Scott & Sarah Kennedy

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What is Neutrality?

As a result of discussion on this post, I have decided to post on neutrality. There was some discussion on what neutrality was. So I want to consider whether an education void of ‘gods’ would be neutral.

So what do we mean when we say that secular education is not neutral? We are speaking of neutrality in the spiritual realm. For the Christian, this should be immediately clear. There is no neutrality for the Christian. If something is for God, it is not neutral. If something is for another 'god', it is anti our God.

But one of you will say "But they don't teach from any religious perspective in state schools.” But this statement reveals a certain naivety about the nature of the state education. Of course they teach from a religious perspective in a state school! It's just that out government has for years denied the religious nature of this particular set of ideas about the way the world is. Secular humanism is the worldview which our secular schools have underlying the assumptions of the curriculum, and most of the lives of the teachers in their schools.

What is secular humanism, but a set of religious ideas about the way the world is, and how man should function in this world? Sure secular humanism does not have a conventional super 'God' like the Muslims, or Christians, but it has replaced this religious idea of God, with the idea that man himself is god. Man is the constructor of truth. Man creates his own destiny. So, even secular education, which some regard as a neutral education which doesn’t come from any particular religious perspective, is highly religious. If you don’t grasp this point, you have failed to see where the battle is at, and the devil has already a mighty foothold in the battle for minds.

This is where many Christians have failed to fight the battle. They have swallowed the lie that if we take Allah, Jehovah, Christ, and every other mainstream religious figure and their teachings out of the curriculum we will have neutrality. This is the lie the government would have us believe, the lie we must refuse to believe. To take God out of education is to take up a religious position. It is to say that he does not need to have anything to do with education, and that education is outside the realm of practical Christianity.

Why is this a problem? Well, we know that God is the author of truth, and it is through Christ that we too can know the truth. So if we take him away from our education, we will not understand the world correctly. God is in maths, God is in history, God is in science, God is in language. Take God out of education, and you take away the God who created these things, and you will understand them incorrectly, and out of their true context.

In practical terms how is secular education not neutral. Let me give you a few examples.

A secular school will teach that men and women do not have distinct roles. It will teach that women just like men should pursue a career, and that motherhood is not an important role, and can and should be passed onto ‘experts’ in day-care. Women cannot feel totally fulfilled when they ‘don’t get a proper job’. However as bible believing Christians, we understand that woman was created as a helper to man. Furthermore we believe in the importance of the mother being a caregiver to children. Indeed I should perhaps not imply all Christians believe this, because again secular thinking has crept into the church on this matter of roles; which is again another proof of the dangers of secular education for those who are not ready for it.

Furthermore, a secular school teaches that there is nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage, ‘as long as it’s safe sex’. Homosexuality is promoted along side more traditional idea as a valid option. The most important thing in the equation is that the child must decide what is right for them. And all this is promoted in a context which actively promotes the idea that sex is not a big thing. Christian truth however tells us that sex is a very special thing, and is God’s gift to those who are married.

Learning to read provides an excellent example of how secular education will clash with Christian truth. In secular schools the widespread, and as I understand it now universal practise of a whole language approach, or ‘look-say’ method is used. In this method the child is encouraged to guess words they don’t know. The pictures on the page provide hints on what the correct word might be.

This particular example hit close to home for me. When I first began school, my parents sent me to the local primary school. It was as they say a ‘good’ school. I failed to learn to read. I was seven when my mum had finally had enough, and she decided to teach me to read herself. So my mother tried teaching me by a method known as phonics. The child is taught different sounds that the various letter combinations make, and uses this knowledge when they come across a word they are unsure of. Not long afterwards I could read.

Why do I bring this point up? Merely to show that what people believe will effect how they teach. When there is no God, why should we assume there is any right way of structuring learning? Should not the child make truth for himself? But for the Christian we believe there is order. These competing ideas are evident in the two different approaches to reading.

Spelling is another example of where secular schools are not neutral. What were we taught at school about spelling? It doesn’t matter how you spell words even in your English essays as long as the person marking it can understand what you are saying. In a Christian school however, a child learns phonetically to read, and thus can usually spell reasonably well. But spelling is considered and important part of writing, and is marked. In the secular school, the child makes his own truth, in the Christian school, there is an absolute standard.

And finally there is the area of post modernism. In a state school, much of the curriculum will show a kind of relativism. What is true for one person or social group may not be true for another. People must construct truth for themselves, and they must be tolerant of other’s truths. The Christian school however will teach that there is absolute truth. We may not know for sure what that actually is, but it exists nevertheless. But this postmodernism has crept into the church also. We are urged not to worry too much about doctrinal issues which divide. We shouldn’t debate doctrine or issues, because this is assuming that certain beliefs can be true apart from our own individual experience.

