Should Creation Be Taught in Public Schools?

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This issue comes up almost daily in creation-focused ministries. Whether it comes from a Creation Museum visitor, a conference attendee, or a Sunday school class member, the plea for legislation that would require public schools to present “our side” of the creation-evolution debate surfaces again and again.

But while those who promote this idea are sincerely concerned that children be taught the truth, there are a couple questions to consider. First, is it really a good idea? And second, how would such regulations be implemented?

Would teaching creation in public schools be a good thing? Absolutely! It is always correct to teach God’s truth and equip young people to stand on the authority of God’s Word. However, mandating it through legislation is fraught with difficulties.

It is clear that most schools in the public education system are temples of humanism, overtly opposed to acknowledging even the possibility of creation. For years they have been teaching children that they are the products of time and chance; that they are merely animals. A materialistic worldview is the order of the day, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Evolution is king and taught as absolute fact, despite its myriad deficiencies and inconsistencies. One would think that an open discussion of these deficiencies and inconsistencies would help develop critical thinking skills, but unfortunately, in most cases, those types of discussions are discouraged or even forbidden.

So why can’t we make the public schools teach creation, too? It comes down to how such directives would be implemented. Is it reasonable to expect that an ardent evolutionist, a biology teacher for example, would present and teach a creationist worldview fairly and correctly? Of course not. It just would not work. Frankly, it is easy to see how such a situation would cause more harm than good.

Some citizens’ groups have successfully defended students’ right to question evolution openly in their classrooms, and this is great. Students should be allowed to question and explore the things they are being taught. However, mandating the teaching of a different worldview is another thing altogether.

Last, and most important, it is not the world’s job to teach a Christian worldview to our children. Parents are responsible to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord, regardless of where they choose to send them for school. Sadly, many parents have abandoned that duty.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” We need to be involved with our children and their education. We must prepare them for the Lord’s service in an increasingly hostile, skeptical world. They must be equipped with answers to be able to stand boldly on the authority of God’s Word. No legislation can ever relieve parents of that responsibility.

Dr. Tommy Mitchell, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, earned his MD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and practiced medicine for over 20 years. He is now a speaker for Answers in Genesis–USA

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