THESIS ON CHRISTIAN BELIEF AND PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION: THE LEGACY OF ANNA C. HOGG.
‘Taking the principle first as it applies to man in relation to material things, we find that man’s worth cannot be equated with any non-human values for ‘what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ (Mark 8:36, 37. AV) Man is the supreme value in creation. It is therefore anti-Christian to sacrifice man to any materialistic aim, to material progress, or to economic or political ends. In education it is anti-Christian to sacrifice a child to the demands of the school curriculum, to the requirements of an examination system, the name of the school. On the contrary, the school and its curriculum must be planned on principles which recognise the worth of each child, and they must be servants, not masters. This means that the less able must not be sacrificed to the progress of the gifted. The dull or difficult child may be less useful to society, but as persons all of equal value in God’s sight. Nor must the gifted child be sacrificed to a standard of mediocrity. Differences in natural endowment are recognised throughout the New Testament, from our Lord’s parable of the talents to St Paul’s teaching on diversity of gifts within the church. This results in different functions and different callings in life.’
‘If man is supreme in creation - and like the Stoic the Christian will not concede this belief to any view of man’s insignificance in relation to the cosmos - adjusting man to his environment cannot be the aim of education. Man may indeed be frail when measured against the power of nature, but according to Christian Belief he is different in kind from nature, and he was created to have ‘dominion’ over it. That dominion in its fullest sense may be possible only when man is in a right relationship with God, but the alternative to complete success in conquering nature is not to adopt a policy of becoming its slave. But the final answer to this question is to be found in the purpose of man’s life which … is to serve a moral end. It is because man is a spiritual being according to Christian Belief, that the aim of his life and the aim of education are to be explained in ‘spiritual’ and not in materialistic terms.’
For a critical analysis of these matters read pages 9 to 52 of the current issue of the Journal, Volume 53, Number 2, September 2010
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