September 14, 2011

Educating the Whole Child

Category: Education :: Permalink

Between the two concepts of education, the Calvinistic and that of the Enlightenment and contemporary thought, there can be no compromise.  They are in hopeless contradiction.  The modern concept, with its cosmopolitanism and its clean-tablet ideal, is erosive and destructive of all aspects of culture except the monolithic state, which is then the ostensible creator and patron of culture.  When it speaks of the whole child, it speaks of a passive creature who is to be molded by statist education for a concept of the good life radically divorced from God and from all transcendental standards.  The goal of such education will only be reached when man ceases to be man, and, this being an impossibility, the only outcome of such education can be the increasing resistance of the child to its radical implications.

Modern education thus is statist education, and the state is made the all-embracing institution of which all other institutions are but facets.  The state and the person, government and individual, become thus the two realities of such a world-view.  both demand freedom and power for themselves.  The state recognizes no law beyond itself and the individual insists on his own autonomy and ultimacy.  But the child of the state, being a man without faith, has no vital principle of resistance and thus even in his rebellion is statist.  Every philosophy of autonomous man from the Greeks to the present has foundered on the problem of the one and the many, universality and particularity.  If the one is affirmed as the ultimate reality, the individuals are swallowed up in the whole.  If the many be affirmed, then reality is lost in endless particularity and individuality, and no binding concept has any reality.  Thus, the one and the many are in perpetual tension.  The individual and the state, for example, can only each affirm themselves at the expense of the other.

Against this, the consistent Christian philosophy, as developed by Calvinistic thinkers such as Kuyper, Bavinck and C. Van Til, by beginning with the biblical revelation and the ontological trinity, begins thereby with the equal ultimacy and the fundamental congeniality of the one and the many in the trinity, three persons, one God.

The concept of the covenant furthers this unity in that the self-realization of the individual is the advantage of all and is advanced by and integral with the self-realization of others.  In the modern conception, the fulfilment and self-realization of the individual are at the expense of others and may involve their sacrifice.  For the orthodox Christian, self-realization apart from the covenant is an impossibility, and it involves life in an organism, the true body of Christ.

This latter concept, the body of Christ, asserts emphatically in all its biblical statements that individuality is not monotonous repetition but the fulfilment of varying functions and callings as individuals who are yet part of a common whole.  The service of the body requires the fulfilment of the individual; the eye must fulfil itself as an eye that the entire body as well may prosper. — Rousas J. Rushdoony, Intellectual Schizophrenia: Culture, Crisis and Education, pp. 9-11.

Posted by John Barach @ 3:15 pm | Discuss (0)

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