Re: Teaching (Was: Re: Final Textbook Insert)

George Murphy (
Wed, 26 Nov 1997 16:49:41 -0500

Arthur V. Chadwick wrote:

> Why even present Christianity, anyway. After all they are the majority
> belief system in this country (or at least a close second to materialistic
> paganism), and we don't want a public school system inculcating religious
> beliefs to our children. In addition, Christianity is so pluralistic in
> its posturing on origins that I am sure if you presented every possible
> belief on origins, you would have covered the spectrum I hear presented on
> this forum in the name of Christianity anyway. Thus you could avoid all
> the possible problems of teaching a class on origins (religion) in the
> public sector.

Bypassing the sarcasm -
It would be great to be able to teach about both evolution and
creation in an explicitly Christian context. Like it or not, that
cannot be done in present-day American public schools. We can respond
to that by taking our dolly dishes and going home, or we do what _is_
possible. We can teach young people that the Judaeo-Christian tradition
is an is an important aspect of our culture, as other faiths are of
other cultures, tell them something of the content of biblical and
theological traditions, and get them to realize that people with
religious commitments try to deal with scientific and other intellectual
concerns. That seems to me a non-trivial contribution.
Of course there are many strands of the Christian tradition. In
the present context it would not be necessary to get into all those
distinctions: "Special creation" and "theistic evolution" (with the
recognition that those in the latter category understand it to be an
expression of creation), though rather broad groupings, would probably
be adequate. (Some other religious differences - e.g., Protestant &
Roman Catholic - should be dealt with in any adequate world history
George Murphy