Secular vs. Christian Thinking

Can Christians think and teach in a secular manner? Yes - and it is far too common.
A few days ago my son and I visited a large Christian college and had a visit with the dean of History department. My son asked the professor about the philosophy of the department… he asked how they included Christianity in the teaching of his history.

In response, the professor, who specialty is America's religious history, said, "I teach a lot about how Christianity effected history. Those who teach European history have less to include, and those teaching an Asian history would likely have nothing Christian to include."

I would consider this to reflect secular thinking and teaching. Christianity only enters into the subject matter to the degree that Christian people and activities were historically involved. In a secular presentation, Christianity is treated merely as an equal "fact" among many.

On the other hand, Christian thinking and teaching begins with Biblical truths, values and principles and places the subject matter within that context - a context which provides one the opportunity to look for meaning and purpose. Christian thinking and teaching begins by searching the scriptures about the subject matter, then bringing these truths to bear upon it. It seeks to discern God's purpose for the subject, how God was/is/can be involved in the subject, how Christian character and morality interact with the subject, how false ideas and sinful people have distorted the subject, and how God can redeem the subject.

Nothing can be taught (except superficially) apart from its purposeful Creator… and in this fallen world, nothing can be taught (except superficially) apart from its place in God's redemptive plans. (If you don't think God cares about mathematics and science and philosophy and biology and physics and business and the arts… then perhaps you haven't been taught to think "Christianly.")

Thus, teaching the history of a remote Asian village should not merely explore the events that effected the people who live there, but it should continually compare and contrast the ways in which God designed people to live with the effects of the sin and ignorance they lived in. The teaching should reveal the ways in which God expressed himself through nature and human giftings.

Summarily, the Christian thought and teaching should not only inform the students about the people and events, but it should enlighten the students regarding God's goodness, human potential and sinfulness, and God's redemptive plans…
. It should draw the students to love God more deeply and inspire them to serve their neighbors.

The secularization of education largely removed facts from its ideological context. Secular thinking and teaching focuses on scientifically "true" facts leaving them relatively freestanding from God, his wisdom, His commands and life purpose. For a good example of history taught from a Christian perspective read some of John Lord - a historian from the latter half of the 19th century whose lectures were compiled into
Beacon Lights of History
blog comments powered by Disqus