Why is Christian Education not a priority for many Christian parents? One of the main reasons has to do with the notion of neutrality. The thinking goes something like this:
- Most of the time in school will be spent on academic subjects like geometry and geography, sums and spelling
- A right angle will have the same number of degrees in it in a public school as in a Christian school, and in both places two plus two equals four. Even atheists spell the word “God” the same as it is spelled in a Christian School.
- Therefore, most of what the kids will learn is neutral. It is not biased either in favour of or against the essential truths of the Christian faith. So it can be safely learned in either environment.
- We’ll make sure our kids get the Christian component to their education at home and in church. But the academic part is neutral.
According to this view, schools specialize in the subject-matter that everybody needs to know, regardless of religion or worldview; and our Christian perspective is, as Douglas Wilson caricatures it, a sort of condiment to add on, the flavouring that can be added at home. In the mind of those who think this way, “Autonomous knowledge,” Wilson writes, “is a gray, pasty oatmeal, available to everyone, while each person’s religion of choice provides the catsup, mustard, sugar, whatever works for them.”
In this mindset, Christian parents with their children in government schools are happy for the schools to teach all the neutral subjects. Except that neutrality is impossible. And, Wilson concludes, “[M]ore and more parents have been discovering [that] somebody has been lacing the oatmeal, for a century or so, with the Cocaine of Rank Unbelief.” [Credenda Agenda, Vol. 7 / # 5, p.22].
The point of Christian schools is not to add a few extra side dishes like prayer, chapel and a Bible curriculum. Those could simply be added at home or in church. The point is to serve whole meals in which every subject is a feast of Truth. The so-called neutral subjects are not neutral; they are all spiked with an agenda. Jesus said “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Lk 11:23). That includes text-book writers and math teachers; they are either for or against. It was Jesus who allowed no neutral zone.