularists who honestly want to find a neutral position regarding religion are participating in an exercise of futility. There is no neutral ground to be had.

    Skeptimal: "You'd all be in favor of secularism if the majority religion in the U.S. was Islam."

    Response: No, we'd be in favor of the true religion (Christianity) as opposed to the false on of Islam.

    skeptimal said...

    PL,

    "There is no neutral ground to be had."

    We're either with you or we are the enemy, eh? I don't see it that way.

    Puritan Lad said...

    No one ever does, because they want their worldciew to be correct by default. That, in there minds, is the neutral position, but that cannot be.

    For example, what is the neutral position on gay marriage, or abortion? What is the neutral position on praying in school?

    When they say that that don't want civil government to be a proponent of any religion, what they are in fact saying is that the civil government should be a proponent of their religious beliefs.

    Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, you are no exception. You want the civil government to be formed around your view of God, man, ethics, etc. That, to you, is the neutral position, but it is not neutral.

    skeptimal said...

    Puritan Lad,

    I really think your response hits at the heart of where we are misunderstanding each other. Your entire construct of secularism appears to me to be based on straw man arguments.

    "When they say that that don't want civil government to be a proponent of any religion, what they are in fact saying is that the civil government should be a proponent of their religious beliefs."

    Can you elaborate? Because I've never understood this argument from the religious right. I'm not neutral when it comes to religion, but I think it's important to build a government (and schools) in which people of differing world views are served with respect.

    A teacher in school has no place telling students there are no gods, for instance, because it would imply that Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and wiccan students are less welcome in the school.

    To hear you talk, however, it sounds as if you believe that any system is anti-Christian if it doesn't involve teacher-led and government-led evangelical prayers, the teaching of creationism and abolition of evolutionary science, and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion.

    jazzycat said...

    Puritan Lad,
    Excellent points.

    skeptimal,
    The last paragraph of your 6:23 comment illustrates your propensity for erroneous presuppostions and false charges!

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal, is there any limit to which worldviews you would include here? Should all worldviews be treated with respect? What about a worldview that disrespects all other worldviews? Hopefully, you see the logical problem with this.

    I don’t think the issue between us is a lack of understanding as much as it is a flat out disagreement. (Not all disagreements are based on misunderstanding. Sometimes, it can be very understanding). The point of my argument isn’t about respect. It is about how civil government, education, etc. should be run and what kinds of laws should be passed. Let’s take the abortion view for example. I base my view on the laws of the one true God, the Christian God. I have no respect for the view that babies should be murdered to the sake of convenience. Murder should be outlawed, and the murderer should be put to death. Protecting the life of the innocent is the most basic role of civil government, and any civil leader who refuses to do this in unqualified for his office. There is no neutral ground.

    On the other hand, you begin with the idea that all religions are the same, and that they should be given equal honor. There is absolutely no logical way to justify that idea, as I pointed out above. As a Christian, I have a Christian view of God, education, civil government, law, man and ethics. Therefore, I push for civil government to restrain itself to God’s laws, and that includes the First Commandment. You also have a view of God, man, ethics, religion, etc. It is not a Christian worldview, but is apparently a pluralistic one. Therefore, you form your view of government based on your pluralistic philosophy.

    So in the end, we aren’t that different with our approaches. We both form our view of government based on our religious beliefs (even if that belief is no belief). That’s why the label of the Christian worldview as “intolerant” is a farce. We are both intolerant of each others worldview, as can be seen by your last paragraph. I also don’t view “tolerance” as some supreme virtue. In fact, there are many things that, if we would tolerate them, would be anything but a virtue.

    That’s really the issue. We have two totally different worldviews, and they are inherently at war with each other. That is why there can be no neutral ground.

    So correct me if I’m wrong, but I do have an understanding of your worldview. I just reject it.

    Puritan Lad said...

    Skeptimal,

    For a simple illustration on why there can be no neutral ground, what is your view on the First Commandment?

    skeptimal said...