These are just a few ideas of where the battle for minds is at in a secular school. They are not exhaustive. What we need to realise is the secular humanist (religious) worldview pervades the whole curriculum of a state school, and it takes a well equipped and trained adolescent to deal with this.


  • oh boy... looks like none of us need blog for a month. Scot seems to have it covered.

    Haven't read it yet. Gotta find a few spare hours first ;-)

    By Anonymous Allan, at 7:18 PM, May 17, 2005  

  • Well done Scott. I would have to say that your last few articles have been most interesting to read. I must say that I agree with you 100% and think that you have hit the nail on the head. If people can't seem to agree with what you are saying then i would think that they need to do a lot of serious thinking about any resons why they might disagree. Of course we must refer to the word of God to direct us as much as we can in these sort of things. Well done keep up the good work.

    By Anonymous Sam the man, at 7:56 PM, May 17, 2005  

  • Awesome post! It`s time we as young people started to think through these issues seriously. How much brainwashing have we endured? Or are we too brainwashed to even realise we`ve been brainwashed? Eeeek scarey thought!

    By Anonymous Lou, at 11:15 PM, May 17, 2005  

  • I've am re-reading David Noebel's The Battle for Truth (for the third time because I'm so forgetful) and Michelle and I are working through Douglas Wilson's Reforming Marriage.

    Each of these writers has no hesitation in standing strongly for biblical principles; pulling no punches when it comes the lies and deception of the world, particularly as they creep into the church and the family.

    Neutrality is a myth. Biblical life and secular life are more diametrically opposed that many of us could even imagine.
    Wilson talks about sexism, which is something that Scott has not mentioned. Assuming boys and girls are equal, apart from their physical differences (which of course are undeniable) is a wrong assumption. The feminist agenda (which is driven by males, believe-it-or-not) is at the heart of the secualr curriculum. Secular society says that sexism is wrong. However the Bible says that biblical sexism is right.
    Men/boys need to be taught differently to girls, and rather than go into detail here, I'd like to show Scott what Wilson has to say, and perhaps he could include it here as part of his series.

    By Anonymous Dan, at 8:48 AM, May 18, 2005  

  • shot homie, much props from over here.

    looking forward to the next one.

    By Anonymous carl, at 10:07 AM, May 18, 2005  

  • Whilst I imagine that you are spot on, how do you know all these things?

    By Anonymous Anita, at 12:19 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • I know I am being a stick in the mud again but I am curious

    By Anonymous Anita, at 12:23 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • Scott is the man. He knows everything.

    By Anonymous Jonathan, at 1:57 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • Indeed on!! On a side note...thanks Scott for taking the time and thought to blog about such things...they have been very thought provoking and are a man who stands by his convictions and who has I believed shared these things in love. Thank you for the breath of fresh air!

    :) Bon

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:40 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • Anita:

    How do I know what things? What particularly are you talking about?


    By Anonymous Scott, at 3:18 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • As always, there is too much here to discuss in a simple comment, so i'll keep to the essential question which bothers me about your rhetoric.

    You summarise it best with "There is no neutrality for the Christian. If something is for God, it is not neutral. If something is for another 'god', it is anti our God."

    That's what bothers me. This whole 'us vs them' attitude thats so prevelent in (though not exclusive to) religion.
    I don't believe in 'your' god, so does that make us enemies?
    Not from my side. I respect your right to believe, and even admire you for your conviction, but I wouldn't want to live in the world you're selling.

    And (just quickly) supposing religion does deserve a greater part in education - which religion would you teach?
    You, of course, would prefer everybody was taught christianity - that's one point of view.
    But what of the kids from muslim, jewish, hindu and other homes whose parents would prefer them to learn their own religion? Are you going to foist christianity on them? Are you going to segregate them? What's the fairest option? Do they even matter to you?

    You're right - there is no ultimate neutrality. But there SHOULD be - a goal we should work towards.
    And that's the point of schools: to try to teach basics like why lightbulbs glow, or what causes litmus paper to turn purple, or how to write poetry; and leave the bigger questions of which god created it all until the kids are old enough to think about it without just accepting it by rote.

    After all, if you're forced to believe something, does that mean it really comes from your heart? Is a man raised to believe in god any more holy than one who comes to it later in life and chooses it for himself?

