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Classical Education

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by Baylor_SFL, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. Yes, classical education is okay for children to study.

  2. Yes, and I believe we should all study classical religion.

  3. No, classical education is bad for children to study.

  4. Absolutely not... and I don't want to study it either!

  5. I'm not sure...

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. Baylor_SFL

    Baylor_SFL Member

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    I found this article in Crosswalk's HomeSchooling section and wanted to post it here to find out what all of you think about it. I personally think that the classics are educational, but should be left for adults to study if they would like to. I beleive that, in teaching kids classical stories/about gods & goddesses, it's a way of saying pagan religion is okay...

    &nbsp;<B>A Second Look at Classical Education</B>By Elizabeth Smith <I>Classical education has been controversial because it pits pagan thought against Christian doctrine.</I>Over the past five or six years there has risen a chorus of advocates for classical education. As I have listened to these discussions, I have looked for a voice that questioned this approach. All the voices seemed to be saying the same thing: Classical Education is the answer; it is the best way to teach; it will give us the smartest kids. Yet as a home-school mom I have some reservations. I believe that there is a down side to the classical approach and my hope is that parents will look at it carefully, investigate its claims, and make wise decisions.

    Classical Christian Education continues to be a hot topic sweeping the home-school movement. It is being heavily marketed to moms who already feel overwhelmed by the demands of home schooling. When the method first surfaced several years ago, many of those proposing it had actually never tried it themselves. Nevertheless, it is promoted as the ultimate answer to the best education you can provide for your child. I spoke to a home-school mom recently who admitted that she felt guilty because she had not chosen classical education. So please allow me to share some of my concerns.

    Some have claimed that Classical Education is really a Christian idea that was stolen by pagans and we just need to reclaim it. However, the history of education, including Classical Education, traces its roots to the pagan Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle around 500-400 B. C. Today the backbone of the classical approach is the trivium. <I>Trivium </I>means where three come together.) This theory maintains that there are three stages to learning: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Although the term <I>trivium </I>was not used until medieval times, the components were very much a part of the ancient Greek approach to education. Most of the concepts surrounding Classical Education in the Middle Ages reflect a refinement of much earlier pagan philosophies about mankind and his place in the world. Humanism is the central premise to that original philosophy. These pagan roots have always concerned me. I just do not know how you make that go away.

    According to the eleventh edition of the <I>Encyclopedia Britannica</I>, Classical Education has been controversial because it pits pagan thought against theological doctrine. Again, according to the Britannica, a Liberal Arts education that was designed to follow the trivium was intended to make one knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects and well able to intelligently discuss many topics. It promised to make members of the upper class witty and interesting among their peers in any setting, but it was never intended to prepare someone to make a living or support a family. A Classical Education was for the upper class, which had no need of income or meaningful occupation.

    Greek, and later Latin, were deemed essential to the well-formulated mind. There are two reasons for this: 1) It allowed students to study ancient philosophers in their native tongue, and 2) It provided an elite language that only the upper class had knowledge of, thereby demonstrating their superiority. Today there is very little practical reason to study either language. In 17th and 18th century Europe, German and French replaced the so-called dead languages because they were simply more practical. Today advocates of Christian Classical Education seem to put such a large emphasis on Latin and Greek and I am trying to figure out how years of this study will benefit the vast majority of children.

    The trivium is taught in stages. The first is grammar for the early years, followed by dialectic, and then concluding with rhetoric. Grammar emphasizes memorization and rote learning of as many facts as possible. The more knowledge retained the better. Knowledge is considered neutral in that it is neither good nor evil. The eleventh edition of the <I>Encyclopedia Britannica</I> states that the content of what is learned is not to be judged morally or spiritually. The young mind is simply to acquire knowledge. Throughout the ages pagan philosophers have stressed open-mindedness in education. Our modern ideas of being non-judgmental and tolerant stem from the principles of this philosophy. This perspective paints the Christian view of homosexuality and abortion, for instance, as narrow-minded because it only accepts a biblical view. As I look at the trivium from every angle it just seems to be an artificial way to learn.

    Those encouraging us to implement Classical Education today recommend that we screen some of the classic literature because it is morally unacceptable. I am grateful for the effort to root out unacceptable literature. One leader has said that a 10-year-old should not read certain classical material, but it is acceptable when they are older. I have read things form Chaucer that I consider unsuitable for me. Romans 16:19 tells us " ... yet I would have you wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil." And Romans 13:14 says we are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." As Christian home schoolers one of the wonderful privileges we enjoy is the careful selection of curriculum that reflects our faith. I question whether we should expose our children to ideas that may undermine their young faith or rob them of their innocence.

    In Colossians 2:8 we are told to "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." II Timothy 2:16 says to "shun" such teachings lest our children "increase unto more ungodliness." I honestly struggle with my mother instinct that tells me to protect my children from some of these influences. Have you ever met someone addicted to Greek mythology? I have, and I have never forgotten it. In consideration of our children’s varying temperaments, how can we tell whether or not some of this literature will be harmful to them? I am also concerned about the "spirit" of Classical Education. Just as our faith has a spiritual element to it, so does humanism. We all know stories about someone who has started out on the path to God and had their faith shipwrecked.

