Thursday, February 26, 2009

A little learning...

We know how the proverb goes: a little learning is a dangerous thing. That statement needs to be qualified. Learning is a very valuable thing. The difficulty arises when someone who learns a certain amount starts to think they know more than they do. (This includes me, I realize). What can be sad is when someone who learns a certain amount gets to think that they no longer need to show respect for what they once did.
It seems that the human race having learnt much about life and the world, and how to make it safer for them, has lost respect for the Creator. Having found technical understanding of things that once mystified and terrified them, they now think they can set themselves up as the masters of the universe. The analogy might be something like this: you learn to fly when the conditions are good, think you can fly safely at all times and then when you find yourself up in the air during a storm suddenly the shock realization comes that you knew less than you realized.
It gets more complicated than that. A doctor once told me something not everyone realizes. Back in the 1940s, human scientists discovered the use of antibiotics. They're a gift from God. Millions of people are alive today who could not have been without antibiotic cures for diseases. So far, great. The side effect wast this: when those medicines were developed, they greatly reduced the number of bacteria that existed in other life forms - and made room for virus to move into the cleared space. In the way that secondary growth moves when a forest is cleared, viruses moved in when bacteria were reduced in numbers. So now we have illnesses caused by viruses which did not attack so frequently when bacteria tended to stop viruses from being able to occupy a living host. Not that anyone should be blamed for that. What does deserve some reproach is this. Before they realized that, people began to think that they were safe doing things that were once dangerous. Instead of appreciating the blessing, people took the view that they could get away with things they once could not. Indulgent sexual behaviour was supposed to be safe because a cure was available for the diseases it sometimes spread. Then resistant strains began to appear, and we weren't so clever after all. It is too easy to think that science has the answer to everything. It can lead to disaster, thinking we can do whatever we want now that ways have been found to get away with it. In the environment, instead of treating the land and water with care, people exploit them and expect some expert to repair the damage afterwards.
From a slightly different angle, a secular society began to think human intelligence could achieve things that it never has before. A secular society tries to do with secular means what is only possible by spiritual means. My angle on this is education. Schools in Australia, and elsewhere also, are called on to 'process' the students in a certain way and shape them into good citizens, (whatever that means) and something their parents are pleased with (whatever that is supposed to be!). And here is the problem. A secular education can NOT transform and inspire a person in the way that only something spiritual can do.
From a Christian angle, I believe that the Holy Spirit is needed to lift a human above the limits of their fallible human nature. Nothing merely human can do that. In much of the world people demand that teachers take on the responsibility of influencing kids to become what they are supposed to be. They try to devise educational programmes and stragegies to make people brilliant, make them creative, change bad attitudes and behaviour issues - and find it all turns to ashes because nothing merely of this world can do what only things of the Spirit can do. It is a huge folly! Because we've found out so much about how to control the world and alter things for our own use, some people now think we can make ourselves a race of perfect citizens if we apply that knowledge through educational philosophies. They keep thinking this despite seeing some people who went to the 'best' (most expensive?) schools still becoming criminals or drop-outs with issues they're struggling with. Then the bitter complaint is made that 'schools are failing our children'. Schools and teachers should not have been expected to turn out some sort of a perfect product without the parents having to take on their responsibility; and what matter far more is, merely intellectual things should not be expected to achieve what only things of the spirit can.
Secular educationist want schools to evangelize and edify students, but in a secular way. They will not admit or cannot see that their is a spiritual part of a human which needs a spiritual approach. Human nature has become highly corrupted and unreliable. Humans need their second birth, in the Spirit, to become the best they can. That is why we need God. When agnostic or atheist thinkers try to re-invent people by other means, it is like trying to make a glider do what only a powered machine can. This was where the Leninists failed with their attempt to make the 'New Soviet Man'. They claimed that their society and its education would shape people into something better than greedy self-seekers, using Marx's writings as its inspiration. It failed - badly. To a lesser extent though the same thing happens in the West. A secular body of knowledge that does not include God tries to make people into something inspired and alive. It may achieve something in the short term. But ultimately the best that humans can do is like a robot compared to a living person. There is some similarity in appearance and behaviour, but no way can a robot do what a living breathing human can. Human brilliance cannot match the work of God. It is a modern tragedy that so many people have tried to replace God with the things of this world, and find it simply crashes and burns when the conditions become too severe.


the_thinking_frog said...

