The Transformation of American Culture: 1900- 2014
At the turn of the 20th Century, Americans believed in eternal life, in Eternity. They believed that life continued beyond the grave. Perhaps not everyone believed in the depravity of man, of the necessity of Redemption, but the culture reflected the Moral law and Biblical Principles for living one's life on earth. There was a universal hope of Heaven. This was true from the earliest beginning through the Founding of America and beyond.
This was the world that I was born into in 1930. American Education affirmed that we were "human;" meaning body, mind, and spirit. Bible reading was a part of daily school life throughout elementary school. I first encountered the theory of Evolution in a textbook in the grammar grades. My teacher, Mrs Louise Beals, of Washington, North Carolina, assured us that this was a "theory being floated around by unreliable scientists who couldn't prove it." We were quite satisfied, and dismissed the "strange theory" from our thoughts. I never had a teacher in elementary school who did not have a deep faith and exemplary character. Little did I know that John Dewey had already boldly written in "The New Republic" (1922) and later reprinted in " Education Today," (1940) "We make a religion of our education, we profess faith in its possibilities, we point with pride to its advance." The religion that he defined had no place for the Supernatural. The Humanist Manifesto identifies Education as a "religious experience."
By high school, Evolution had gained a small following in the Southern States. By the time I reached my Methodist College in 1948, the "strange theory" of my childhood years was now taught as Fact, as was the "old earth" millions of years theory that was so necessary for Evolution to be taught. While many of us were strong Christians we were not equipped to debate or refute our professors. We had no Apologetics taught in our youth groups at church at that time. Many of us did not believe the theories, but many had their faith shaken.
What was hidden beneath this pagan thought that would transform education throughout the country in half a century? I will submit that the teaching of Evolution cut to the heart of our Judeo-Christian faith as it attacked ORIGINS. Are we created by God to be His image bearers? Or are we an outcome of a series of accidents and chance? Psalm 130:14 clearly states that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Humanists see man differently. The Humanist sees himself as a child of the Cosmos, and one who has faith in man as the measure of values, the measure of all things. One of the leading humanists in the early 1900s, Stanton Hodgin, wrote that public schools would take the place of the church in America, and that those schools would be based on the religion of Humanism. His writings so impressed Curtis W. Reese that they were included in his published collection of "Humanist Sermons."
All of the teaching of my early years about "the regenerated heart's role in living out one's life" was now challenged by higher education circles in colleges and universities. To them, the heart is no more than a collection of muscles, right? Based on that, emotions are simply reactions to chemical interactions. Yes, Pagans have nothing to offer but distractions from the Truth. The fundamental cornerstone of true education is to know who we are, who we really are...that we are made in God's image with the capacity to know Him and to know Truth, thus able to live it out in relation to Him and to each other. Our view of Origins, and of Eternity, will determine how we invest our lives.
The modern culture reflects sin's hunger, which is never satisfied. The entertainment industry tracts sales of video games and hardware. Sin's hunger drives children and adults to entertain themselves with increasingly violent and immoral sexual content. Information from a study by the National Institutes of Health, an arm of the U. S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, focused on "Impact of Electronic Media Violence: Scientific Theory and Research." The study showed that:
1. Children in the U.S. spend an average between 3 and 4 hours a day viewing television.
2. More than 60% of programs contain some violence, and about 40% contain heavy violence.
3. Children spend increasingly amounts of time on video games, most of which contain violence. Video games are in 83% of homes with children.
4. Most of the games are violent. 94% are rated as violent by the game industry.
5. Video games use peaks during the middle childhood years, ages 8-10.
As children experiment with these things in search of their own identity, the world offers nothing but distractions from the Truth. The fundamental cornerstone of true education is the recognition of who we are, and of our being schooled for our Providential mission on this earth. That makes all the difference in our quality of life.
American Education in the public schools has offered a substitute for moral absolutes. Henry Nelson Wieman, a signatory for the “Humanist Manifesto II”, defines Religion for the Humanist mind:
"Religion, then, as the word here is used, will mean a ruling commitment practiced by a community of individuals to what they believe creates, sustains, saves, transforms, human existence toward the greatest good."
In the preface of the Humanist Manifesto II, Paul Kurtz wrote, "Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view." He further declares that it "rejects orthodox and dogmatic positions." His idea of Utopia, is the new world community of Humanism fulfilled.
Just as Britain has abandoned Christianity, America is in severe crisis as well. Recent research claims that the majority of Americans do not profess a personal faith in Christianity. How will the pulpits of our land respond to this urgent call? What will be the answer to Abortion, Euthanasia, Drugs, Crime, Pornography, Violence, Immorality, if not repentance? What will it take to rebuild family life, when the divorce rate has more than doubled since 1960.
The spiritual fallout has taken its toll on academic achievement and general knowledge of history and literature and the world around us. Don Feder, in his book, Pagan America, quotes a National Endowment for the Humanities study: 68% of high school seniors don't know when the Civil War occurred. two-thirds can't identify the Reformation, and 64% can't identify the author of "The Canterbury Tales." Clearly our schools have failed their primary function to educate.
The great stories of Literature that reflect human greatness are being lost to this generation. The rise and fall of cultures throughout the centuries have powerful lessons to teach us. And underlying them all, the study will reveal if the nation has one God or many gods. Cultures reveal their religion.
The American Humanist Association has a religious tax exemption with the Internal Revenue Service. According to our friend, Dr. David Noebel, an IRS agent verified this as a 501-c-3 status and gave Dr. Noebel the actual federal ID number as proof.
In closing, let me say that there is no such thing as "value-neutral education." Many people do not want to take the time to be informed on the crisis in Education, because they do not want to be involved; they do not want to be disturbed. The Humanist worldview is not only real, it is the greatest threat to liberty, and it has gained many disciples in high places. Only through God's intervention, can this Republic be restored. Who side are you on? Do you have on your armor? Are you ready for battle? The children and families of this nation need you. NOW. Please, don't let them down.
Books referenced in the article:
Your Origins Matter
Henry Morris III
Institute for Creation Research, 2013
A Jewish Conservative Looks at Pagan America
Clergy in the Classroom
David Noebel, Summit Press, 3rd Ed.2007