John Senior founded a world-renowned university humanities program at the University of Kansas that thrived in the 1970s. In his book, “The Restoration of Christian Culture,” Senior writes the following:
Not to have a college at all would mean an ignorance of many things, but to have a college in which the faculty and students form a compact to leave God out is not just the privation of a large branch of knowledge; if you leave out God, the existential, actual cause of everything, you are not just in ignorance but have committed what St. Thomas calls the intellectual sin of certain malice.
If eight of every ten Americans believes that Christ is God, you would expect that eight in every ten colleges [or K-12 schools] would be founded on that divine majority, whereas it is just the other way around; even in nominally Christian institutions, and obviously in the rest, the curriculum is founded on a rigorous exclusion of any certain truth, which amounts to an inquisitorial establishment of pluralism.
Note: Pluralism here indicates relativism, the idea other faiths can be “just as true” as one’s own. Teaching children, or anyone, this idea undermines Christianity because Christianity claims to be completely and supremely true and, when in conflict with other religions, says the other ones are false. It does not teach that there are “many ways to God,” etc. Communicating something else is not only a lie but destructive to true faith. Back to Senior.
Questions about curricula are reducible to the final questions of philosophy, which are religious. Suppose that God exists and there will be a necessary order in nature and in all the sciences and arts that study and imitate nature. Suppose further that God reveals and there will be a necessary content to knowledge not otherwise known, which will not only be a new knowledge but, since it is superior and architechtonic to the rest, the rest must be consistent with it and be interpreted in its light.
Suppose further…God saves, that he became a man, dwelt among us and gave us through his sacrifice the means of participating in his own life, which we call the Eternal Life, as he is in himself as the final, never-ending end of our existence–supposing that, you have not only got an order and a content but a praxis, a set of things to do, not just to think, an agenda which is no longer a matter of temperament or choice or life-style but a definite course of things which must be done in which learning and all other kinds of activity become prayer, a sacrifice of praise…for the greater glory of God…
“Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord’…This First Principle and Foundation sets up a new economy by which to measure schools, curricula, subjects, teachers and students; if you accept it, not just something but everything will change.
Senior is saying nothing more than what the Bible says when it commands Christians to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He is saying that both what children study and how they are taught it should be fundamentally different for Christians than for non-Christians. There is no possibility for learning well in an environment that ignores the biggest truth in the universe: God’s existence.
So, what about our children’s education is, and should be, transformed from the world’s patterns? Christian life should look different because it is fundamentally different. That includes our children’s upbringing, our home lives, and our schools.
Bible stories and Jesus crafts do not fundamentally transform a secular education. That’s why, here at Redeemer Classical, we seek and offer something much different.