Feedback archive → Feedback 2017

Religion in schools?

A high school student from the U.S. wrote in with the following:

iStockphoto classroom
I must say, after reading most of the articles on this website, I am absolutely blown away by your audacity to write articles of this nature, especially referring to religion in public schools. To introduce myself, my name is [name removed for privacy], I’m 15, and attend a public high school in [location removed for privacy]. I went to church when I was younger, but after a few years I decided I did not support what the Christian church stood for. Back to religion in school, it is absent for a reason. If people would like to send their children to a private school to learn about creationism, it’s okay. I don’t agree, but it’s better than forcing all children to learn something that opposes Darwin. I just think you should do a little more research before writing articles that are incredibly biased. And, for the record, society is way too liberal to ever let religion into public schools. Thanks. Ps: love wins!!!

CMI’s Lita Cosner responds:

You remind me a lot of when I was a teenager and I first came across creation information. I thought it was a parody or a joke, because I had never even heard that there were people who thought the earth was only 6,000 years old. But when I actually considered creation and evolution, and which has the better foundation, I actually had to admit that creation actually explains the world better than evolution does. You can read about my testimony here. But I say that so that you know that I’m not trying to be condescending, but actually telling you what my teenage self had to learn.

First, I have to commend you. Reading most of the articles on this website is something few people have done. I can tell from your email that you’re an intelligent, well-spoken, polite person, and that puts you far ahead of many people who write in to us! To be where you are at 15 is quite an accomplishment. But I’m going to have to challenge some of your assumptions, and I hope that you’ll be able to follow my arguments and engage them critically. Can I challenge you to try to refute creationist arguments with sound logic and reasoning (not just repeating what your teachers have taught you), and see if our information holds up?

First, we do not support forcing teachers to teach creation, for the simple reason that we do not want to be portrayed misleadingly by teachers who disagree with us (see our position on The Teaching of Creation in Public Schools). Rather, we believe that parents are the God-given authority and as such have a responsibility to direct their children’s education. Second, it is not correct to say there is no religion in public schools. Rather, the religion of materialism has a monopoly on what is taught in schools. To say that people who disagree with materialism must pay extra to send their children to private schools or homeschool, while the secularists get uncontested control of the public schools which most Americans see as the ‘default’ option, is favoring the religion of materialism over others.

It is actually quite telling that you use the phrase “forcing all children to learn something that opposes Darwin”. Actually, the scientific mindset would say, “Let’s look at all the views. Does anything opposing Darwin have solid evidence behind it? Is there anything in genetics, biochemistry, etc, that is a problem for Darwin?” And there is an increasing number of Ph.D. scientists—who got their degrees in well-regarded secular universities—turning to biblical creation. The inventor of the MRI, the inventor of the gene gun, and the designer of a mechanism for bicycles used in the Olympics have all decided that the evidence is for biblical creation, not Darwin. That there are such qualified people on both sides gave me pause as a teenager, and I would suggest that it should for you, too.

Your declaration that ‘love wins’ is a common slogan, but have you thought about that? People for 6,000 years have understood that marriage was between a man and a woman. Even cultures like ancient Greece and Rome which celebrated male homosexuality understood that marriage was between a man and a woman, because only the union of a man and a woman can produce life. Even today, only the wealthiest, most decadent societies are trying to redefine what has universally been understood to be at the core of the definition of marriage—a husband and a wife.

Finally, you say you left the church because you disagree with what it stands for. You didn’t elaborate on that, so I can’t address your statement more specifically. However, I would encourage you to look at who Jesus is, rather than the faults of His followers. We are all sinful in so many ways, but God is perfect, and His Son, Jesus is the one to whom you should look.

I hope this answer is helpful and gives you some things to think about.

