Don’t put your children in Christian schools because there they will have Bible lessons. Enrol them because we want them to learn Math. There, hopefully, they will learn to see God in mathematics, for math is one of the languages God speaks in his grand project of self disclosure.
We believe that matter did not simple always independently exist. Because it came into being by God’s Word, it has no option but to obey the rules that he spoke into the fabric of its being. That precise mathematical order pre-existed matter because it is an expression of the eternal nature of God. Now, as we explore creation, we can discover God’s power and nature.
But in secular schools a very different view of math is taught. It is widely viewed as simply a social construction – rules we made up. Nancy Pearcey compares the predominant philosophy of mathematics to rules is the game of baseball, like “Three strikes and you’re out”. Math rules, like baseball rules, are “... not true or false; it’s just the way we choose to play the game” [Total Truth, p.43f]. Pearcey quotes a popular middle school curriculum which says that students should learn that “mathematics is entirely man-made, that it is arbitrary, and good solutions are arrived at by consensus among those who are considered expert.”
All this matters. If math is arbitrary, there are no wrong answers, just different perspectives. This is being taught, and it does have an effect. Pearcey notes that the Minnesota State Statutes governing the licensing of teachers require them to be tolerant of “multiple mathematical worldviews.” And she describes a recent high school graduate who had been labelled a “bigot” by his math teacher for thinking it was important to get the right answer. The teacher insisted that so long as students worked together in a group and achieved consensus, the outcome was acceptable. Postmodernism pervades math curriculum in the public school system.
No wonder levels of mathematical competence are declining! Teaching math through the lens of a biblical worldview has two clear advantages over the other approaches. Firstly, it enables us to hear God speaking in his own language. And secondly it enables us to see clearly how life in the real world works. Denying that matter is God’s creation does not mean that it ceases to be God’s creation. It simply means that as we try to remove all evidence of His nature from it, our theories leaves us less able to live in the world as it really is.
For more on curriculum from a biblical perspective, see “What do you Learn in School?”