Prayer concern: How can Monroe Pastors better collaborate with our School District?
A few years ago Pastors Steve Whalen, Dustin McCuen and I met with Monroe High School principal, John Lombardi, to talk about possible collaboration. I had a concern about how Christianity is presented to our young people at Monroe High. This concern came from a parent in my congregation who asked me take a look at the textbook used for the World Civilization course. After reading the section on Christianity, I made the following observations:
· The text leads students to the conclusion that Buddhism & Christianity are same. It asserts “similarities…salvation and guidance of saints” (!) It presents the Buddha as “divine savior” and “Jesus of Nazareth, believed by Christians to be the son of God…”
· The text shows little understanding of basic Christian teachings. For example, it states that Jesus was “sent to earth to redeem human sin” (!) It says that Jesus was called “Christ…through his sacrifice to prepare his followers for widespread possibility of an afterlife and heavenly communion with God.” (??)
· The text is full of clichés: e.g. that Christianity is “exclusive” and “intolerant.” At the same time, the same text mentions Christianity’s ability to integrate a variety of practices and philosophical viewpoints – with no sense of the difference between organic development and “syncretism.”
· The text suggests the old canard about Paul being the founder of the Christianity and inventor of its doctrine (authors seem unaware of Gal 2:2 or 1Cor 15:3).
· Text mentions the “complex doctrine of Trinity” and proceeds to give an incorrect statement of that teaching.
And so it goes: about three pages of statements and claims with no precision (or even much apparent thought) and no documentation.
Conclusion: Our students are poorly served by this text. Christianity is central to Western Civilization and continues to play a huge role in our nation and our world. It is important for all students to have a basic understanding of Christian origins. This text seems more like propaganda than an honest and thoughtful presentation of Christianity.
Suggestions: Students would be better served by the Wikipedia article on Christianity. But even better, why don’t we pastors offer a presentation on basic Christian beliefs, e.g. by using Mere Christianity or other statement of core Christian teachings?
--Fr. Phillip Bloom (Pastor – St. Mary of the Valley)
Fr. Phillip Bloom, Pastor
Phone: 360-794-8945, ext 12