I would postulate that any school teacher in the country would agree that teaching Truth is important. However, in today’s culture, “Truth” and “fact” have been confused. And for the past few generations, “fact” and “opinion” have been confused, leading to our current cultural confusion of “Truth” and “opinion.” This confusion is by no means confined to the classroom. Our culture as a whole consistently confuses “Truth,” “fact,” and “opinion.” How can we, as homeschoolers, protect ourselves and the next generation from this confusion, from this counterfeiting of Truth?
We do it through recognition and reversal.
One of the primary functions of the United States Secret Service is to safeguard the nation’s financial infrastructure through identification and mitigation of currency counterfeiting. These agents are not trained to identify all the different variants of counterfeit money. Instead, they are trained to be intimately familiar with what true money looks like so they can easily spot the counterfeit (the lie).
Training our children to be God’s Secret Service agents, to know the Truth so well they can easily spot the lies, is essential to ensuring they are able to recognize counterfeit truth. This applies to biblical Truth as well as to many other concepts in our culture. For example, when our own government outlaws the reading of the Bible in the schoolroom, many in our society would agree that the government should not contain any elements of religion. After all, the Constitution established the separation of Church and State, right? This is obviously a counterfeit truth regarding the foundations of our country. In 1782, the first printed English Bible in this country was sanctioned and paid for by Congress for use in schools across the country. Over and over and over, the Founders and Framers emphatically stated that this nation was, and should always be, based upon biblical principles and that an intimate knowledge of God was essential to maintaining the greatness of America. Topping it off, the Constitution nowhere establishes a separation of Church and State. That addendum was pure opinion of the Supreme Court. So…why do so many in our culture quietly nod their assent when our government suppresses our religious freedoms? Number one: they do not know the Truth. Number two: they are unable to recognize the counterfeit. Popular opinion becomes Truth.
But this is just one example. What should we expect if our own culture has willingly divorced itself from examining Truth? We should expect a departure from foundational truths at an increasingly rapid rate. We should expect that popular opinion will more and more be accepted as Truth.
The legalization of abortion was based solely on the opinion of the U. S. Supreme Court. Now, it is accepted as truth—it has become a “right.” Recently, the Supreme Court struck down that part of the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. This “opinion” trumped and trampled centuries of law based on fundamental, absolute Truth. Now, in the very few months since that fateful decision, state after state has amended its own laws to legalize gay marriage. The truth of right and wrong has been thrown into the fire based on the Supreme Court opinion. Opinion has become truth.
Once we have accepted the notion that human opinion can determine truth, we will see the institution of marriage decay rapidly. Already, in California, we have seen people lobbying lawmakers to allow them to marry themselves. In Nevada, we have seen someone legally marry a cardboard cutout. The Utah Supreme Court has already begun to chip away at the state’s polygamy laws. And twice we have seen the U. S. Supreme Court overturn state laws, enacted by public referendum, regarding traditional marriage (California and Utah). In all these cases, the people and the lower courts have no grounds to repudiate the mockery of marriage because the truth of right and wrong has already been replaced by the opinion of the highest court in the land. And the shifting truths (opinions, really) will continue to spiral out of control until the citizens of this country at last rise up and unashamedly declare that truth is NOT based on opinion; the truth of right and wrong is absolute whether we like it or not (as C. S. Lewis would say). This, perhaps, will begin the reversal of opinion-as-truth, the reversal of counterfeit truth.
One reason—a big reason—that I am sold on Classical Conversations is because of its fervent focus on teaching biblical Truth as a fundamental absolute. Classical Conversations recognizes that all areas of study (call them “subjects”) emanate from the Creator and all subjects reveal something about the Creator. This philosophy of education inevitably develops a biblical worldview which acknowledges fundamental and absolute Truth. During my years in the program, I have come to realize that this curriculum serves as a crucial catalyst which enables the student to intensely and intently focus on the study of Truth. When these students enter the “real” world, I am confident they will lead their generation in standing up and unashamedly proclaiming that America must reject opinion-based truth and return to its fundamental Truths. These students will be God’s Secret Service agents. They will be the generation that is able to readily recognize the counterfeit truths bombarding our culture and to resolutely reverse the trend. And for that, I praise God.