Article – Dan Shervan – Contributor
Fundamentalist Christian schools teach their students in a manner that is detrimental to their overarching learning and development.
In particular, the manner in which religious doctrine is intertwined within their courses denies the students the opportunity to develop analytical thought. To exemplify this, one only needs to look at the textbooks used in Biology classrooms at these schools. These books claim that the Earth is approximately five thousand years old, that all human lineages descend from Adam and Eve, and that the Theory of Evolution is incorrect. Teaching religious material that has been discredited by scientific studies leaves no room for questioning, self-assertion, or even the prevalence of reason. These are features that are essential to every educational institution and should be fostered by them.
It is, therefore, rather disturbing that these supposed houses of learning opt to dismantle and replace the power of reason with the power of their Lord. It appears to me that these two categories would overlap in a Venn diagram only if the latter truly held water. It is obviously a major problem that fundamentalist schools teach sciences incorrectly as they fail to prepare students for any type of secular post-secondary education, or even social integration outside of similarly devout practitioners. This is a rather sad situation, but it is only the beginning of the madness. It has been established that the students learn the wrong information, but what is truly detrimental to their development is that the information is presented in a fixed-fight scenario. Revered scientific theories such as the Big Bang Theory and The Theory of Evolution are put up to the test against the Book of Genesis’ creation myth. This would be acceptable in a secular environment that did not bend the rules for one of the competing views, but this is not what happens inside of a fundamentalist school. It is important to note that the former scientific theories are subject to the scientific process and its rigorous laws, but the latter religious text is not—instead, is self-reliant in its quest for evidence. Consequently, it is fallacious in its very nature because it must argue in a circle. Therefore, in a fair secular fight, the scientific theories would come out as the victor due to simple logic, but in a fixed-fundamentalist-school-fight, the absence of scientific processes and the presence of a cyclical argument in the Book of Genesis’ theory are completely ignored. The referee, Mr. or Mrs. Teacher, is therefore said to fix the fight, guaranteeing that the nonsensical education continues. It is in this sense that the fundamentalist schools are not only detrimental for providing incorrect information, but are also detrimental because they demonstrate and encourage fallacious reasoning.
The students that accept the school’s religious teachings and disregard the teachings of reason are the ones that the institution recognizes and rewards. This is a terrible environment for education because it breeds obedience, not independence. It tightens the students’ mental shackles as opposed to unlocking them through reason-based enlightenment. It does not focus on problem solving and reasoning, and instead substitutes in non-questioning and conformity. Education in this perverted form is more akin to brainwashing than education, only this brainwashing happens to be society-approved with funding stretching back millennia. Perhaps it is no wonder that people don’t think about political issues and instead vote for the political party that best corresponds to their religious views. After all, we have educational institutions rewarding this very substitution of reason for religion.
This substitution that inevitably proves catastrophic as history repeats itself.