Greetings Andrew,

Excellent research and explanation of the cause/effect relationship of bacteria and viruses. It is too bad that this is not as visible in the spiritual world.

In both situations people will push the envelope and then wonder why God allows evil. Great post!

Joyfully Serving,

JMMEE said...

Most excellently stated.
You have written a forthright, well-thought, obviously researched post. In doing so, you have so succinctly touched upon a "sad' aspect of the "modern" educational systems across the world. Many parents have abdicated their role in the training and instructing of their children in "right" attitudes and behavior to the educational system - most of which are based upon secular ideologies; expecting teachers and "society" in general to take on the entire role of guiding our young people to maturity. They then wonder why the young people; the up-and-coming adults of this world, are woefully lacking in moral fortitude and direction. In today's "It's all about me." world view, doing what is right and best has taken a back seat. And now we are seeing the devastating, damaging, and deplorable fruits of this abdication.


Farrah said...

You are right, and it all depends on your view. From a Christian's view, discovery in science and any other field only reinforces our belief in an amazing Creator. We see His hand in everything. We learn about the microscopic world and marvel at God's creativity. We learn about the vastness of the universe and marvel at His power. A secular scientist misses out on those blessings.

Yes, we have a spiritual part, and when it is starved . . . Well, nothing good comes from a starved soul. So much of the good Christians do is a direct result of their faith.

Tamela's Place said...

Very good post Andrew!

Schools and teachers should not have been expected to turn out some sort of a perfect product without the parents having to take on their responsibility; and what matter far more is, merely intellectual things should not be expected to achieve what only things of the spirit can.

Amen and Amen to that statement!

My husband and i after much prayer made the decision to homeschool our children not that there were not good teachers out there. But we wanted to teach our children the things of the Spirit of God without the onslaught of bad influences of the teachings and ideas of our public institutions.

We made sure to teach them both sides of the tracks. We would compare evolutionist teaching with creationists teachings. We made sure that they understood the ideas of the world as well as what the Word God has to say.

Our children are 20 and 22 now and we don't regret our decision. They have grown into a wonderful man and woman of God and have great Character and love the Lord and His Word!

I will come back and visit with you again and take a look at your book on your website!

In Christ Jesus!


jeleasure said...

Hi Andrew,
I had read this a few days ago and did not have time to comment. Here it is; Saturday morning and I am not on-call.

I know, in my studies, I have developed opinions that are not shared by all. In fact, not many people can grasp my understanding of how important 'love' is to our eternal relationship with God. I hope that I am not in the catagory of delivering an arrogant message of 'love one another to have a relationship with God'. If I am, it is a worthy approach to the Lord that honors His commands.

On the side of 'secular humanist'. Here in America, I am hearing a similar term being bounced around from the likes of R.C. Sproul. It is "Christian Humanism".

From what I have been able to gather, "Christian Humanism" is much the same as the 'self-actualizing' of the secular humanist. It is still about self, but cloaked in Christian symbolism.

Essentially, "Christian Humanism" developed from the desire to be a good person but have a life of liberal affairs.

Isn't that pathetic? People want to appear to be a Christian and have developed a way to address their approach to living a sinful life and at the same time, appear to be Christian.

So, there you have it. Suitable to your analogy of bacteria and virus, we have the Christian taking in just enough Gospel to appear to be healthy. But, what we don't see so obviously is the intermingling of the world that corrupts the health of the spiritual man.

In regards to education; I dropped out of my studies on the very basis of the institutions desire to brain wash. And, believe me, there are plenty of students in the world who are willing to be brain washed.

Encouraging a student to reason for what the spirit man cries out for is suppressed by wise sounding philosophies. Christian education is just as guilty as secular education in attempting to push its' agenda.

I feel I have a healthy understanding of the world and the Gospel. However, my understanding came by weighing the world's philosophies against the Gospel and finding them to be very different.

I believe there is a kernal of truth in all of us that will grow if it is exposed to the light of the Gospel. Unfortunately, so does the darkness. It has worked hard at attempting to infiltrate the masses in our institutions.

My opinion is that God deals with each of us in a one on one relationship. Followers will want the convenience of 'canned' ethics and virtues. They will come out appearing as spiritual, but lack the substance of a real relationship with God.

This is a difficult concept to put our minds around, when we attempt to explain how the problem is developing.

Thanks for your efforts to write it out. I believe I understand what you are saying. And, I beleive we are in agreement.