People call Christians “anti-science” all the time. The opposition to the theory of evolution is probably the single greatest reason for that. But there is a broader accusation about education as a whole. Do Christians just want to take their kids away from public schools to keep them from being influenced by secular studies and people? Are Christians anti-education?
Christians Have Historically Been Pro-Education
This is one of those questions that focuses on modern western Christians rather than the global and historical church. Christianity played a large role in the history of education. Many of the world’s most renowned universities started as Christian institutions, even if they have since distanced themselves. Even many of the concepts used in education today, like grades and standing faculty, came from Christians. When your religion involves a sacred book, of course, you have a vested interest in promoting reading.
Ignatius, a student of the apostle John, instructed parents to “bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and teach them the holy scriptures, and also trades that they may not indulge in idleness.” Yes, teach the Bible, but teach everything else too. Christians were not anti-education back then, at least.
Christianity as a Worldview Promotes Education
Setting aside history, Christianity is pro-education, even in theory. Many assert that Christianity promotes blind faith and that no knowledge or education is needed. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus told his followers to make disciples of all nations. In other words, teach this to everyone. Christianity has never been built on wise proverbs or parables but adds them onto a rich doctrine built on order and reason.
God created a world that can be known and discovered. Jesus told people to love the Lord with their minds, and what better way to do that than getting an education? In that sense, education is an opportunity to worship God. Math and science make perfect sense as an extension of a person’s belief in God. The religion is built on objective historical claims that are either true or false and can be studied. Christianity itself is not anti-educaiton.
Are Christians Anti-Education Today?
It’s one thing to say that Christians promoted education in history and theory, but what about today? Have we drifted? I don’t think so. Of course, there are examples of Christians who are anti-education. Some people want to hide from the world’s troubles and not let their children be exposed to them. I can’t deny that. However, I think more broadly that what Christians oppose is education that discourages critical thinking.
Christians are not afraid of learning how to think. They get worried when schools tell them what to think. Many schools have stopped pretending that they are trying to be objective to the point that even skeptics are noticing. Information is not our enemy. Some modern Christians may be anti-education, but most of us are just anti-bad education.
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