Russell and Duenes

Public Schools and Civil Religion

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Previously I argued that Christians should stop trying to “reclaim” the public schools, the primary reason being that the public schools are going to choose a particular God, and that God cannot be Jesus Christ. Thus, the most that Christians could hope to gain in today’s public schools, barring massive cultural repentance, would be a kind of civil religion, the kind that U.S. presidents practice when they end their speeches with, “God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

So let us suppose that Christians could get prayer back into schools, a highly unlikely scenario, but even supposing they could, to whom would they be praying? Would those prayers be “in Jesus’ name?” No, they would be some kind of bland, minimalist, multicultural offering to “the unknown god.” So why would Christians want this? This would be worse than what we’ve got now. As C.S. Lewis says,

A minimal religion compounded of spirit messages and bare Theism has no power to touch any of the deepest chords in our nature, or to evoke any response which will raise us even to a higher secular level – let alone to the spiritual life. The god of whom no dogmas are believed is a mere shadow. He will not produce that fear of the Lord in which wisdom begins, and, therefore, will not produce that love in which it is consummated…There is in this minimal religion nothing that can convince, convert, or (in the higher sense) console; nothing, therefore, which can restore vitality to our civilization. It is not costly enough. It can never be a controller or even a rival to our natural sloth and greed. A flag, a song, an old school tie, is stronger than it; much more, the pagan religions…If there is no God then we have no interest in the minimal religion or any other.

But there IS a God, and His name is Jesus, and He will not be caged within some tame cultural form, stripped of power and truth.



Written by Michael Duenes

April 20, 2012 at 7:25 am

Posted in Duenes, Education

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