It’s What the Teacher Wanted

  Lisa Hunter—a Southwestern wife and mother—was tidying her kitchen when she found a piece of paper on the floor. It was her 12-year-old daughter's science homework. Students were supposed to confirm that they understood that the earth was the outcome of a primeval explosion. Ashley, her daughter, had completed it—even though the "correct" answer denied her religious beliefs. Lisa didn't object to the Big Bang theory, per se. What concerned her was that it was being taught in a naturalistic way that presupposes that the creation happened without a Creator. So Lisa sat down with Ashley, and gently asked, "Did you really believe what you wrote? That the universe was caused by the Big Bang without God being involved?" Ashley burst into tears. "No," she sobbed, "but that was the answer the teacher wanted. I didn't know what to do." Lisa brought the matter up during a parent-teacher conference—but Ashley's teacher was defensive. As Lisa recalls, "She was appalled that I was questioning her judgment—and she announced that she had no intention of changing the curriculum." When Lisa began discussing alternative interpretations of the Big Bang theory, the teacher cut her off. "I'm not allowed to teach about religion," she told Lisa dismissively. Undeterred, Lisa then met with the school principal, and brought along material I'd used on BreakPoint and that is in my new book, How Now Shall We Live? This material had taught Lisa how to argue rationally from a scientific standpoint against naturalistic philosophy. As Lisa told BreakPoint, "The material gave me courage and a conviction to do this in love." The principal's response was startling. She acknowledged that Lisa's arguments were good. And then she invited Lisa to serve on a school curriculum committee. And she agreed to have the science teacher apologize to the kids, and encourage them to ask important questions about the Big Bang theory. For example, children could be invited to think about where the initial matter for the Big Bang came from. The Big Bang theory simply assumes the existence of a ball of densely packed matter the size of a basketball. But where did it come from? Or, the teacher might ask: What force or power caused this super-dense ball to burst apart in the primeval explosion? The discovery of the Big Bang remains one of the most dramatic evidences for the biblical teaching that the universe had a beginning at a specific point in time. And that destroys the argument of Carl Sagan and others that the cosmos is all there is, ever was, or will be. And now as scientists are discovering intelligent design in the universe, we're beginning to see the hand of the one who created that extraordinary beginning. Thanks to Lisa's efforts, America has at least one public school science curriculum that no longer presupposes that God does not exist. And her experience teaches us two important lessons. First, pitting religion against science is not the way to do it. Instead of charging into the classroom waving our Bibles, we need to oppose bad science with better science. When we argue our case that way, we win, because the truth is on our side. Second, Lisa's story shows us that if we're willing to educate ourselves and become involved, we can win the culture war—one child, one school, one city at a time.


Chuck Colson



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