Religion as Education - RR141A1
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Some years ago when I was a student, I took a course in comparative religions, and we had a textbook that immediately set my teeth on edge. It was a collection of so-called sacred writings of all the major religions of the world, collected by a man named Ballou and entitled: The Bible of the World.
I used a borrowed copy all the way through of a friend in an enjoining room in the dormitory because the title was so offensive to me. And I soon realized why I had reacted that way. For one thing, there is no book in the world in any religion that is comparable to the Bible, that declares that this is the infallible word of God. There are minor exceptions to that, the Koran to a degree, but the Koran itself is an imitation that came after Christianity, and there are serious problems with that.
But basically, all of these religions were incapable of producing a Bible because of their doctrine of God. Now, how can you have a Bible which gives the written, the sure, the infallible word of God, unless you have a God capable of speaking such a word? The other religions have no such doctrine concerning their God. In fact, in many cases its totally a mistake to speak of what they worship as being a God or God’s. For example, as we read Shinto writings the word God or Gods was frequently used, a translation of the Japanese word Kami. But Kami really means spirit, and in so many of the religions of the world instead of worshipping a sovereign God they worship a spirit, a limited spirit, sometimes a powerful spirit. But even if with some of the so-called advanced religions they have a word that is comparable to our word for God, it still does not give us a God who because he is sovereign and omnipotent, who because He made all things, and all things were made by Him and without Him was anything made that was made, the only word He can speak is of necessity an infallible word. That’s the unique fact about our faith. [00:04:02]
Because the God of Scripture is sovereign, and there...
Because the God of Scripture is sovereign, and there is none beside him: “I am the Lord and there is none other.” He can speak no word other than an infallible word. Therefore, our faith is a book religion. When we talk about the sacred writings of other religions we are talking nonsense. It is because the comparative religionists have looked at other religions in terms of the Bible; they’ve gone to these various religions and have sought writings by some religious leaders, and said: “Aha, here we have the Bible of Buddhism.” Or, “The Bible of Hinduism.” And they have taught some of these people to look upon some of their writings in that manner. But you see, in Buddhism and in Hinduism, to cite two of the greatest and most numerous religions in the world in terms of followers, there is no such thing as heresy. Because there is no such thing as truth.
I worked for about 4 years in the San Francisco Chinatown; this was back beginning in the 30’s into the early 40’s. I’ve never been anywhere where it was easier to bring people in to the house of God and harder to keep them. When I was there the roots of old china were very strong, there were many of the older women in the church, who had been brought up in the old practice of foot binding so that it took them about 30-40 minutes to walk half a block to the grocery store. As a result, Confucianism or Buddhism was very strong in their thinking, and there was no idea of truth.
I recall once, that this very brilliant young man, a college graduate, I’d been able to get to come to the meetings and he had been very enthusiastic. After six or 8 months, during which time he was there every morning for the class I taught, for morning worship, for evening worship and for the mid-week meetings, suddenly he stopped coming. I met him on the streets a few weeks later, and I asked him why he had not come. And he said: “Oh, but I don’t need it any more. It met a great need in my life for a time, and I’ve been recommending it to many of my friends as very helpful to them. But of course, I’ve out-grown my need for it.” Because of the radical relativism of Chinese thought, and the radical relativism of their Buddhist and Confucian backgrounds, there is no such thing as truth. And so it was easy to bring them into the church if they felt an emotional need for certain things that the church taught, but they could never see it as truth.
This is I believe incidentally that in the providence of God, China has gone Communist. In order that the old, hardened relativism should be broken, that the doctrine of truth, a word from God which is binding upon all men and true irrespective of what we may want or think. That’s a Biblical doctrine. Humanism does not have it; Dewey and pragmatism, progressive education, teach us that truth is what works for me. “If a lie works for me,” Nietzsche said: “It’s the truth, for me.” [00:08:58]
In one form or another that has been the faith of most...
In one form or another that has been the faith of most religions. As a result, outside of the Biblical Faith, there has been no infallible word. No doctrine of truth. This is what Pilot meant when he said and turned away: “What is truth? What an absurd doctrine to waste your time on.” Now as I indicated, Islam has imitated it, Mohamed having studied both the Bible and various, Jewish and Christian writings, put out an imitation Bible, but even there there are serious weaknesses in his doctrine of God which have militated against the uniqueness of truth, and so Islam looks for a Mahdi, another savior, and another word to come forth.
I’m speaking this afternoon first of all on religion as education. It is not an accident that our faith is the one faith that has led to education. Because it has a doctrine of God that makes for a written word and for truth. Hence when we speak of our faith we are speaking of a faith whose heart is education.
Now, let’s turn to the Old Testament and the ministry there. We find two kinds of ministers in the Old Testament, one the priest’s whose role was sacrifice, and the other the Levites. The role of the Levite’s is set forth in Deuteronomy 33:10 “They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law. They shall put incense before Thee, and hold burnt sacrifice upon Thy altar.” The second half of that verse deals with the role the Levites had to play in the temple and in preparing the sacrifice and in assisting the priests. That part, like the work of the priests, is finished. Their basic work however was: “They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments, and Israel Thy law.” The role of the Levite was education. This is why long ago Israel became the first people in the world to have universal education. The heart of the faith was the word of God, knowledge of that word was basic.
