Dear Parents ,
‘Is God dead and does it really matter to my child’s education?
Last week’s Newsletter asked the question: ‘Would the world be better off without Christianity?’. It’s a reflection that ‘things have changed’, when these questions make their way into the field of public interest and opinion. I’m glad we are increasingly having the opportunity to speak about our faith. I unexpectedly had a related conversation with my Hairdresser on the weekend.
Her story spoke of a parent’s persevering love. She shared with me the normal challenges she had with her teenage daughter. These ‘normal’ challenges soon included significant truanting. There was no need for her to share the reasons. From experience, I know teenagers generally react to difficult circumstances, in ways that can be ‘harmful’ to their overall wellbeing. The state school her daughter was in did the best they could to give her increasing truanting problem needed attention. In desperation, a suggestion was made to attend a small private secondary school, specifically for girls. It is known for helping teenage girls ‘get back on track’ with their education. The school is run by caring Christians who are dedicated to treating every student in the image of God. In this way, the perception of each child directs and determines how they are nurtured back to self-belief, and school success. Fast forward, her daughter was asked to come back to the small secondary school as a guest speaker, to share her journey from ‘self-harm’ (in a truanting context) to successfully graduating from school. Not without pain and challenges, it’s a wonderful story of a mother’s unconditional love.
I suggest to you that God’s influence made a profoundly positive difference to that mother’s teenage daughter.
The next day I read an article in the Australian Newspaper that asked the question: “Is God Dead?”. I encourage you to read some of the below excerpts written by Greg Sheridan.
For a time we will continue to live off the declining ethical and cultural capital of our heritage of 2000 years of Christianity and more than 3000 years of the Judeo-Christian tradition. But as British writer Arnold Lunn once remarked, we are living off the scent of an empty vase. As we cut ourselves off ever more comprehensively from the roots of our civilisation, our civilisation will be damaged.
The social and political consequences will be severe, with a crippling loss of civic purpose. At this moment there is a perfect storm of social, historical, technological, educational and intellectual forces militating against belief in Christianity. A semi-official new religion, the new atheism, is slowly taking its place and acquiring the appurtenances of an established church. Atheism is every bit as much a religious faith as any religion, but it is less rational and less human than Christianity.
But it was in the New Testament that the bases for human rights and human dignity were most explicitly developed. The revolutionary ethical teachings of Jesus in the New Testament have remained well known, even in our time of self-induced cultural amnesia. Treat others as you would have them treat you. If your enemy strikes you on the right cheek, do not strike back but offer him the left cheek. Even the sense that the poor are favoured by God retains a faint hold on Western consciousness. But some parts of the New Testament with more obvious long-term implications for political culture are forgotten.
Consider Saint Paul, in his letter to the Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
It has been rightly said that when people stop believing in God they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything. An intolerant atheism is just one variant of a wild miscellany of ideologies and esoteric (a few) cults gaining ground in the West. Witchcraft is undergoing a big revival. Old-fashioned communist banners have been seen in many recent demonstrations in London. The murderous violence in Charlottesville was accompanied by Nazi swastikas.
The lack of purpose and the lack of any ultimate standards that comes with the exile of God from our culture leads to savage polarisations and sudden outbursts of hysterical sentiments.
This is an inevitable consequence of the new conception of human nature that will follow the turn away from God. Without God, human beings are no longer unique, universal and special in nature — they are just one more chancy outcrop of the planet and its biosphere. And when Christianity is more completely eradicated from our consciousness it will dawn on the culture that without God there is no final human accountability. Life is just what you can get away with, and no ultimate price to pay.
According to my Hairdresser’s story, there’s evidence that God is not dead. There’s a strong argument to suggest God’s love directly motivates the very special, caring people who committed themselves to helping my Hairdresser’s daughter get back on track with her education. I feel compelled to ensure our children learn how our western society was shaped by the foundational belief that God’s personal love can positively transform our life.
South Coast Baptist College teaches all students that God’s unconditional, extravagant love, can be personally experienced. Our College was started by members of Rockingham Baptist Church. God motivated them to create a learning environment for your children that is continuing to thrive, evidenced by our continued growth and achievement-related development.