The Renewanation Review Volume 6, Issue 2 - Page 34

TRUTH for the classroom By Bryan Smith, Ph.D. IN THIS UPSIDE DOWN WORLD, we are told the idea of absolute truth is behind the times. It is oldfashioned. No, it’s worse than old-fashioned. It’s dangerous.   But I will state emphatically that there are absolute truths. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He also said, when praying to the Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). There is truth because there is God—and He is not a silent God.   Postmodernism teaches that truth is relative and that we should learn to appreciate different perspectives—especially non-traditional ones. The Christian view of truth, they say, is dangerous. If young people are taught that there is absolute truth, they will enter life trying to force others to see things the way they do. The good life, they say, is the live-and-letlive life.   The end result of this thinking is that long-standing biblical truths get discarded by millions of people. In fact, many professing Christians have abandoned the teaching of absolute truth. 91% of teenagers claiming to be born again say they do not believe in absolute truth for morality. 1 34   Little wonder so few people believe in absolutes. How can they think biblically about all of life unless they are taught to see how the Bible is relevant to the subjects they study in school?   How can the Bible be integrated into the classroom? Christian schools and homeschools can use textbooks from a Christian publisher. BJU Press has been publishing Christian educational materials for 40 years. The Bible is integrated into every subject. And it makes a difference.   Think of the difference it makes in U. S. History.   For some teachers (especially those under the influence of postmodernism), U. S. History is about listing all of the wrong, cruel things that Americans have done. Such teachers hope to show that America is full of contradictions, and it needs to be deconstructed. From the beginning Americans claimed to be for freedom and equality. But Americans have owned slaves, broken treaties, stolen lands, and denied the rights of their fellow citizens just because of the color of their skin or their decision to love someone of the same sex. Nevertheless, they say, there is hope for America. If Americans will make a clean break with the tyranny of tradition and extend freedom and equality to all, America can be great. We will become a nation where there is no such thing as sin—where a brave new world swallows up mean-spirited Bible-thumping.   Christian teachers of history are, of course, offended by such an approach. Some, however, respond by jumping to the opposite extreme. For them, teaching U. S. History is about demonstrating that the Bible and Americanism both stand for the same things. They then set about to show that what America has been (up until the 1960s, that is) is a pattern for how God wants nations everywhere to live.   From a Christian perspective, both extremes must be rejected. The first approach has to be rejected because it attacks the Bible’s authority in obvious ways. But the second one also attacks the Bible, though in more subtle ways. First, it treats certain historical figures as good and wise who, by a biblical evaluation, were not. Second, it damages the credibility of Scripture because it sets students up for believing the postmodernists. If the teachers who claim there is absolute truth say that Benjamin Franklin was a Christian or that Thomas Jefferson was a lover of religion, then what will their students conclude when they find that they have been misled? Many of them will conclude that grand claims regarding truth are really ploys for oppression—lies spoken in the name of truth in order to press society backwards toward a twisted view of justice.   But education from a Christian worldview is different from both of these. It says that there is absolute truth. But this truth does not have its source in a political party, any peri