So very early, basic to the Old Testament faith was the school taught by the Levites. It was a part of the Synagogue when the Synagogue developed. Moreover, as we go through the Scripture we find that in every court there had to be a Levite next to the judge, and the Levite declared what the word of God was with regard to the crime that was on trial. The Levite did not say: ‘I find you guilty or innocent’, no, that was the task of the civil judge. What the Levite did was to say: “The charges being thus and so, here are all the scriptures that speak to that particular type of offense.” Moreover the rulers of the land were also to have a Levite at their right hand to instruct them in the word of God. [00:13:46]
Now, when the Christian church was established, it...
Now, when the Christian church was established, it was established as the new Israel of God, to replace the twelve tribes there were the twelve apostles; to replace the synagogue there were elders who were the rulers of the synagogue, who ruled according to the law. And to replace the synagogue school we had the Christian school.
As a matter of fact, we are told that when churches were first built they were not merely places of worship, but places for teaching and every church had a library. This was basic; a church was a library, a school, and a house of worship. And the worship itself was designed to instruct the people of God, hence the pulpit. The whole meaning of the pulpit is that basic to the house of worship is teaching in the word of God. That teaching was regarded as so central that one of the first things done in the church was to say that the teaching elder could not wait on tables. He had to give himself entirely to the ministry of the word and of prayer. This was taken very seriously. This had to be his entire function; the elders were to do the visitation, the deacons were to take care of the widows and orphans in the congregation, but the minister was expected to be able to confine himself to the ministry of the word, and prayer, and to have oversight over the school where the covenant children and any others they could bring in were to be taught in the word. Were to be educated so that they could read and know that word.
Now the whole difference between Eastern Christianity which stagnated and Western Christianity which grew and flourished was Christian education. The amazing fact is this: Eastern Christianity concentrated on worship and less and less on instruction and preaching, and went off into mysticism. [00:16:57]
The Eastern churches were dealing with the educated...
The Eastern churches were dealing with the educated part of the Roman Empire. The Western or Latin churches were dealing with Barbarians. We don’t often realize how barbarous the people of Europe were, of north Europe. Very commonly human sacrifice was practiced among them, the Saxons for example were very much given to it. And many other peoples as well. But it was the fact that education was so heavily stressed by the western churches, the Church of Ireland, before it became a part of Rome, and the early Roman missionaries and teachers, that made the west advance and past the east while the east stagnated. Every great period of advance in the life of the church has been preceded by an emphasis on Christian education.
Before the Reformation began you had a tremendous burst of interest in education, you had groups coming together of laymen and of women to be taught and to be instructed, and it is not without significance that Luther was a professor, and Calvin was not primarily a pastor, although he became such, but a writer, an educator. And he turned the church in Geneva into a place of daily preaching. The twenty thousand students that Luther taught, changed the face of Northern Europe. We do not yet know how many thousand Calvin taught in his daily teaching of the word in Geneva, but we know that they went out to set fire to all of western Europe.
Education was the key. Education you see is essentially a religious function. What education does is to communicate the basic values of a culture to the children. Now when I say education is essentially religion, I am not saying anything new, in fact Columbia teachers college in one of its publications about 20 years ago spoke of the basic task of education as religion. [00:20:03]
Of course there was no question in their mind what...
Of course there was no question in their mind what religion it was that the schools were to teach, and are teaching. Humanism. Thus, to put our children in the public schools is to bring them up into idolatry, the worship of man. To act as though God the Lord, the most important thing a man can do to know the Lord is irrelevant to education is to dishonor him in a fearful way; and if we stripped all the humanism from our public schools they would still be unfit for our children, because they ignore the Lord.
This fact was recognized by the founders of the public schools. They knew full well that the power of Christianity had been always in its educating work. And so they said: “We will take away the schools from the churches, from Christian hands.” Or very baldly as Charles G. Sumner, the great abolitionist senator from Massachusetts’s put it: “We must remove the serpent’s coils from around our children.” That’s how he regarded Christianity and Christian education. For him, it was the serpent. The child had to be freed.
These men believed emphatically in salvation through humanism. Horace G. Mann in arguing for state control of education said emphatically that if we could turn over education and the control of it over to the states we would in a century see this land purged of crime and of poverty. And if there were any jails left by the 1930’s and 40’s, a hundred years later, they would be museums, so that Americans in the 20th century would know what life was like in the old, bad day’s.
Of course, the number of criminals in Horace Mann’s day was few, the average age of criminals was 45. By 1960 it was 19. Humanism was producing its results. [00:23:14]
It was not without warning to the people of this country...
