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I’m studying for my teaching exams. Sorta…

In my study guide for the subject “Teaching Natural Science – Professional Studies”, the distinguished Prof makes some interesting comments about whether or not we should teach evolutionary theory at primary school level:

“An example of a speculative theory is the theory of evolution, which is a hypothetical extrapolation from variations within a species…The theory of evolutionis speculative for, among others, the following reasons:
1) All breeding experimentation has produced only changes within a species…
2) No fossil of any intermediate species (Darwin’s missing link) has ever been found.
3) Mathematicians have calculated the number of selections and/or mutations required for species change… [and found them untenable]…
4) When amino acids combine, to form polypeptides the chemical reactions are reversable… [blah blah blah]… primeval ocean… [blah blah blah]… peptide synthesis will not take place.
5) Evolutionary change would always require an increase in genetic information, but genetic information can only be lost. It can never be gained.”

This entry is not about evolution. It’s about subjectivity in the classroom. You see, in spite of the good prof’s insistence that teaching evolution in the classroom is tantamount to “teaching [children] to accept, passively and unquestioningly, other people’s blind spots”, he does not hesitate to comment later,

“Teach children to appreciate the intricate, orderly and magnificent design in nature and how everything in nature… was created by God as an interrelated, interconnected, and independent whole”.

Now, as an evangelical Christian, I might agree with the Prof’s views, but I have to ask how I might feel if the author of the study guide was an atheist and I would be expected to give exam answers including his double-standard of what should be taught.

The question is not “who is right?”

The question is “Should teachers teach what they believe; or what we believe; or what we can all agree on?”

What do you think?

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“O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-
he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.”
– Psalm 137:8,9

The author of this poetic verse didn’t hold anything back. There are many imprecations in Scripture. The ancient Israelites held a sense of entitlement when they prayed. The Abrahamic covenant’s, “I will curse those who curse you” was always in view in “us-them” relationships. Combine this “God is my big brother” mentality with the lex talionis (“an eye for an eye”) as the backbone for Hebrew law and you get a background which makes this desire for baby-bashing of the people who had sacked Jerusalem completely authentic emotion. The fact that it was included in the Hebrew canon supports this picture. Most scholars agree that the book of Psalms was used in the second temple cult (worship). Which I suppose means that the people we encouraged to sing these words… as worship. I wonder if this authentic expression of emotion was authentic worship from God’s viewpoint?

But that’s old testament. Read the last few chapters of Judges and you will find yourself shaking your head in wonder that “In those days Israel had no king”:

” 1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim
2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curseā€”I have that silver with me; I took it.”
Then his mother said, “The LORD bless you, my son!”
3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol. I will give it back to you.”
4 So he returned the silver to his mother, and she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into the image and the idol. And they were put in Micah’s house.
5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some idols and installed one of his sons as his priest.
6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”
– Judges 17:1-6

People of the Old Covenant often made a complete mess in trying to discern God’s will. I wonder if we aren’t arrogant in assuming in our post-modern mentality that we are immune to misrepresenting God’s will ourselves.

We want to be authentic in our worship, but how will we protect ourselves from just doing (and singing) as we see fit? There is a strong drive in emerging worship trends towards ‘recovering authentic emotion’ (this is a desire that I hold dear myself). Earlier this year, I heard Brian Doerkson speak on this subject. He said that worship leaders “need to make room for people’s pain in worship”. Many people equate authentic emotion with authentic worship, but authentic worship is more than honest. Authentic worship fears God. Authentic worship doesn’t laugh when it’s asked “Isn’t this ‘strange fire’?” (Leviticus 10:1).

No matter how real and honest it feels.

About Me

Ecstatically married to Leane. Studying Theology and Teaching. Working as a worship leader, teacher, coach, guitar teacher. Living in the Mighty City of Mkondo in the sunny province of Mpumalanga, in the blessed country of South Africa.

Favourite Thoughts – Outbox

Religion is to be defended - not by putting to death - but by dying. Not by cruelty, but by patient endurance. - Lactantius (c.304-313).
What is essential Christianity? From first to last it is scandal, the divine scandal. Every time someone risks scandal of high order there is joy in heaven. - Soren Keirkegaard.
Where there are two Christians, there are three opinions... [Actually a Jewish saying, but at least as true for Christians]

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