The Pitfalls of Public Education

By Randy S. Yerby

Did you follow the controversy that befell a Cleveland area high school? It seems as though two Lakewood high school physics teachers have dared to offer an alternative explanation for the existence of the world. Instead of towing the traditional academic line, these two teachers have suggested that this world we live in may have been created, as opposed to simply evolving. It’s worth noting that these educators didn’t just start teaching creationism (the belief that God created the heavens and the earth) this school year, but have been teaching it for the past five years, without incident, according to reports. As a result, this recent firestorm can be traced to just one source, a May 4 article appearing on the front page of The Plain Dealer, a Cleveland based newspaper. This single article has spawned numerous editorials and follow-up articles, all of which have polarized the Lakewood community and devastated the educational process at Lakewood High School.

At the center of this controversy is Cleveland area columnist Joe Dirck. Mr. Dirck has made several pointed at- tacks upon those of us who believe in God and his creation. He ridicules creationists for their lack of “hard evidence” that would support a belief in the biblical account of creation. Yet, Mr. Dirck fails to offer any “hard evidence” that would support his contention that this earth, and yes, you and I, somehow evolved over millions of years. As I told him when I talked to him directly, in the absence of “hard evidence” the only thing left is faith. In short, the only real issue where the creationist vs. evolutionist is concerned is where will you put your faith, in God or Darwin.

However, at the heart of this debate rests something much more significant to those of us who want nothing more than for our children to follow in our footsteps and faithfully serve God. Our desire is being hindered by the ever increasing influence we allow the public school systems to have on our young people. The public school system provides some troubling challenges to parents who want their children to receive the necessary tools to live in this society and at the same time develop strong ties to God and his institution the church. In addition to the theory of evolution, parents must worry about the effects of human- ism which manifests itself in the form of “self actualization” and subjective morality, the most modern term for situation ethics. Humanism, according to Webster, is any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values and dignity predominate; an ethical theory that often rejects the importance of a belief in God.

One can readily see, therefore, that the battle lines have clearly been drawn. Even before our children start bringing this humanist garbage home we must instill within them values that rest upon the foundation of God and his Word. Evolution should never be an issue for our children, they must be taught that it was God who created the “heavens and the earth.” We need to teach our children that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps.19:1). The evidence is too compelling to ignore. Paul tells us; “His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, . . .” (Rom. 1:20). Don’t ever let the evolutionist put you in the position where he asks you to offer any more proof than what we can perceive with our senses or what the Bible provides. If the evolutionist asks that of you they’re asking you for more than they themselves are willing to provide. You see, the two science teachers from Lakewood recognized what many of us have seen for years, that the theory of evolution has become too problematic in the areas of systematic testing and proof. So, in the absence of evidence one is left with the dilemma of where will he place his faith.

I suspect it wouldn’t be hard for us to guess where the evolutionist would put his faith. Remember, humanism is a system of thought that rejects the importance of God. Sadly, however, evolution is not the only humanistic doctrine pervasive within our public school systems. We, as parents, must also grow to understand terms like “self-actualization,” which propagates the notion that we can realize our fullest potential by independence and self-reliance. The idea is that man does not need God. Everything that a man can be and would be is under his control. This ignorance of God’s role in our lives astounds many of us, yet it has become a powerful tool of Satan. We have to instruct our children that it was God who created man on the sixth day and we, as his creation, owe everything to him. As a result, the only way we can realize our true potential, and “be all that we can be,” and become “self-actualized” is through the Lord. The prophet, Jeremiah, proclaims, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23). Complete independence can only be perceived, but never wholly realized.

Along with this viewpoint of “self-actualization,” our children are being told that morality is dependent upon the circumstances. They are being taught that morality is dynamic and always in a state of flux and a person’s values may change as the situation would dictate. Well, I’m sure this will please many a seventeen-year-old boy who needs to convince his date that what their doing re- ally doesn’t violate any objective code of morality, just one that changes according to the circumstances. Again we must tutor our children and let them know that God is consistent throughout time and nothing is ever subjective to him when it comes to morality. The author of Hebrews tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb.13:8). His character never changes. His expectations for our moral purity have never changed. We must not allow ourselves to “be carried about with various and strange doctrines”(Heb. 13:9). This world’s standards may change, and what is acceptable conduct may change, yet we as Christians must be on guard to never let our chaste behavior change with the world’s standards.

Yes, friends, we need to understand how the public school system is impacting our children. What our local school systems are teaching undermines the principles of God and his divine word. We need to remember that everyday our children are being taught some form of humanism, from the theory of evolution, and how to become “self actualized,” and what subjective morality is, to topics like, “safe sex,” “a tolerance for alternative lifestyles,” and “values clarification.” Parents, if we expect our children to carry on the cause of Jesus Christ into the twenty-first century, we had better start teaching our children the ways of God. Because if we don’t teach these young impression- able minds the way of the Lord, you can rest assured that some public school teacher is just waiting to teach them the ways of the world.