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Readers’ comments
John H., Australia, 4 February 2017
Yes, materialism and Secularism are religions. The term "Secularism" was first used by hard-core atheist and socialist George Jacob Holyoake in 1851, as a substitute word for atheism, because atheism was seen as a "negative word". Holyoake well knew that both meant to same thing and produced exactly the same godless outcome. Namely, an atheistic socialist-Humanist culture and lifestyle, "Without God, spirituality and alternative religions, particularly Christianity. Secularism is atheism, and atheism itself is a religion. A reality affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court itself. (Kaufman v. McCaughtry - 2005). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Atheism is a Religion because it is "religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being. As is the case with Zen Buddhism." To summarize: ATHEISM is a RELIGION, and SECULARISM is ATHEISM. Thus SECULARISM is the unconstitutional imposed State RELIGION.
Graeme M., Australia, 4 February 2017
Hi Lita, Sadly this young fellow is among many who are not aware that 'Darwinism' is really based on a philosophy and relies heavily on manipulated tests and results (alleged science) to achieve some form of credibility that it is a proven fact! In essence it too is really a 'religion' as it depends highly on 'faith' to its believers! Regards, Graeme.
Alan S., United Kingdom, 4 February 2017
Lita (please forgive me for addressing you personally) That is a loving answer, congratulations. A
S. H., United Kingdom, 4 February 2017
The correspondent has certainly been busy if they have fully read 'most of the articles' on this site. Fact is the US Constitution was written so that the state did not interfere with religion and not the opposite way round, which is how it has wrongly been re-interpreted. The original phrase was about fighting the imposition of rules from the oppressive British establishment church, hence the legislation to oppose state control of the church. Science and historical fact seem to have had no impact on the desire in the US to undermine truth.. We saw the same with the removal of creationism teaching in school in America which was a decision based on wrong and incorrect evidence. The same could be seen with abortion. If we are talking about belief systems in school, religion is already taught - the historically highly destructive and oppressive humanism (including Darwinism) which denies God, silences opinion, causes people to lose their jobs, and causes chaos even at the cost of science and historical fact. If we're talking about the catchphrase 'love wins', what exactly does this mean? What is 'love' and what does it 'win'? If we're talking about God's love, then yes, that does indeed supersede everything. But love doesn't mean 'go and do whatever you want at the cost to self and society - then expect everyone to agree with, promote and fund your behaviour regardless.' Instead, Godly love says, 'this is what God says, he knows best and shows us how to live life to the fullest.' Sometimes that includes discipline and saying no. If you love your child, would you let them run in front of a moving car? In the same way, God protects us. It's not a limit, it's a release into freedom. Now that kind of love... yes that wins!
Alan J., United Kingdom, 4 February 2017
Beautifully written, Lita
Lester V., United States, 4 February 2017
With regards to the fact that people leave the church because of how "Christians" behave (or they don't go to church at all), my comment is simple: "If you let a hypocrite come between you and God, then they are closer to God than you are." Don't look at the other runners in the race; look at the goal. Jesus is the Standard, and we are to be conformed to His image (Romans 8:29), not that of the frail, failing followers we run into.
Peter H., Canada, 4 February 2017
Good response. Well done.
Richard L., United Arab Emirates, 5 February 2017
Dear H.S. student, some encouragement—hopefully compatible with what Lita wrote. Please note various aspects of 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “but test all things, hold fast the good”: 1. This dual command from God is incredibly optimistic. We are commanded to test all truth claims—including those that are in tension with the Bible. We Christians are NOT to mentally duck out. Instead, we investigate, as part of testing. We uncover new information. God is clearly not afraid of what we will turn up. Therefore, neither should we. (Have some Christians modeled a more negative response to you? If so, I apologize.) We actually are confident that increased findings will crowd science toward Christ / the Bible. So, CMI (and other such groups), having this mindset, investigate and write up detailed reports. Since God is so positive about his being proved true that he commands these actions, could you please reconsider (if you have