Why isn't religion part of our education?
I was moved by a chapter entitled Absolute Absolution in John Taylor Gatto's book The Underground History of American Education. Here are a few choice bits and pieces.
"The problem of God has always been a central question of Western intellectual life; the flight from this heritage is best evidence that school is a project having little to do with education as the West defined it for thousands of years. It's difficult to imagine anyone who lacks an understanding of Western spirituality regarding themselves as educated. And yet, American schools have been forbidden to enter this arena even in a token way since 1947."
"[Christianity,] this unique moral chronicle led to an everyday behavioural code which worked so well that in a matter of centuries it became the dominant perspective and soon it made inroads into every belief system across the planet. But... competing codes viewed Christianity antagonistically because of its power to liberate ordinary people from the bondage of fear and envy... Superficially you might argue that the success of the West is the result of its guns being better, but really its that the story of hope we have to relate is superior to any other."
"According to Christianity, religion is not a sometimes thing when you need it but a medium in which we act out our lives. Nothing has any meaning without religion."
"Schooling is an instrument to disseminate [a] bleak and sterile vision of a blind-chance universe.... We teach children to scorn faith so comprehensively that buying things and feeling good becomes the point of their lives."
"The neglected genius of the West, neglected by the forced schooling institution as deliberate policy, resides in its historical collection of spiritual doctrines which grant dignity and responsibility to ordinary individuals, not elites. I have the greatest respect for every other religious tradition, but not one of them has ever done this or attempted to do this."
"The effect of [Christianity] on world history has been titanic. It has brought every citizen in the West a mandate to be sovereign... a purpose for being alive, independent of mass behavioural prescriptions, money, experts, schools and governments. It has conferred significance on every aspect of relationship and community... In Western spirituality, everyone counts. What constitutes a meaningful life is clearly spelled out: self-knowledge, duty, responsibility, acceptance of ageing and loss, preparation for death. It's time to teach these things to our children once again."