Volume 9, Issue 5: Repairing the Ruins
Monuments of Ignorance
Why do we have government schools? What is their purpose? Are they fulfilling that purpose? Are they even capable of fulfilling their purported purpose?
Ostensibly, government schools were established to impart knowledge. Knowledge is an abstract concept. We do not see knowledge, taste or smell knowledge, or even hear or touch knowledge. It is not made of matter, but rather it describes, quantifies, evaluates and explains the material universe in which we live and the events that precede and surround us in our universe. We cannot quantify knowledge in an empirical sense as we would a volume of milk, the number of cookies on a plate, the mass of a filet mignon, the length of a piece of string, the color of a rose, et cetera. We want to assert that we can quantify it by exams, but really this is only a measure of the knowledge gleaned by a particular individual and not a measure of knowledge itself.
Our government schools are built upon the philosophical foundation of pluralism, the idea that every system of belief (religion, or system of ultimate absolutes) is as equally valid as any other system of belief (with the one exception of Christianity, since it denounces all other systems of belief as false). In the government school system, all knowledge is considered to be religiously neutral. That is, it exists independent of any particular system of belief. In the government schools, knowledge is treated as the philosophical equivalent of tofu to which any belief system may be used to spice it up and serve it with the flavor that appeals most to those who hold to that system. Since all belief systems are held to be equivalent, there is no ultimate, absolute truth to which anyone may appeal.
But does such a philosophical foundation firmly support the rest of the structure? Does pluralism provide the epistemological underpinnings necessary to gird up the process we have come to call education?
Since the government schools deny any source for knowledge except man's determination of it, how do they prove that what they are imparting is truly knowledge? They assert that it is, but how can they prove it? How can they demonstrate that what they profess to be teaching is in fact, knowledge? They want to assume ultimate absolutes without any consistent, intellectual basis for doing so.
Pluralism, in asserting that all belief systems are equally valid is simultaneously, yet subtly, proclaiming that none of them is really true. How is this so? Since there are so many competing belief systems and all of them are antithetical to one another in some, if not many, aspects, and since opposing truths cannot both be consistently shown to be simultaneously true, then the government school system is in effect denouncing the belief systems of each of the families that send their children to be educated within their schools. Further, if none of the belief systems are true, then there is no basis for any real knowledge since knowledge, as in every aspect of life, must be based on some ultimate system of absolutes.
In effect, what we have in this country is a school system that asserts its supreme authority to educate our youth, while at the same time denying that there is any real basis for knowledge. What kind of an education system is that? School boards meet and debate in order to provide direction to school administrators how to best run the schools. Administrators work diligently to hire the best teachers, to provide the best pedagogical systems and facilities, to obtain the best text books, all within their swelling budgets. And teachers endeavor to give the best instruction they can to the children that trusting parents send into their classrooms. All of these layers of effort strive together to impart knowledge to our progeny, and it's all based on a system that provides no consistent basis for any knowledge whatsoever! This is truly a colossal and extravagant exercise in futility and absurdity.
On the other hand, Christianity is the only belief system that consistently provides a sound foundation for knowledge. All knowledge derives from the one Creator God of the Bible. All knowledge has its source in Him (Col 2:2,3). If someone should want to deny God, they then must deny any and all absolutes, and, hence, even the very concept of knowledge becomes ludicrous and absurd. In a godless universe, there is no basis for abstract thought or even empiricism. The universe would be just a mass of material elements in random motion, meaninglessly colliding with one another. The concepts of truth and absolutes vanish, as does any idea of knowledge. Whenever a person, a nation or even an institution turns from, "In the beginning God" (Gen 1: 1), then their only possible alternative is ultimately ignorance, both moral and intellectual (Rom 1: 18-32).
Far from being the founts of knowledge that they vainly assert themselves to be, the government schools in reality stand as monuments to man's ignorance and antagonism against God and knowledge. Rather than institutions of learning, they are massive, taxpayer-financed gravestones to the very knowledge that they erroneously profess to impart. And the rampant ignorance we see in the government school system does not indicate a departure from their premises--rather a consistent pursuit of them. Success at last.