- Published on Saturday, 16 February 2013 06:25
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 407
Why do Churches want to have their own schools and Universities? The obvious answer is that they want to protect their children from losing their faith. But why is there a danger of losing your faith at a secular school? Some answers are obvious and others not so much. If teachers teach that all religions are much the same, that any of them can get you "saved", then the kids might start to look around. A school or University run by a single religion would avoid that risk. But the biggest risk is that secular schools might teach you to think for yourself - about anything and everything. Then faith is likely to give way to reason and the indoctrination up to that point could be destroyed.
In primary schools, religious schools simply expand on what the parents teach - the stories, the dogmas, the virtue of belonging to the "one true faith".
In secondary schools, it's more a defense against the seditious talk by other students. In mixed religion schools, kids might learn about other religions and might find them attractive. In addition, the "values" of their religion can be taught by example. For example, they might learn that despite talk by the "world out there" that their own version of God is peaceful and good. If others quote their God (or Allah) as their inspiration and murder others, then they have the wrong interpretation of their faith. This can reinforce their beliefs and is especially important since high school is when children do some of their own thinking. They can also be taught (indirectly) that their faith does not follow the rules of science - it is not subject to logical thinking. Faith also does not follow a major rule of art which says that there is no "right answer or method".
But the time when most children become adults and truly start thinking for themselves is at College and Universities. Arguably, the purpose of Universities is to teach problem solving and clear thinking. This "growing up" happens not only in the classrooms and labs but also in the societies that form around tertiary schools. That's why there are so many controversial speakers invited to Universities - students truly want to hear both sides of the story. At this age, students are also idealistic - they have not yet developed the cynicism of the motives of others that older people have learned. That's why leftist thinking is so strong there. They also dream about improving the world. All this comes from independent thinking and it's good that at least some parts of our society think this way. But then the obvious question comes up: why does God allow the world to be so screwed up? They then start to ask more questions.
The idea of a Christian (or Muslim) University is to prevent this independent thinking - to guide students towards the "right" answers. (Note that "Muslim" Universities are not as prevalent since in Muslim countries, the secular Universities are mostly in fact Muslim.) The easiest way to "guide" is to make it clear that religion/theology works by a different set of rules. When something does not make sense because it is irrational, then students are told to refer to their "authority" who has provided an answer. This authority is called "God" (or Allah) even though there is no unambiguous and verified communication from him; only books written centuries ago which are difficult to interpret. But this is not a problem! Interpretation is done by "expert" theologians so students should simply believe what these experts say. This approach and thinking is not how science or the humanities are taught - so a secular University effectively teaches students that their religion is wrong because it's irrational or at least does not allow for individual interpretation.
This conclusion can be proved by talking to Christian graduates of secular Universities. Invariably, they have made their own interpretation of their religion. Most of them have rejected several key dogmas. This is because they have learned to think for themselves so have adapted what they have learned earlier to get maximum comfort and minimum conflict with rational thinking. This is exactly the result that Christian Universities are trying to avoid. If they can convince students that Faith and reason do not conflict (even though they do), then they can keep more in their fold. Thinking people might even question their priests, ministers, pastors and imams? Heaven forbid. As several wise men have said: Religion is all about power and control.