    I don’t want to be preachy, but as a home schooler I feel that I have taken on a sacred trust from God to train my children for Him. I have tried my best to screen my decisions about their instruction through that responsibility.
     
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  2. Mid

    Mid Spirit of the Wolf

    406
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    Paganism IS okay.
     
  3. Mid

    Mid Spirit of the Wolf

    406
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    unacceptable literature: Little red riding hood. THe three little pigs. etc.
     
  4. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    I guess I'm not clear on what is meant by "classical education". If you mean a liberal arts education, well... I don't see how you can call thought "pagan"; Christians think too. I would not describe it as "pagan thought against Christian doctrine". I'd call it "training in using your brain", which is a good bet.
     
  5. Baylor_SFL

    Baylor_SFL Member

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    &nbsp;:confused: I prefer not to talk about this anymore...
     
  6. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    What do you mean by "pagan-based"? Stuff like Greek philosophers? Certainly! The philosophers were working on pure reason, not religion, and much of what they uncovered is still useful today.

    Most of the great Christian thinkers have had a good, solid, education in the Greek and Roman classics; indeed, I believe at least a couple of them venerated Aristotle and Plato for their brilliant thinking.
     
  7. Baylor_SFL

    Baylor_SFL Member

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    &nbsp;:confused: I prefer not to talk about this anymore...
     
  8. Mid

    Mid Spirit of the Wolf

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    perhaps they should cut all stories out then. No pagan, no christian. no religious anything in school. Then there really cant be any argument.
     
  9. ladylove

    ladylove Active Member

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    I think what you should do is sit down with your kids and go thru the classic lit and explain why Christianity shows that the classics are just fun fantasy just like playing house as children...
     
  10. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    If anything, I think a good classical education, which exposed you to the guts of the way these people had believed, would have made it easier for you to recognize what was going on.

    This is the first time I've seen Hellenistic and Wiccan beliefs in the same room, though. :)
     
  11. Havoc

    Havoc Celtic Witch

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    Pagan
    I think Baylor was more than a bit confused on the whole issue. What he has described (hellenistic, horrible rituals, etc) really isn't Wiccan at all. Sounds a bit "Mike Warnke"ish to me.

    Wicca isn't evil, it's just a different faith than Christianity.

    HAvoc
     
  12. Baylor_SFL

    Baylor_SFL Member

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    &nbsp;:confused: I prefer not to talk about this anymore... Obviously, I am not getting my point across and this is frusterating. I thought that this was a forum for Christians... not Pagans (no offense seebs &amp; ladylove).
     
  13. Havoc

    Havoc Celtic Witch

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    Pagan
    would that be in YOUR opinion?

    Havoc
     
  14. Mid

    Mid Spirit of the Wolf

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    I thought that this was a forum for Christians... not Pagans

    Not just it says: for christians and NON christians........... that includes pagans. Dont worry, I dont go into the ones for just christians............. :)
     
  15. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    Okay. I guess it does seem like part of your point is missing me. To the best of my knowledge, there's no actual believers in the Greek gods left, unless you count polytheists who believe that anything anyone worships is "real". I don't see Greek mythology as much of a threat to Christian thought.
     
  16. Baylor_SFL

    Baylor_SFL Member

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    I'm pretty sure that there still are people who worship gods... check out this site... they may be able to point out stuff I don't know (I'm not pagan after all...). Maybe you could ask them about it.

    The Cauldron - A Pagan Forum - http://www.ecauldron.com/
     
  17. alinedor

    alinedor New Member

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    Hi all!
    subj111
    Bye
     
  18. Arthra

    Arthra Baha'i

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    Actually I think in order to understand the traditions of western culture, history and law a classical education is important... Many of the great Christian humanists such as Thomas More, Erasmus and Comenius of the past most certainly had classical educations and knew Greek and Latin.

    - Art
     
  19. LittleLambofJesus

    LittleLambofJesus Hebrews 2:14.... Pesky Devil, git! Supporter

    +28,461
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    Hi. I hadn't heard of Marcus Aurelius until I saw him mentioned in the signature of another forum member.

    I found it rather interesting reading as I do not read too many writings outside of the Bible [only been reading about 3 and half years so far]. I would attempt to harmonize these with what is in the Bible and may even bring a better understanding of the Bible itself.

    What are others thoughts on this? Peace :wave:

    http://classics.mit.edu/Antoninus/meditations.html


    Roman Emperor and Stoic, the author of Meditations in twelve books. Its first printing appeared in English in 1634. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius the celebrated Pax Romana collapsed - perhaps this made the emperor the most forbearing of all Stoics. An important feature of the philosophy was that everything will recur: the whole universe becomes fire and then repeats itself.
    Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. (from The Meditations)
     
  20. arunma

    arunma Flaming Calvinist

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    I always understood classical education to be an education in the languages of Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, as well as in mathematics. Whatever it is, I'm afraid I fail to see the pagan connection here. The early church fathers quoted from the Greek philosophers. Greek philosophy was of some theological importance in the Western church (I don't know to what extent the Greeks affected the Eastern church, though). Unless one is a fundamentalist, I don't see why the idea of classical education would seem offensive to Christians.

    To the Christian, paganism is not OK. While I see nothing pagan about classical education, I nonetheless affirm that it is not acceptable to practice paganism, because God has declared this to be idolatry.
     
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