Russell and Duenes

Education in the Secular Mind

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William L. Shirer, well-known author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, was a news correspondent in Berlin from 1934-1940, traveling with the German Wehrmacht as they destroyed Poland, the Low Countries, and France. As part of his “20th Century Journey” series, he wrote another book entitled The Nightmare Years: 1930-1940. This book is essentially his memoirs of these years, giving his in-depth take on Nazi Germany. As I make my way through this book, several things stand out: 1) Shirer is of the secular mind, 2) as such, he clearly makes education a kind of god in human affairs, and 3) he cannot thus understand how such an advanced, educated, and civilized society such as Germany could have fallen under the spell of the “ignorant” and “uneducated” Nazis. Shirer repeatedly bemoans the stupidity and doltishness of the Nazi hierarchy, and lavishes praise upon the “intellectually curious” folks in his own circles. He writes,

I could watch [Hitler] day after day work his magic on the German masses and perhaps I could begin to grasp the reasons for something that was beyond comprehension: the reputed hold of this vulgar, uneducated, fanatically bigoted Austrian, who had risen from the gutters of Vienna, on a great people who over the centuries had contributed their considerable share to the civilization of the West. (115-16)

Yet education, or the lack of it, is not the problem. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not arguing that “intellectual curiosity” is bad, nor am I suggesting that education is unimportant for creating the good and just society. But as far as I can tell, and Shirer gives evidence of this, the secular mind worships at the fount of education, seeing it as the ultimate solution to the wickedness we have in our world, and in places like Nazi Germany in particular. However, in Nazi Germany you have one of the most scientifically and culturally advanced and educated cultures in world history, and yet they gave their allegiance to, in Churchill’s words, “the grissly gang” of Nazis who plunged their country into ruin and doom. And not only did the Germans fall for it, but many important and educated people in France, Britain, and the United States also sang Hitler’s praises.

Today we keep hearing that we simply must pour endlessly more dollars into our government education system, for education is the worship of the western secular person today, and we will all keep bowing down to this false god until, as in Germany and elsewhere, it betrays us, as all false gods do. When education does not begin, as it surely does not in our public schools, with “the fear of God” and allegiance to Jesus Christ as the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge, then the enterprise is doomed, and people with “PhD” behind their name will fall for the most outlandish and human-destroying lies.

So, by all means, educate. But let us not kid ourselves into thinking that education, apart from Christ, will ever be the solution to the moral problems that we face as humans, problems that remain the same from generation to generation. Let us educate to the end which God has instructed us, namely, that we learn to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” (Micah 6:8)



Written by Michael Duenes

December 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Duenes, Education, History

One Response

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  1. Education will never be the answer for the problem of sin.

    Ed and Lauren

    December 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

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