• Education,  Philosophy of Education

    Education: A Treadmill and a Trail Run

    For some, education is like running on a treadmill. It is a measurable project, a process, the forming of a rational person, an equipping for industry, an economic machine, a societal organizer. Others see education as a trail run. It is a narrative, a life forming cultural story, an experience about what it is to be in the world, a discovery of passion, of love, of wonder. Most of us think education includes both. We want our children to learn form, to have trained minds, ready for work. And, at the same time, we want them to experience life, to live out a meaningful existence. But let’s face it, we…

  • Education,  James K.A Smith,  Philosophy of Education

    Postmodern Integration part 2

    As you might have noticed, I have been attempting to explore answers to a perennial question – how the Christian faith is integrated with learning. My interest is sparked not only by the fact that I have children who presently attend a Christian school, but also because of my own experience (okay, and it’s also my MA thesis). In some ways I am seeking to understand what I think to be true in principle – that there is nothing that is not under the sovereign rule of God and that includes every avenue of learning possible – math, science, literature, philosophy etc. Today I want to look at a postmodern…

  • Education,  Lanney Mayer,  Postmodernism

    Postmodern Integration

    Christian education, despite growing in the United States, continues to struggle to find its place among the largely secular educational environment. Lanney Mayer suggests that Western education provides an inhospitable home for theology under the “hegemony of naturalistic disciplines.” Religious education has either moved to the margins or evolved to suit empirical studies. Mayer suggests that the now widely disseminated postmodern critique of modern methods of knowing–that the mind does not mirror reality, but always brings to bear presuppositions of language, culture and politics–can help faith-learning integration. According to Mayer, between the two extremes–modernist objectivism and postmodern constructivism–lies the role of faith. Faith, for Mayer, is the human way of…

  • Education,  Philosophy of Education,  Science,  William Dembski

    Science and Religion: Dembski’s Proposal

    Ian Barbour has died. He was 90. Barbour’s life was spent attempting to solve one important problem – how science and religion relate to one another. He wrote: If science and religion were totally independent, the possibility of conflict would be avoided, but the possibility of constructive dialogue and mutual enrichment would also be ruled out. We do not experience life as neatly divided into separate compartments; we experience it in wholeness and interconnectedness before we develop particular disciplines to study different aspects of it. There are also biblical grounds for the conviction that God is Lord of our total lives and of nature, rather than of a separate ‘religious’…

  • Education,  Philosophy of Education

    Faith Learning Integration: Christian Traditions

    In my last post I summarized various philosophies of education. I promised to say something about Christian education. The main question for Christian education is: How do Christians integrate faith and learning? This question is about the integral relationships between the content of one’s faith and human knowledge found in particular disciplines. There are various schools of thought roughly related to distinctive doctrines held by various denominations. Richard Hughes explains how each relates faith to learning: The Reformed Model stresses the sovereignty of God. Since God is sovereign over every part of human experience God is related to every part of human experience by virtue of his authority over it.…

  • Education,  Philosophy of Education

    Why Philosophy Makes a Difference at School

    When considering what school is best for one’s children (or even when one does not have a choice and is merely analyzing the school that one’s children are going to attend) one should not only ask what is being taught, but why it is being taught. In other words, one should have a rough idea of the philosophy of a school. A very helpful book is Philosophy and Education by George Knight from which I draw on for a summary of the various schools of thought. Traditional educational theories set the stage for what follows. There are three main theories stressing ideas, the world and human nature. Idealism stresses ideas,…

  • Cornelius Van Til,  Education

    Van Til’s Philosophy of Education

    For Van Til, two doctrines are vital for Christian education – creation and providence. God makes all the facts and arranges them according to his own will. No fact is outside the control of God or originates in anyone other than God. Experiences of human beings all originate in the plan of God. For Van Til, all facts are related to God, they are his facts. Being related to God, facts are automatically revealing of God. A fact that is determined by God reveals God to human beings who themselves are created by God. In scripture God provides the right interpretation of nature, experience and all the other facts humankind…

  • Education,  Epistemology,  History,  Mark Noll,  Relativism

    Christian Relativism Anyone?

    After an accumulation of facts, meticulously researched in the most objective way possible, a researcher has the task of presenting the facts in a coherent way. The question is: can he do this without imposing his own political ideology, psychological leanings or scientific paradigm? Historian, Mark Noll, suggests that there are three attitudes available in response to the question. The scientistic attitude requires a scrupulous attention to method. If we get the method right the rest will follow. This attitude is held by positivist scientists and requires the adoption of a verificationist methodology modeled on an “empirical conception of the physical sciences.” The ideological attitude suggests that “historical writing exists…