Christians believe that their morals and teaching ought to be taught and passed to the next generation. Therefore, they justify the education as Jesus taught the crowds about morally accepted conduct and how to live by the word. The sharing of Christian education was further pushed to a broader mass through missionary work. Christianity’s teachings through the Scriptures depict the Christian mission and education’s significance. It is seen as a way to bring back lost souls and bring light to the world through God. Similarly, education of Christianity was aimed at making sacred texts that could be used to guide the masses in the future.
The New Testament educates and develops a missional heart of the Lord towards the Sinners and lost, thus forming the basis for Christian mission today. In addition, Christians are tasked with the responsibility of spreading the Gospel as a way of ensuring universal salvation. However, in the past few decades, it has become apparent that the American public education system has veered from Christianity. Understanding the decline in Christian education can help to explain the roots of moral decadence in American schools.
A Decline in Christian Education
For centuries, America and Europe were known for religious practices as most missionaries came from these continents and traveled worldwide to spread their faith. In the process of traveling to countries and spreading their mission, they became successful and managed to convert more people to the teachings of Christianity. This tradition dates back to the Inquisition, when many Catholic Church organizations fought heretical sects by holding hearings of suspects. Interestingly, America today needs more evangelism because of the increase in religious tolerance and secular humanism, more than most countries on other continents. Global South experienced more growth spiritually because they associated religion with politics creating safe spaces for sharing Christianity and practicing it.
Therefore, for the USA to restore its Christianity, it has to do away with secular humanism and religious tolerance by emphasizing God’s knowledge. Secular humanism is a state where a group does not believe in the existence of God, therefore, advocating for moral relativism. In the mid to late 20th century, radical social eras came up, giving contradicting opinions on Christianity, forcing its decline. Overall, secular humanism in American education has risen due to religious criticism among various societal members, including authors, scientists, and entertainers.
Religious tolerance is among the reasons leading to declining Christianity in Education in America. Younger generations in the USA have seen a significant shift toward atheism during the last 25 years, with the proportion of none believers rising considerably in the preceding decade. In this modern era, the USA has been subjected to divergent views on religion, creating a void previously filled with Christianity. Moreover, in the current century, people are being taught what is in contrast with Christian values, for example, embracing same-sex relationships and making society tolerant of religion, leading to which caused a decline in Christianity. The creation of peaceful coexistence between Islam and Christianity Hinduism within the boundaries of society has led to the adoption of religiousness to build inclusivity and equity among all members. It has been pushed further by incorporating some values from these religions into the education system. The experts had to settle on having none of the religions in education and instead pushed for rationalism and liberal thinking in the education sphere of America.
Increase in Secular Education
The second factor contributing to the religious decline in education in the USA is an increase in secular education. Schools may only offer secular education to promote liberal attitudes and values to the learner. However, the outcome is mostly negative as it leads to the decline and creation of a ‘wider vision’ overlooking religion. Since the emphasis on Christianity has been taken away from the education system, the majority of the population has grown without a moral watchdog creating a decline in religion among the American citizens. This is supported by a recent survey that found that American college graduates are more likely than others to describe themselves as atheists or agnostics. As secularism promotes teachings of objectivity, rationalism, and open-mindedness, it results in the absence of clearly stipulated values based on a common religious belief used as a measure of morality in the general society. Secular education has therefore played a tremendous role in the decline of Christian education in American schools.
The Clash between Religion and Science
The clash between religion and science has become a significant cause of the decline. Indeed, the Catholic Church was originally a supporter of science education. However, this relationship has declined over the years partly due to criticism that Christianity lacks the aspect of testability through science in its application. This disorients learners from the belief citing inconsistency in its teachings. Moreover, the teachers may have excellent scientific training and background, thus opposing the efforts to impart Christianity to the learners. In its teaching, Christianity may sometimes lack empirical evidence, resulting in conflict with the rest of the taught subjects, which are easy to justify in the education system. Besides, the application of science in day-to-day activities has further pushed religion to a darker and more unrecognized spot, with most modern people choosing to ignore it.
Embracing the Internet in Learning
Incorporating technology into learning has become the norm in today’s world due to convenience and management of modern-day problems such as the emergence and management of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The result of e-learning is globalization, ‘making the world a village’ as used today. Globalization has made most American students opt for more practical and modern trends, including new religions. Further, the exposure to technology has led to the acceptance of a more worldly view of Christianity and a comfortable space for one to choose what to follow.
Politics and Christianity
As seen by the proliferation of extremist Muslim organizations around the globe, religion has a perilous inclination to inspire violence. In the U.S., some political factions have attempted to separate politics and religion, seeing them as a tool for oppression and politics. Particularly, it was politicized during the days of Jimmy Falwell, equating the Republicans to Christianity. Americans, therefore, had a conflicting relationship between politics and religion, and some regarded them as interdependent while others chose to differ. Politics could be used to spread the word of God as politicians practice their politics. Contrarily, Europe and USA separated politics and religion because it was viewed as a tool for oppression and conflicts, resulting in the decline of Christianity in Education.
The Decline of Churches
In recent years, there has been a decline in the number of churches in America, and the same impacts society’s teachings and moral standards. As education systems would want to incorporate Christianity in their teachings, it has become difficult due to the above-stated fact. This can be attributed to the fact that children come from varying backgrounds and hold different aspects of morality. For example, some are non-church-going and have different views from those who attend church. To balance the societal beliefs of paganism and religion, most resolved to not go to church which impacted Christianity in the education system. Education has to be impartial and unbiased, and incorporating certain aspects of religion leads to conflicts.
The religious decline in America has been caused by many factors and not a single event. The fact, however, does not seem to trouble most people as everyone is seeking something to identify with what is justifiable. Trying to have a moral code of conduct while encouraging liberal attitudes so that learners can think without being limited in any form meant they had to go away with religion in education. Striking a balance between this education and religion is a great challenge, thus resulting in a decline in Christianity in education.
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