Indoctrination, Sin, Good, & Critical Thinking

Comment:

Your enterprise of indoctrination fails to explain how a child can be kept away from god and still taught to be a good person, even one who avoids all the sins that you want to save your child from. Apparently god is not needed so your indoctrination is still just that, and an evil in and of itself because it robs that child of the skills of critical thinking.

Reply:

First, one is naïve to think that there is a vacuum in which indoctrination is absent. If I leave my children in the hands of government educators there is an agenda in the education process beyond the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Government run schools have a structured agenda of indoctrination towards secular humanism. In other words either I indoctrinate my children or I let someone else do it. I choose to indoctrinate my children with my beliefs and values rather than letting the government instill its values and beliefs in my children.

Second, children can be kept away from God and taught to value the mores and norms of society and be thought of as good decent people. However, the problem is our definition of good and the standard for that good. Based upon societal mores and norms good is a sliding scale as demonstrated by the premise of the new sitcom New Normal. What once was considered a horrendous taboo in society has increasingly become more accepted and normal, thus shifting the definition of good. Yet, if one understands that there is an absolute standard of good no matter what society may think or do good never changes. This is the biblical or theistic understanding. Biblically good is not determined by man but God. In fact good is not good enough because the biblical standard is perfection as demonstrated by the Ten Commandments. We may think a man is good even if he has told a lie, or stolen some insignificant item, or lusted after a person. We may say, hey that’s normal everyone does that. But, if the standard is perfect adherence to the whole law then we stand guilty before a holy and just God who has the right to sentence us to suffer the punishment of our crime.

Third, it is not the sins from which I want my children to be saved. It is the eternal consequences of sin from which I want them to be saved. That is something only God can do. He did deal with sin once for all through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ who live a sinless life and died on the cross suffering the penalty for sin and the wrath of God so that if I believe in Him I can be deemed not guilty before God.

Finally, critical thinking is not something that is absent from a Christian worldview. Critical thinking is in fact encouraged in the Bible. Believers are taught to test every doctrine and truth. The difference is the standard upon which our critical thinking rests. Critical thinking is determining what is true and false, what to believe or discard, and how to act in relation to those decision. All of these decisions are based upon our epistemological frame work. As you know, epistemology deals with knowledge and justified belief and those conditions necessary for each. I agree with Alvin Plantinga that belief in God is a properly basic belief and is the foundation of all true knowledge and justified belief. Upon this foundation my worldview is formed and my critical analysis of all truth is filtered.

Grace,

Ronnie

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About Ronnie Knight
Follower of Christ, Husband, & Father. B.A. in Theology Masters of Divinity

2 Responses to Indoctrination, Sin, Good, & Critical Thinking

  1. “Government run schools have a structured agenda of indoctrination towards secular humanism. In other words either I indoctrinate my children or I let someone else do it.”

    That is simply paranoid thinking. In stating it you have vilified secular humanist values as well. You then state that if you don’t indoctrinate your children they will learn something else as if something else is bad, without verifying that something else IS bad; that only your beliefs can be good. This is heinous.

    “I choose to indoctrinate my children with my beliefs and values rather than letting the government instill its values and beliefs in my children.”

    Now you have gone full hog. Only your beliefs are correct. It is not up for question, it is not a case of anything about the child, but simply what you believe whether it is right or wrong. The government is the bad guy, and you say this without validation that what is being taught is wrong. You choose to decide what your children should learn no matter that it is completely divorced from what is known to be true.

    Then you commit a basic fallacy that even you should know better than to do. You say that secular morality is a sliding scale kind of thing, but you your self do not believe in stoning those who eat pork or crabs, nor women who are raped. You have a sliding scale of morality but accuse others of misdeeds when they are able to adapt to new information. Shame on you. You speak with a forked tongue. You are a hypocrite, plain and simple.

    You have no proof of eternal consequences. Your indoctrination places blame on the child for the sins of the parent, or worse, the sins of a person that never existed.

    In your last paragraph you then talk about critical thinking. The entirety of it explains why all morality is subjective… you have said that you choose to use your bible as a guide… yet morality and judgement remains within and based upon that choice.

    You have shamed yourself here.

    • In the January/February 1983 issue of The Humanist magazine, a young scholar by the name of John J. Dunphy expressed the aim of humanists in education with these very blunt words:
      “I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects that spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of educational level — preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.” Dunphy cites this here in an article on the Council for Secular Humanism.
      I would simply refer you to this article Education and New Age Humanism.
      Or this article About the Humanist Teacher Corps.
      Or this article in The Humanist.
      The idea of secular humanism in public education is not that paranoid. Furthermore, secular humanism is a religious worldview just like Christianity is a religious worldview. Both have epistemological understandings with are in opposition to one another. Secular humanism derives its basis for morality in humanity or the natural. I agree that secular humanism does have a system that takes into consideration the changing data of humanity in relation to morality and adjust its moral standards based upon their understanding of that data. Christianity does not. Christianity basis morality on an absolute standard derived from the very character of God as reviled in the Bible. I know that secular humanists do not accept the Bible as truth much less the existence of God. However, secular humanism is based upon a system of beliefs that are generally atheistic or at least agnostic. I simply disagree with the fundamental premises upon which secular humanism is founded.
      I do believe that the Bible is the word of God and I base my worldview upon the truths and doctrines found in it. Secular humanists believe religion (particularly Christianity) is a detriment to society; I believe that secular humanism is a detriment to society. Does that mean I have vilified those who hold to that belief? I don’t think so. It simply means that I think the beliefs upon which they base their worldview are incorrect and the beliefs I find in God’s word are correct.
      I am not sure about your statement concerning matters “completely divorced from what is known to be true.” If you are referring to the existence of God or the validity of the Bible then I would simply say that there has not been one scientific discovery that has disproved the existence of God, hence the continued debate by prominent scholars on both sides. Yet, there are very good philosophical arguments which show that the existence of God is very likely. I would suggest you read this about the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God.
      Furthermore, the Bible is the most historically attested book in all of antiquity. I would recommend this interview with Dr. William Lane Craig. This is also a good resource by Dr. Gary R. Habermas. Here is another good resource from Josh McDowell. I would simply ask how you came to the conclusion that God does not exist.

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