seen opposite modeling) where you now think we stand? Please do self-examination, meta-cognitively. Maybe we do have the right stuff after all. 2. Please note how pro-science, pro-knowledge, and pro-integrity this dual command is. Please test not only truth-claims but also labels. Maybe the “anti-science” label attached to our truth claims is undeserved. Maybe evolution has yet fallen short of compelling proof, with aggressive evolution-promotion in surrounding culture disguising this lack. 3. This dual command produces balance. We not only are to find flaws in truth-claims but we are also commanded to hold fast (affirm) where surrounding human wisdom gets it right. We do agree with all scientists about a core of true hard fact. 4. Obedience digs up hidden speculation, freeing us from false obligation. Has such previous capture happened to you? Inspect!
Nathan G., Germany, 5 February 2017
I am impressed by your polite tone. But I think your youth and inexperience needs to confront a few honest, adult comments: 1) "If people would like to send their children to a private school to learn about creationism, it’s okay." Thanks so much for your approval. If the majority of your State ever votes to remove Darwinism from schools completely, are you also willing to attend private school to learn Darwin's(alleged) science as a minority? 2) Education is a power guaranteed to the States by the Constitution. Why is the Supreme Court meddling in this area? The "separation of church and State" myth is not in the Constitution. Jefferson wanted to protect the church FROM the State! This nonsense is simply the unelected, very liberal, radically political Supreme Court ignoring the will of the people and ruling by judicial fiat. It is effectively legislating and, therefore, unconstitutional! The USA protects the religion of Darwinism! Highly illegal! 2) "I don’t agree, but it’s better than forcing all children to learn something that opposes Darwin." Not agreeing doesn't guarantee your opinion is correct. Nor does it give you the right to take away my Bill of Rights guarantee to religious liberty. The federal government cannot forbid prayer in school, creation beliefs, etc. Period. 3) As a science teacher I will tell you that the majority in science is wrong more than right. It is usually corrected by an unpopular, outside, minority view. 4) Darwin, Huxley, Lyell and Haeckel were all radically anti-Christian and sought to get rid of the Bible. Why? 5) Do you want to be force-fed a belief system? No. So why should millions of Christian adults pay billions in taxes to indoctrinate their children in a hostile, godless religion? 6) Carbon-14 = young earth Research!!
Dylan Biggs D., United States, 6 February 2017
Not surprising...the philosophy and pseudoscience of naturalism in our education system seems forceful to me at times. Glad a sermon about the resurrection of Jesus and arguments for God by a youth pastor last year woke me up. I'm just 16 years old I can't believe I woke after that. But moreover, CMI would agree, but people like William Lane Craig (who is a literal God sent man by all means), isn't helping in this matter. Just recently watched the debate with him and Hitchens. Hitchens mentioned how we came from Africa and so forth. Craig responded about how the chances of Evolution are awfully low and that you can have any interpretation of Genesis 1 you want. If he knew the young earth model and believed in it, he could have put naturalism in the ground... It amazes me how so many Christian intellectuals (especially the ones who are apologists), think they can mix a lie with the truth..I don't think their going to hell but, it just makes me kind of angry.
Rob L., Canada, 6 February 2017
I would be interested in hearing how an evolutionist (a) defines love and (b) explains its origin.
Willem D., Netherlands, 6 February 2017
"Ps: love wins!!!" It would be more accurate for a Darwinist to say "the fittest wins" and for an atheist to say "we all lose" because in the long run, even the memory of what once was will be lost forever. And how can such a worldview possibly be non-religious?
Richard G., United Kingdom, 17 February 2017
I am saddened by the young man's response - because it's typical of what's going on these days. Young minds are being influenced by the popular media, so people feel they have to have an opinion about everything, whereas they are still developing their capabilities. They don't seem to understand that schools are for learning, and learning is the education in the Knowledge, wisdom and understanding of how things are. And there is an awful lot of it to learn. The problem, we don't find out that we've been spoon-fed the wrong things, until later on. Faith in God and in the Created order is a well-established system of knowledge which has proven itself for many, many, years. each generation comes along, thinking that it can re-invent the wheel. only to find out it's been right there all along.