Secular Education Does Not Exist

» Posted by on Mar 28, 2012 in Blog, Education History, On Government Schooling | Comments Off on Secular Education Does Not Exist

In the early days of American government education, R. L. Dabney wrote the following:

So is a really secularized education either possible or admissible? Before ours, no people of any age, religion, or civilization, has ever thought so. Against the present attempt, right or wrong, stands the whole common sense of mankind. Pagans, Catholics, Muslims, Greeks and Protestants have all rejected any education not grounded in religion as absurd and wicked. (On Secular Education)

He names attempts at secular education “wicked” because they deny God’s sovereign claims. He names these attempts “absurd” because secular education is not possible. That is why we call them mere “attempts.” All education will be religious, as will all people and every life lived. Let’s name our God(s) or idols and get on with a more fruitful discussion. The biblical pattern of antithesis is that we will serve either Yahweh or other gods, but nothing in between (e.g. Deut. 11:16). But what about something like atheism? As Douglas Wilson has often put it, an atheist mainly repeats two things: “There is no God, and I hate Him.” In these cases, it is the religion of self-idolatry, or perhaps the worship of the human intellect. So there is no neutrality in education, because there is no such thing as “secular.” The idea of any secular part of life comes only when we imagine that there is not a sovereign Ruler of all nature, all knowledge, all kingdoms, and so on.

The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalm 24:1)