Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 20 - How important you think education is.

I will begin this post with one of my favorite quotes, from C.S. Lewis:

"A man who has been many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village: the scholar has lived in many times and is therefore in some degree immune from the great cataract of nonsense that pours from the press and the microphone of his own age."

Education is essential to being a human. We must learn; if we don't learn, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we remain stagnant in our thinking, and become complacent in our attitudes about life.

Also, education is an avenue by which we can learn not just about God, but also help us to discover who He actually is. In learning about God's creation, we see just how complex it is, and how to take better care of ourselves through the studies of science and medicine. We discover new ways to be creative, to be helpful, to improve the quality of life for those around us.

In the arts, we discover how to express not just ourselves, but more importantly truth. True art is when a depiction of truth meets our souls. At least, that's my definition.

Probably the most important thing we get from education, though, is a broader view of the world around us- from history, from other cultures, and from the Bible. Education takes a lot of focus off the self and replaces it with focus on others.

Learning language is important too; if you don't master it, you will be mastered by someone who has (I forget just who said that). Also, language has some power. It is performative; for instance, when a minister says, "by the power vested in me by..., I now pronounce you man and wife," his words make them married. When someone says, "I forgive you," they are restoring a relationship.

The Bible begins with some words, too. God speaks creation into being: "...and God said, 'let there be light,' and there was light" (Genesis). God changes names (what are names? words!), and speaks to His people through words of prophets in the OT.

God speaks to us today through written words, making written language important as well. It is the way that the whole story of humanity was preserved for us-- by written language. Very specific ones, too. As someone who has studied both Greek and Hebrew, I can tell you that those two languages were not picked to preserve the word of God by accident. They are very, very specific-- much more specific than English is. It's a hard thing to explain if you haven't studied a foreign language, but the grammar is much more complex and particular.

Anyway, just as the Bible begins with spoken words, it ends with written ones; we see in John's Revelation the Book of Life, and that book has names written in it. Those names written down are what allows people into God's kingdom or not. Pretty powerful stuff.

Ultimately, I believe that education is essential to living life to the fullest. Think about what happens when people are not allowed to think critically about things, are not allowed to question, and are not allowed any outside influences to shape their thinking... things go very wrong. Can anyone say "cults," for instance?

Education is freedom.

It is liberty.

It is us asking questions, and asking questions is, if you think about it, part of how you get to know someone. Education ultimately should lead us to get to know the Someone who made everything; the Someone who has all the answers and looks forward to answering them, because it's part of the process of getting to know Him and who He is.

Sorry, I could go on about this for much longer, but I think I covered the most important points of what I think. I'll leave you with that. :)

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