Ever so often I will have a conversation that calls for me to mention the testimony of an expert. Occasionally, the person I am talking to will call into question the credibility of the scholar I refer to because they studied at a Christian school. I must admit, the first time this happened I was taken aback at the atheistic snobbery on display before me. I wondered what exactly it was that would cause a person to think that the only good education is either a state education, or one that comes from a private secular school. So, let’s consider the general subjects that a person studies in school to see what would give an atheist pause.
- Language (grammar, composition, and literature). Are Christian schools teaching a unique form of grammar and composition that is incompatible with the surrounding culture? Perhaps it is the literature component that causes the problem. After all, a Christian school would introduce Christian Literature and have tighter reigns on regulating vulgarity. While possible, I have serious doubts that this is the issue.
- Math. I am pretty well convinced that 2+2=4 and that algebra, geometry, and the like are the same at Christian schools as they are at their secular counterparts. So, I also doubt that this is the issue.
- History. I am also confident that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue regardless of where you go to school. Now, it may be true that you are more likely to run into the teaching of American exceptionalism at a Christian school (Oh! The horror!). And, students will be exposed to elements of church history in addition to the standard material. It would seem to me, however, that this would be a plus for students at Christian schools. Surely, this is not the problem.
- Science. Considering that none of the other subjects appear too problematic, that brings us to the subject of science. I am certain that the periodic table of elements, speed of light, and so forth are the same regardless of where you go to school. But, there is one area that I can really see troubling the atheist: the teaching of evolution. Most Christian schools will teach their pupils that the God of the Bible is the Creator and, as such, created the heavens and the earth. I am not familiar with every Christian school, but I do know that many, if not most, teach their students about the theory of evolution. However, students will often learn not only the mechanisms of evolution, but also how to evaluate it critically. Again, it seems that this would be a bonus for students at Christian schools. To the secularists, though, this is the most egregious offense. Evolution permeates the secular, humanistic worldview. And, the secularist knows that without molecules-to-man evolution the only other recourse is to turn to the supernatural for a creator. So, I am pretty sure that it is the teaching of science with an eye to critically questioning evolution that causes the secularist to think that a Christian education is a substandard education.
Sure, there are other subjects that could be listed, but I doubt that the teaching in any of those subjects would be as contentious as it is in science.
From where I sit, there is no reason to question the education of someone that attends a Christian school. Both systems of education teach a faith. One teaches faith in the God of the Bible, while the other teaches faith in evolution.