I agree totally.
Interesting thought experiment. My easy answer is that I would send my kids to pretty much whatever public school was available regardless of what system was in control there [within reasonable bounds of course! --if I thought my child wasn’t safe or there was outright coercion to pry them away from what we parents think important --then I would look for other alternatives]. But if my free option was a Muslim run school (openly Islamic but fine with active Christians learning among them) or an openly atheistic school (again fine with other religious traditions fully exercising their own views), I would just consider it part of the cultural experience my kid should get exposed to.
That’s cool. I would tend to think of it as largely an ineffective use of time, at best, and potentially overtly problematic. Some cultural experience would be gained to be sure, but to that end, I am in favor of “some people believe this” comparative religion classes, which seem to me to be an excellent way of attaining the kind of cultural exposure you refer to, while keeping a level playing field for students from all backgrounds. As for potential problems: with ordinary subjects, the state may publish approved textbooks and curriculums for guidance and to set basic standards. If there’s straight-up religious instruction, is this also going to become the purview of government in the same way, so there will be a state-approved truth? Or will every teacher apply their own standard? Will people insist on preferential treatment of their own version of religious truth to the detriment of those who don’t agree? Will students be compelled to recognize a teacher or the state’s version of truth in order to receive a good grade and advance within the system? Will they be subject to peer and even official pressure when their views are not in line with the majority? This already happens to children admitting atheist views in schools with some regularity. I could probably go on, but I guess my point is clear enough.
I see the situation as a trade-off, between allowing religious education desired by a majority, and offending some, and not allowing it for anyone, and offending some. In the end, is it really in everyone’s best interest for government to be mixed up in it? In particular in a large and complex nation where many different faiths (and lacks thereof though I know you might contest that ) coexist?
People may not agree with all aspects of science and social studies education at times… but I guess not math But truth in those areas are far less contested. Paths to religious truth don’t provide anywhere near such a consistent result. I think I understand Newbigin’s argument, which I would paraphrase by saying that a certain conception of truth lays behind the whole secular concept, and is being favored over the allowance of religious ideas about truth. I guess it has to be one way or the other though, and it is being done for what seem to me to be valid and fair-minded reasons.
The only reason my kids went to a private school at all is because I teach there and got a decent discount. But even now this isn’t hypothetical because I did allow my kids to attend classes of teachers who do not think like I do, but I did not fear for the exposure that would bring to my children. They are Christian teachers and it was good for my children to be exposed to different ways of thought even within Christianity. I would like to think I would be just as open-minded about it all even outside our faith tradition. In that particular way I look very liberal. I don’t want to cultivate any fear of truth or life among our population. We already have a surplus of fear ravaging our populations as it is.
Cool. But that’s a controlled setting. Expanded to the education system at large–and in fact, I’m not really sure if that’s what you’re suggesting, but it seems like the logical conclusion–would the result necessarily be as fear-free?
Not sure if I took that in any direction you intended.
No, I was trying to make a point of course, which I’ve now been embellishing. I was hoping you would say “Good point John, I guess that settles that” but I figured it might be a good starting point anyway.
But I will just say this, I think the academy would be vastly improved by shunning its own fear of all things conservative. Not that I look to the academy for salvation. It will be what it will be. It too will cling to fear and prejudice often to its own detriment. I hope to help it be better which will maybe help give less fuel to reactionary populist disasters. Not that I’m all free of fear and prejudice myself of course. If it was a Satanist school I wouldn’t want to send kids anywhere near the place. I look to God to be the source of salvation, and the church is called to be a vehicle for that.
I’m with you on including conservative viewpoints. Liberalism has gone over the edge in a lot of ways in my opinion, especially in academia. I will agree that I’m not signing up for a Satanist school lol. My impression of current Satanism in the US is that it’s basically intended for shock value, irony, and/or hedonism, and in the great majority of cases isn’t based on a real belief in Satan. That being said, to each their own and all that, but it’s too weird for me.