As I look back over the past several months I am amazed at where we are as a society. Some of the things that have taken place since the first of the year are somewhat mind-boggling. If you would have asked me as little as one year ago if I thought certain things would be normative today, I would have resounded with a very strong no. I would have never dreamed that:
- college students would need a “safe space” where they could get hot chocolate and donuts if they felt threatened or stressed due to what someone might say or think.
- university professors would postpone classes or exams due to stress caused by who was elected into certain public offices.
- Facebook would now have 71 different gender options that people can choose from to describe who they feel they are.
- parents would leave the gender of their new born child blank on the baby’s birth certificate so that the child can choose a gender the child feels comfortable with later.
- a University of Georgia professor would allow students to choose their own final grades in order to reduce stress.
- a person would spend thousands of dollars on reconstructive surgery so the person could become what “it” thinks “itself” to be – an alien from outer space.
- there would be violent protests to pull down or destroy historical landmarks and statues depicting our country’s history. There has even been a call to remove the stature of Thomas Jefferson from the campus of the University of Virginia (that he personally designed and built) because he once owned slaves (this one hit home as I received two degrees from the University).
I could go on and on listing things that are frankly quite absurd. The question is how did we get here? The very fabric of our country’s founding is being destroyed or, more accurately, has disappeared completely. I observed something that helped me understand what has taken place over the past hundred or so years in this country on a recent trip to Australia.
My wife and I were taken to a beautiful rainforest outside the Gold Coast of Australia. While walking through the forest I was introduced to a fascinating phenomenon taking place. There is a species of fig called Ficus watkinsiana. I soon learned that birds would roost in the tops of very tall, strong trees after eating the fruit of this particular fig. While roosting the birds deposit tiny fig seeds in the tops of trees through their waste.
Upon germination the seeds would send out small fibrous roots that would begin growing down the tree toward the ground (Figure 1). At the same time, the plant grows upward to reach the sunlight above the forest canopy. At first these roots seem very harmless but over time they become extremely dangerous, even lethal. Before long these roots begin to wrap themselves around the trunk of the tree as they reach the ground and take root in the soil. Even at this stage everything seems to be fine and the roots from the fig seem to live in harmony with the tree that it is beginning to encapsulate (Figure 2).
Over a period of time the entire trunk of the once strong tree is totally engulfed by the now large fig roots. The sad thing is that from the outside everything looks fine. However, by now the fig roots simply look like the large, strong tree itself. No one noticed that the tree was slowly being strangled and began to die.
Eventually the once tall tree is completely dead and begins to decay. There was one such instance where I was able to crawl inside these large fig roots and look up to see that the tree was completely gone. It was like being inside of a cavern surrounded by a thick wall (Figure 3).
The common name for this variety of fig is the strangler fig, a very fitting name to how it survives by strangling the life out of a healthy tree. As I took pictures of this happening at different stages, I couldn’t help but think of how secular education works in a very similar way.
Secular education begins by depositing small seeds of false ideas into the unsuspecting minds of healthy young children. These seeds begin to germinate and send tiny fibrous ideas (roots) that begin winding themselves around the hearts and minds of the unsuspecting young ones. Even the children’s parents seem to be oblivious to what is actually taking place in their children’s lives.
As the roots of secular education become more engrained in children’s minds, it actually begins to “strangle” truth out of their minds and hearts. Before long, the roots of secular, anti-Christian thought have fully engulfed the students’ thinking and they have, in essence, formed a secular worldview by which they will live their lives. This has taken place over the past several decades and it has produced a generation of young people and adults who now think and act from a secular humanistic worldview. The strangler education has done its damage (Figure 4).
Now being fully engulfed by the root system of a secular education, young lives that were created as image bearers of God are being suffocated by the secular worldview that has now been well established. Any evidence of truth is decaying and soon the “educated” person will be a hollow shell of what he or she was designed to be.
When the majority of young people in a society have succumbed to strangulation by a secular education, the culture, itself, becomes completely secular. This is why the United States is in the deplorable condition we are experiencing today. The roots of secular education have strangled the once strong Judeo-Christian ethic that shaped such things as the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the rule of law. What was once the backbone of our society is now almost completely decayed, having been strangled by the roots of a secular, anti-Christian education ( Figure 4).
When we realize what has happened through the secular educational system that has dominated our culture, we can understand why some of the things that I described above are becoming all too common. It shouldn’t surprise anyone. What else would we expect from an educational system that denies the existence of God and depicts man as an evolutionary product of time and chance? G. K. Chesterton once said,
Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
There is no doubt about it, secular education can be described as a strangler education (Figure 5). The only way to stop the strangulation process is to uproot the plant when it is young – before it begins to develop a root system that will eventually engulf the minds and hearts of our children. Instead, Christian homes, churches and schools should unite and provide their children with a biblical education. When this happens the seeds of a biblical worldview will be planted in our children’s minds and hearts and they can become what God has created them to be. It is time to stop our children from being strangled!