    Anyway, ultimately what turned me away from religion is that (no offense intended) it narrows your point of view. There is so much more i want to say on the subject but first I'd like to hear your views on that statement.

    [BTW None of this is intended to offend you, it is just my opinion. If any part sounds derogatory it is just a matter of phrasing and unintentional. English is not, in fact, my first language.]

    Til next time.

    By Anonymous Damian (formally anonymous), at 8:32 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • By the way - keep following this series of posts, perhaps I will clear some of your questions up as we go. Here's hoping anyway.


    By Anonymous Scotty, at 10:36 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • Hey Damian, welcome aboard. Actually you never offended me. But I do like to know who I'm talking to. :)

    Sure you don't believe in my God. Your not my enemy. Your worldview is the enemy of mine.

    What I am proposing, though actually have not got to it yet, is not that secular schools should teach Christianity, but that parents should choose options where Christianity is taught throughout a syllabus to their children. My audience is Christian parents. I'm thinking mainly of homeschooling, or Christian schooling. This should in no way affect what other people do with their kids. I am not proposing we force Christian schools on everyone. I am strongly suggesting that Christians should give their children a Christian education.

    I disagree with your statement that there should be ultimate neutrality (I hope I understood you right there). Education's function is to school children in the values of a culture. This is inescapably a religious and not a neutral task.

    I totally agree with you. Religion does narrow your view. But you too are a religious man. All men are religious. To believe in 'god' or not believe in 'god' are both religious positions which have implications for how we think and act.

    By Anonymous Scotty, at 10:36 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • Please excuse my earlier mixing up of you're and your.

    By Anonymous Scotty, at 10:38 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • "After all, if you're forced to believe something, does that mean it really comes from your heart?"

    That's exactly what Scott was saying about neutrality. There is none.
    Even in teaching of poetry my English teacher managed to ridicule the Bible when I chose to study the Psalms as poetry. She flatly denied that it was poetry and labelled it nothing but mythology.
    Or physics where we were discussing radioactive decay which the teacher used as proof the earth was millions of years old and blah blah blah. I know science fact that flatly denies this but as always the humanist preacher (teacher) refused to view the evidence. Even when I quoted some of the things that are wrong with these dating methods she merely dismissed them as wrong without actually checking them and continued teaching her humanism to the class. This happened in every class. Right from math through to computer science.

    Scientists subscribing to the evolutionary model when presented with evidence against it outside their field of expertise simply dismiss it under the belief that those scientists who's field it is of have proven it already. In other words they do nothing more than assume that other scientists won't make the same mistake that they have already made – ignoring the facts and taking the word of other evolutionists in their place.
    Most of the time those who do actually look at this new evidence simply stop believing evolution. Why? Because these are the people that trust the data over the scientist.

    You may have been turned off the Bible by it's claim to be absolute truth but you have simply traded it for a group of scientific leaders with theorys that preach similar claims. To Richard Dawkings, for example, it would be ridiculous to consider the possibility that evolution wasn't a law of nature. He's so blinded by his trust in evolution that it's almost like insulting his god to suggest that it might be wrong. Let alone if you actually have data that suggests this.

    Either way there is a claim at absolute proof. I have simply chosen the one that fits with what I term “real” science. By that I mean science outside evolution's restrictions. At the same time as removing evolution the data favours a young earth intelligent designer model. Further study further matches verses in the Bible such as the ones stating the earth is round - Columbus only proved that in the last few hundred years. Or predicting the movement of stars barely visible to the human eye - only recently proven by powerful telescopes.

    The Bible says that the evidence speaks for itself. You conclusion merely depends on whether you are listening to man's interpretation or God's. Both claim absolute truth but only one is consistent with the evidence. There is no neutrality in science wither. Each side takes the same data and interprets it based on their own preconceptions.

    If you are interested in a few scientific facts that go along with what I'm saying simply visit Use the search bar in the top right of the page and type in your favorite topics. Neanderthal? Carbon dating? Sedimentary layers? It's all there and all documented from real sites and scientists. Or you can believe the school textbooks. :-)

    By Anonymous Allan, at 11:04 PM, May 18, 2005  

  • Hey Damian,

    I'm not gonna engage the topic at hand at this time. Just gonna say that I really respect you for you attitude toward this discussion. It can be so easy to get carried and ruin a good debate!

    I'm happy to say I believe I've found the 'purpose to it all' and hope that one day soon you can say the same.

    Oh and thanks for becoming non annoymous. makes the discussion more real.


    By Anonymous Jonathan, at 11:01 AM, May 19, 2005  

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