Sunday, December 9, 2007

Because Education Wasn't Cutting It

Education today is billed as "the answer" for just about everything.  Low socio-economic status?  Get an education!  Community falling apart?  More money to education!  Freak el nino patterns?  Education!

When education is pushed and pushed and pushed as the solution, as how to achieve a better life, how to equip people to succeed, how to solve societies over-arching problems, how to elected w/ out a real platform, why take an opposite view?

I know christianity tends to run counter culture quite a bit, and they even emphasize enjoying it.  (I'm not knocking it, I do it, the punk movement did it, the civil rights movement did it.  Ok, so maybe the civil rights movement had a point.)  This choice to run upstream in this case, however, perplexes me.

According to WELS, according largely to christians overall, the solution, they key, the magic bullet is not education, but faith.  Faith.  Take it even further, define it a little bit more and you get a "child-like" faith. 

The exact example of a "child-like faith" given this Sunday was a four year old kid who asks their father what the shell of a turtle is for.  The father tells the child that the shell is so that the turtle can fly.  The turtle has only to tuck it’s head and legs into the shell and it metamorphoses into a flying saucer of some sort.

What I hear them saying, right after providing this example:

"isn't it wonderful?  A child doesn't look at their father and say, Dad, that's not true.  No.  that kid will take what dad said and believe it." 

Does this seem dangerous to anybody else?  Not just as given, but also applying this to one's spiritual life.  Strikes me as pretty sketchy.

At some point in life, that child, having not seen any turtles take off in flight will (hopefully) start questioning what their father told them.     We encourage that learning and growth, it's going to happen, it needs to.  The idea that turtles travel by converting into flying saucers is in no way beneficial to the child's growth.

The question is at what point in a christians life does an unquestioning "child-like" faith become detrimental?

It is really really easy to fool or mislead someone who has child-like faith, the ability to learn something and accept it as true. 

"if our reason & understanding contradict the clear word of scripture, then scripture wins.  Hands down."

 If a person believes that the bible is truly the unerring word of God, that it contains no biases, no twisted or accidentally misconstrued ideas or contents, if they believe that the person teaching them is not accidentally changing the message in any way then sure, go for it, have your child-like faith.  That's a pretty big step, at least for me it would be.

I think a large part of the danger comes from the opportunity for biases, for temporary beliefs based on recent activity or events, reactions to culture to be superimposed or adapted to the lives of those learning.  If  the "this is the word, and therefore it is right" logic is applied to anything when does the person become empowered in their own right?

Is it a pick-and-choose situation?  When is a person encouraged to have the child-like faith?  When does the church want you to think for yourself?  What is the criteria for identifying and responding properly in each situation?

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