Talk 3: Is Truth Stranger than Fiction?
If a number of doctors examine a sick patient and correctly diagnose their medical condition, they may have differences of opinion on what is the most effective course of treatment, but they will have a common understanding of what it means for that person to recover and be healthy.
If, however, you put together a group of social scientists, educators and politicians and asked them what constitutes the good life that leads to happiness, there would be no such common understanding.
There is no doubt that there is a cosmic spiritual battle happening between competing worldviews. In the advanced modern world, there is a profound loss of hope, a sense of dread and paralysing anxiety around what is the meaning and purpose of life. Reality isn’t what it used to be – we are now in a world of our own construction.
The world has become post-truth because it has ruled out the eternal – Jean-Paul Satre is reported to have mused “Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal” (2019, p. 62).
Therefore, basic to an understanding of Christian education is the role of a school that unfolds a Biblical Worldview to their students. Dr B Ramm insightfully stated “College is the centre of warfare because it is a place where principle confronts principle. Each of the enemies of the truth of God is itself a life system and can only be combatted with a life system … a (college) built on a minimal creed is unrealistic in view of the greatness of the battle … (it) must be founded on a Christian life system” (1992, p. 2).
A world ‘without windows’ says we only need reason to live well. It is not a surprise that many contemporary educational practices have been hollow in relation to the promise to deliver education that is going to transform students. In The Silver Chair, by CS Lewis, the children are trapped beneath Narnia in the land of the ‘Underworld’ where its wicked Queen persuades them to believe there is no such thing as Narnia and so they are not Narnians. She throws a green powder into the fire which produces a fragrant and drowsy smell. In their enchanted haze, the world they thought they knew begins to disappear. But Puddlegum stomps out the fire clearing the heavy air and declares that he is on Aslan’s side. Coming to themselves, the children begin to realise who they were from the beginning. Likewise, Christian education is to awaken our children to the reality of their true identities given to them all along and a view of the world through God’s eyes.
Living in truth is freedom because we are engaging our students in reality as it truly is. In Christ all things hold together and it is only in relation to Him that we can make sense of life (Col 1:17).
As teachers, we must ask: What story does our curriculum content tell? How does this learning contribute to the school’s vision of the good life, lived under the Lordship of Christ in worship of God and for His glory?
At the heart of every subject is the fundamental question of origins. Not only has God designed the physical creation with laws that govern its existence and preservation but “God’s ordinances also extend to the structures of society, to the world of art, to business and commerce” (Wolters, 2005, p. 25).
The Biblical story orientates us to living wisely in the world, gives us a sense of what is the right way up and what is wrong in the confusion of events and phenomena that confronts us. It enables us to envision redemptive solutions. As students learn to articulate and embrace a Biblical view of life, they will develop the capacity to apply the categories of the Biblical narrative: Creation, Fall, and Redemption to their learning and all areas of life – personal, social and cosmic life. Story becomes the way we remember the past, makes sense of a world that is both beautiful and ugly and imagines the future God has in store for us.
As students are led to apply God’s truth to their learning and their culture, meanings can emerge as questions are addressed and new insights are discovered for the times in which they live. We are seeking to raise students to live wisely as disciples of Jesus where every part of their lives becomes a place of nearness and service to God, where truth and character are displayed.
There is creative tension for us as Christians in this task because schools in western culture are structured to embody a worldview story that is largely antithetical to the Gospel.
May the Lord inspire and lead you in this spiritual battle for the minds and hearts of the students for as Jesus said “If you hold to my teaching you are my disciples, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31).
Grace and Peace
The Team, The Excellence Centre
- Satre, J.P. in Mangalwadi, V, (2019). This Book Changed Everything. Sought after Media.
- Ramm, B. (1992). Biblical Christian Education: Liberation for Leadership. G Martin’s lecture, Sydney.
- Wolters, A.M. (2005). Creation Regained. Eerdmans Publishing