Book Basics

“A university is not a political party, and an education is not an indoctrination.” David Horowitz

Twitter exchange on #Creationism in the Textbook:

Steadfast @Oldself

@Newself  I cannot believe that anyone would put evolution into a textbook. It is just a theory. #Creationism must be taught and preserved.

Freedom @Newself

@Oldself  How can a personal belief in a God who created everything go into an educational textbook? #Creationism is a belief; evolution has factual findings.

Steadfast @Oldself

@Newself  Baloney. There are no facts to support evolution. You have been deceived. You must stop reading anything that has such a sentiment. It will ruin you and give the Devil a place in your heart. #Creationism is real. It needs to be in every student’s textbook.

Freedom @Newself

@Oldself  Are you bull-shitting me? Information can never hurt me. Data is good. Exposure to new ideas is good. How can that be bad? #Creationism stifles growth. Don’t try to indoctrinate me. Let me learn.

Steadfast @Oldself

@Newself  Burning in Hell is pretty bad. Repent, and believe in #Creationism.

Indoctrination is so deeply rooted that one has to use a great deal of energy to overcome its influence. Once indoctrinated, the old discarded teachings continue to come to mind; no matter how far I travel. It is an old internal battle of the mind. I am grateful that I can counter those old teachings and freedom of discovery prevails.

“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.” Thomas Paine



Perspective and Perseverance

While visiting with my son last night, we were remembering his grandparents-my parents. It is such a wonderful thing to pass on new stories and to re-tell the old ones.

No matter the story, two prevalent themes come through when I think of my parents.

Mother-often said “there is good and bad in everything”. It was a very valuable lesson. Daily I encounter an experience that creates an emotional response. The way that I see the situation, frames the way I feel about it. I have the choice of perspective every morning.

“When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.” Harvey Mackay—although it could have been my mother, or myself for that matter.

Father-he was a little less verbal, so my lesson from him came from observation. I saw him slowly lose mom to dementia, and shortly thereafter be diagnosed with esophageal cancer. From diagnosis to passing was 2 short years. During those years, and while he went through surgery, and then chemo/radiation treatment, he continued to work on the log cabin he had started after mom passed away. I knew that he wanted to finish the cabin so that ‘his girls’ would not have to handle that task. He wanted to clear the land, so he continued to chop and saw wood. Every movement that he made brought him pain, yet he persevered to finish a goal.

“Patience and perspective have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” John Quincy Adams

I miss my parents. My spirit hugs theirs and daily I feel their influential presence.

Under the Influence

“We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought.” Dwight D Eisenhower

We are influenced every day. From the simple act of passing people in the hall-who can encourage us with their warm greeting or cause a shudder of cold isolation as they ignore or disdainfully look at us- to placing ourselves under the direct tutelage of a teacher.

It is nice to select a mentor to provide influence. Someone who inspires you or encourages you to be the best that you can be. Someone who reminds you that you can do what ever is placed in your journey. Someone whom you trust that you believe will be at your back when times become rough.

Unfortunately, there are many who don’t get to choose their constant companions: children and prisoners of war come to mind. They both arrived in their situation by no fault of their own. My particular concern in this blog is the influence to children. They are young and cannot take care of them selves. Their developing minds are easily bent toward what is put into them.

Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention clearly advocate the need to control what is put into a person’s mind.  Timothy George wrote an article where he advocated, “May God give us again Baptist families and Baptist churches who will take seriously the awesome responsibilities of indoctrinating our children in the things of God.” ( Adrian Rogers, past Southern Baptist Convention President said while discussing the need for the seminary professors to teach as they were told, said “If we say pickles have souls, they better teach pickles have souls.”  (same source)  

Being ‘under the influence’ is dangerous. It creates an altered state of consciousness or reality. We say people are under the influence when they have had too much to drink, or taken drugs. Their thinking process is interrupted. They cannot process information as they would otherwise.

So it is with being indoctrinated. That is not the enjoyment of receiving the influence of someone that you respect, or art that you enjoy. Indoctrination is forced on you and it steals your ability to reason. It is challenging to have a discussion with someone who is under the influence-you go around and around in circles and arrive nowhere.

So how do we stop the dangers of indoctrination and the state of being under the influence. In the drinking and drugs scenario, we have laws that provide safe thresholds. As communities we attempt to provide education on the proper way to balance drinking or taking appropriate doses of medication. But in thinking, we seem to leave people on their own.

I think education and discussion is the key. Exposing new ideas, or new approaches to life broadens a person’s awareness. I know it did for me. I advocate that we have more dinner conversations, more open classrooms and less isolation. Let people discover for themselves the beauty of living and the joy of embracing their own life journey.