It was not without warning to the people of this country. In the 1870’s, a Californian was named Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and everything was done to deny him his appointment, because he had written a book entitled: The School Question. In that book, Zach Montgomery pointed out that in each state, as state control of education was introduce, crime began to increase. Because as the state took over the school, Christianity was carefully taken out of the curriculum progressively until it was just a little Bible reading and prayer, which lasted until not too many years ago. But the essentially Christian Character was stripped from the schools, and the crime rate began to go up.
No one questioned the facts of Montgomery’s book, religiously they opposed him, and they insisted as a matter of faith, that given enough time the humanists would give us a brave new world, with no problems in it.
Education thus is essential to religion. And if there is no growth in knowledge in a people’s faith, there is no growth spiritually. This is why as Christians we stress knowledge of the word and growth therein, but that knowledge and that growth will be made difficult if the child is reared up under humanism, and does not see the difference, so that he has an essentially schizophrenic outlook as he faces the world. [00:25:34]
It means starting children with a handicap, especially...
It means starting children with a handicap, especially today with the militant kind of humanism that the schools have had since the 60’s. By Federal statistics alone, today there are as of 5 years ago, 21 million students who have graduated and are illiterate. 21 million grad students of the public schools. Illiterate. Recently in California we had a scandal when it was discovered that a number of football players on a rose bowl team could not write an intelligent sentence or spell simple words, they were virtually illiterate, and they were about to get university degrees. At the same time it was estimated that there were 9 million more students who would be graduated as illiterate. Did you know that we have today the highest ratio of illiteracy in the history of this country? The highest ratio ever. We have never had illiteracy in all our history as a country to equal that which we have today.
Now let me spell out one thing more. Never before has unskilled labor been less in demand. Every year, the demand for unskilled labor decreases. What we are seeing is the growing technological development of society, so that one task after another has been taken over by technology. As a matter of fact we are today on the verge of a second industrial revolution, and do not dare enter in. Why? Well in the 1950’s when the computers and micro electronic techniques were first developed, to house a good sized computer took a very large room. The computer filled the room. Today that same computer vastly improved and capable of doing far more can be placed on my thumbnail. And it is produced at a dramatically cheaper price.
By means of computerization, a vast amount of jobs could be eliminated. New employment of an advanced sort created. Today we have a situation where the average American has through technology, electrical and other devices, 125 energy slaves. [00:29:23]
We are likely to lose many of those with current development...
We are likely to lose many of those with current developments, but we could develop up to three to five energy slaves per person by the end of this century, if our society could grow with it in terms of education. But what is happening? Because of the crisis in education, the oil companies today are faced with a crisis. As one oil company executive told me not too very long ago, he said: “We are in trouble economically. We could drop,” And he said it would depend on the oil company, “From 50 to 65% of our employee’s, by adopting some of the new micro electronic technology. And we would make more money, be able to produce gasoline more cheaply, and have a tremendous impact on the economy, but we can’t do it. Because we have too much labor today that is incapable of taking a place in an advanced technology, that is unemployable.” And every day the public schools are producing more and more of these illiterates, and near illiterates, who have no place in this modern world. And what is this going to produce for us? A world of break-downs, in which our advanced civilization will begin to decline and collapse.
One of the first things that came to me as I learned of the failure in Iran was: “I wonder. What were the mechanics like who worked on those helicopters before they took off?” Someone who retired not too long ago who had been stationed in what was known as Okinawa, for some American IBM missiles said: “One of our biggest problems is the break down of our technology.” And he said: “On one practice test when we were to respond on this practice alert to an attack on the United States, it was 18 hours after the alert that we were able to get our firing equipment in place, because one thing after another broke down.” Broke down because of some incompetence in the technological process. People who cannot read and follow directions properly, and cannot do things properly and the like. You see the seriousness of our crisis. Our government schools are destroying our culture and civilization not only morally and spiritually, but technologically. [00:33:15]
And at the same time the thing that frightens many...
And at the same time the thing that frightens many of these humanists is that the only ones who can meet the need are the graduates of the Christian schools. The graduates of the Christian schools who go through the 8 and 12 grades in a Christian school will test out, and this is from court room testimony, judge ordered tests, 3-5 years ahead of the public school pupils at least, and at best, far more in advance. Meanwhile, the 1969 9th grade reading requirements in the state schools are today the university freshman year reading requirements because of the decline that has set in there.
As a result, a major aero space corporations and others find it difficult to recruit on many campuses. I don’t know what your opinion may be with regard to Bob Jones University is concerned, and I know that there are many differences of opinion about it, but one thing is clear, they do give very consistent and solid training. And did you know that many of these corporations hit campuses like BJU before they hit some of the bigger ones when they are out recruiting? Because they know they are going to get a civilized person who can read and write, and has the basic competences and skills. He’s an educated man. What does this spell for the humanists? A tremendous threat.
“Why, the Christians are going to take over this country if we don’t do something to wipe out the Christian schools.” And hence, we have the attack on the Christian Schools, all over the country. Last two years I have been in and out of courts, and in and out of meetings with church groups, and a parents, to prepare them for what they are facing because of this determined attack, the attempt to destroy the Christian schools. [00:36:12]