Friday, 20 November 2020

All of education is religious - the only question is, "which religion?"

Firstly, read this:

This illustrates a simple fact: there is no neutral territory. Everywhere where there is education, even a wood, even spiders, a world-view is being communicated. The question is not "shall we teach how to understand our observations?" but "in what context shall we teach how to understand our observations?". And the most important context - everyone realises - is how humans understand themselves, and the world they live in, and how to interpret their inner lives. When people swallow the untruth that some sort of secularism in which we just observe without adding any context, they simply end up as teaching that life should be lived according to atheist nihilism, by default. "There are only facts" is functionally the same as "there is nothing but self".

As we see illustrated in the above article, the world outside the church understands these truths about education well. They know that the world is not a simple, naked, meaningless brute fact. Rather, there is a narrative, a background, a context, in which it should be interpreted. And so, as the world's educators seek to educate others, and especially children, they seek to teach what they hold as the correct, righteous context. They teach their worldview, because that's what educators do. That's what education involves. In the modern world, that increasingly means they teach a self-centred, God-less world-view in which man and his personal desires are the ultimate realities, and ultimate good things.

Lots of Christians haven't accepted these facts about how education works. In my observation, that's usually for one of two reasons.

The first reason is that they've never thought about it. Despite living in a society that has undergone such radical change as Western societies have in the last few generations, they have not applied their mind to thinking about what this means for the task of educating our children. They haven't even begun to reflect seriously upon what it means to obey the Bible's instruction to be "bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). This is a terrible failure to love God with all our minds, in one of the major areas of our duty.

The second is worse: Christians know that education is not neutral, and that the secularist education they have chosen for their children is anti-Christian - but they aren't willing to endure any of the costs in doing otherwise. They knowingly send their children to be educated in a context of darkness instead of light, because doing otherwise would involve discomfort. It would involve change, effort, and the possibility of others in their social groups pulling funny faces at them, which might make them feel awkward. I hope and pray that a lot of these Christians come, or will come, into a third category: those whose eyes have been opened, realised that pleasing God necessitates a radical change of direction, and who are going by his grace and strength to get up and make those changes.

Monday, 16 November 2020

"A failure of spiritual leadership" - Christian Institute lecture

This lecture, scheduled for tonight, sounds well-worth listening to:

In my personal view - informed by having lived in multiple foreign countries and thus, I hope, having gained some perspective on trying to analyse how church, state and culture are interacting and thinking about what that means - all is not well in the UK church scene. At all.

One of the things that is not well is that when we listen to the output of the mainstream evangelical organisations, we do not get the impression that all is not well. Or at least, nothing that making sure we preach the gospel in our weekly messages can't mostly account for, if we keep plugging away at it. The outside of the house is still very presentable. The people are sincere, pleasant and persuasive. But all the signs are present that the long-term soundness of the building is deeply suspect. And what is meant by "long-term" increasingly begins to approach, and the number of plausible scenarios in which it actually means "next year, next month, next week" rather than "next decade" begin to increase. There are fundamental problems that exist, that we can ignore most of the time, but which something like 2020 suddenly draws attention to. As well as being a challenge, 2020 then becomes an opportunity: an opportunity to review our course, and what needs doing about it.

As a trustee for the widely-respected Christian Institute (and "Director of the Centre for Enterprise, Markets and Ethics", which I confess I'd not heard of, and a former Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, right at the heart of (Anglican) mainstream UK conservative evangelicalism), Richard Turnbull is potentially a very good person to deliver a message and have people listen. At this point, I do not know what he will say, but the title and summary some promising:

"Many have reported increased spiritual interest in the person of Jesus Christ during this pandemic. This has often been true in these times of crisis. Individual church ministers have often been heroic. However, the response of the church as an institution has been nothing short of scandalous. Why this failure of spiritual leadership? What led to the suspension of public worship for the first time since Magna Carta? There are, of course, broader questions including the trade-off between health and economics, the proper role of the state and the place of liberty, including religious liberty. We will reflect on all these matters."

Saturday, 14 November 2020

The Transgender Agenda - DVD launch - a vital resource

As the source passing this on to me wrote: "Those who have the responsibility to care for children need to be informed of the very real dangers of this ideology and know how best to care for and safeguard our children who are too young to be making irreversible decisions that will affect their lives forever."

As such, I hope this will be widely circulated and used by Christian parents, educators and churches. The time for hiding our heads in the sand never existed, but if it had, it passed longed ago.

Watch the launch:

Buy the DVD:

Monday, 2 November 2020

The second lockdown : why are we not allowed to see meaningful statistics?

I wrote in the strongest terms I knew how whilst still seeking to remain respectful, to my local MP, and urge you to do so also. Note, on the first major paragraph, that graphs of the possible costs (only) of not locking down that were shown, accompanied by small-print disclaimers saying that they are not predictions, are not at all what is meant by a cost/benefit analysis, of the kind usually published by governments for decisions many orders of magnitude less significant that this one.

(My address)

Dear sir,

I, as you no doubt also did, listened to the Prime Minister's announcement on Saturday.

I asked myself, where is the overall cost/benefit analysis of the health, social and economic gains and losses of lockdown? Apparently there is not even a plan to publish one before Wednesday's vote. After 8 months since the idea of lockdown first entered public debate, and over 7 since the first began, this is absolutely reprehensible.

Secondly, where was/is the open publication of the studies and data being used to justify this decision? Again, after all these months, we are still being asked to accept graphs with disclaimers printed in small print on the bottom (that these are not predictions or projections, but just some sort of scenario that the government is unwilling to attribute a likelihood to), and the implied insinuation that the Prime Minister's chosen experts are obviously correct (whereas the multitude of experts who strongly disagree are obviously wrong). This also is absolutely reprehensible.

I have an MMath from the University of Oxford (1st class), including masters-level modules in statistics. The government's use and manipulation of statistics during this crisis has been appalling. Its practice of hiding its working, even now, is beyond words. I urge you to vote against lockdown on Wednesday. It cannot be in your constituents' interests to close down their lives on the mere say-so of people who refuse even to allow proper scrutiny of their decisions, and who will be the last to endure the consequences of their decisions. A parliamentary vote, in the absence of the accompanying information to make that vote meaningful, is not scrutiny. It is not meaningful accountability. It is scrutiny in name only, a sham and an insult.

Yours sincerely,
David Anderson esq.