    JC said: "skeptimal, The last paragraph of your 6:23 comment illustrates your propensity for erroneous presuppostions and false charges!"

    Then straighten me out. Where is the erroneous presupposition or false charge? Repeatedly I hear the claim that there can no neutrality (i.e. mutual respect and non-sectarian government). What limits, then, would you put on government-led prayer? Would you allow the teaching of evolution as science? If the president, our judges, and our congress started all started ignoring laws that they felt were unscriptural, would that be too far?

    jazzycat said...

    skeptimal,
    To say that Christians want a state established religion is hogwash. The reason Christians left Europe was to escape state run religion. No Christian that I know wants anything to do with state run religion. Therefore your statement was an erroneous presupposition and a false charge

    .

    skeptimal said...

    Puritan Lad said: "(Not all disagreements are based on misunderstanding. Sometimes, it can be very understanding)."

    Ironically, if you think you need to point this out to me, then that proves we're still not understanding each other.

    I don't know what percentage of people out there believe there is more than one truth. I don't know what percentage think that if we all just understood each other, our disagreements would all just go away. I only know that I'm not one of them, and I don't know any.

    That perspective, frankly, does not deserve the attention devoted to it by the religious right.

    skeptimal said...

    Jazzycat said: "No Christian that I know wants anything to do with state run religion."

    How would you avoid it if your brethren say that there can be no neutral ground and that Christians should dictate the laws that are passed, the prayers that are offered, and what subject matter can be taught in schools? The fact that you want the church to run the government means that the government will be running the churches. There is no such thing as a one-way wall of separation.

    jazzycat said...

    skeptimal,
    You said.....
    How would you avoid it if your brethren say that there can be no neutral ground and that Christians should dictate the laws that are passed, the prayers that are offered, and what subject matter can be taught in schools?

    We call it the constitution and if we go by it by having judges uphold the constitution rather than ruling in favor of their personal policy preferences, then rights will be upheld. Therefore, if local majority Christian school boards allow prayer to the one true God without infringing on the rights of minorities to pray to their false Gods, then the state is not forcing religion on anyone. If allowing prayer in schools is forcing religion, then preventing prayer in schools is forcing atheism. Not allowing prayer meets the same standard of offending Christians as prayer meets the standard for offending non-Christians. SOMEONE GETS OFFENDED EITHER WAY.

    I was raised with prayer in public schools many years ago. Although my school was majority Christian, no one ever tried to force any kind of Christian practice on me. That would have been state sponsored religion. Many schools now ban any form of Christian practice, yet allow speakers to promote all kinds of anti-Christian practices such as abortion, homosexual acceptance, PETA, and so on. Is state sponsored naturalism not the state forcing atheism and the subject matter that is taught?

    Evolution is a theory that, even if it were true, stops well short of explaining the origin of matter and the universe. Not allowing creationism to be discussed is like teaching American History beginning in 1830 and not allowing anyone to even consider what happened before 1930, and all for the purpose of promoting a world-view other than the Christian world-view. As Puritan Lad has pointed out there is no neutral world-view and our current policy is forcing a state sponsored world-view on its citizens and is forcing other world-views into increasingly smaller boxes. The religion of naturalism is currently the state sponsored religion and we have the very thing the constitution is supposed to protect us from.

    skeptimal said...

    JC Said: "If allowing prayer in schools is forcing religion, then preventing prayer in schools is forcing atheism."

    That does not follow. First off, prayer has always been and always will be legal in school. *Teacher-led* prayers of students in the context of school activities is not allowed. Again: I have to think you'd be in favor of this if your children were being taught by a Muslim or a wiccan.

    Also, absence of prayer and atheism are two different things. In order for your comparison to be valid, you'd have to have a teacher teaching that there are no gods. That isn't happening, but if it does, it should be stopped.

    Finally, the constitution was written to protect everyone's rights, not just those religions that are in the majority. That was Thomas Jefferson's theme in writing the Danbury Baptists, when he used the phrase "wall of separation."