Are public school science teachers actually lying to our children?
I hesitated making this a featured “Question of the Month” for fear that some people would (just by the phrasing of the question) make assumptions as to what my answer was and not actually even read my response. They may assume that I would just be explaining how evil public school teachers are and how we need to attend school board meetings and protest against this injustice. I am thankful that you are taking time to read the answer to see what I actually do have to say, because I believe it is very important.
Let’s take a brief moment to define our terms. Some of this might seem like semantics, but it is vital to our discussion. When we think of someone telling a lie, we typically think of them conveying something that they know is not true. For example, if your son just ate your daughter’s chocolate chip cookie and said he didn’t… that’s a lie. Pretty straight-forward. Consider, however, the following scenario. Let’s say he did actually eat a cookie that was hers, but truly thought it was his brothers (who had given him permission to eat his). Then, even though what he said was not true (that he did not eat her cookie), he was not “lying” because he was not telling you something that he knew to be false. He was simply wrong about what he believed. As a parent, I would certainly handle these two scenarios differently, as would most of you.
Turning our focus to the public school classroom… what are we to think about all the teachers (or professors in the universities) who are teaching molecules-to-man evolution? Are they lying to our children? I think we have a somewhat similar situation to our cookie scenario. It is my personal belief and experience that the vast majority of school teachers are very nice people and are fairly gifted at what they do. They are not “evil” people bent on deceiving as many students as possible, driving home each day laughing sinisterly about how easy it is to fill children’s heads will lies.
Although there certainly are a few exceptions, these teachers are simply teaching what they learned growing-up and in their college education. Some of these teachers are atheistic in their beliefs and teaching evolution not only makes sense to them, but it’s their only choice, since God is not or cannot be part of the equation. Most, however, have some sort of worldview that involves God at least to some extent. The problem is two-fold: (a) They have only been exposed to one side of the debate in their own education, and (b) their personal religious belief doesn’t present any perceived tension between evolution and the existence of God (or a god). Even for many Christian teachers in the public school system… they are quite comfortable with believing in the Bible and evolution. They are under the impression that evolution has been proven or is at least extremely well-supported by science and that the Bible can be interpreted in various ways, allowing for the idea of evolution. Personally, I believe one can be quite at-ease with these two views if you avoid two things: (1) doing any kind of serious study of the Bible and (2) doing any kind of serious examination of evolution. This can be covered in more depth in a future “Question of the Month”.
So, are public school science teachers evil people, lying to our children? I don’t think we should view them this way, nor do I think it is beneficial or respectful. They themselves have been deceived and consequently are teaching things that are false and certainly contrary to God’s Word. We need to realize that this is ultimately a spiritual battle and that they often are not able to discern truth, as is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:14 “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
What can we do about all that is being taught that is contrary to the inerrant truth’s of Scripture? Much could be said regarding this, but in briefly answering this month’s question, I would summarize a few recommended actions:
- Know the truth ourselves! We first need to know what God’s Word actually teaches, before we can appropriately discern truth from lies. We can also learn more about what science truly has to say about origins, so when we confront others, we can share both from Scripture and science. That's what our ministry is all about.
- Mentor your own children! Don’t leave this to someone else… not even the church. It is our primary responsibility. Others can certainly help, but we need to be much more proactive in this area.
- Approach the teacher(s) in a very humble and gracious manner regarding your concerns. Ask a lot of questions, rather than simply showing up with the attitude to “proving” how wrong they are. Our Christ-like character will go a lot farther than our arguments ever will!
- Pray! In all of the above, pray and ask God for wisdom… He will not fail you: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
We would love to help you with these areas so please do not hesitate to contact us!