Commentary: Is Education the Answer? (Part 1)
How Many are Truly Educated?
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 27-Apr-13; 13 minutes
If I have heard it once, I've heard it many, many times during my lifetime. It is a sweeping conclusion after one briefly looks at an overview of this troubled world and says, "If the people were only better educated, the huge multitude of problems would miraculously disappear."
It is one of those statements that is correct, and yet at the same time, so broad it answers nothing. An education in what? It begs the answer to that.
On Thursday, while listening to a call-in program and on radio, a caller made a statement that I believe was quite perceptive. But it may demand receiving the call defensive enough that he did not want to talk about it. The caller said that until it was understood that man has a spiritual dimension and it is being rightly educated, he cannot be considered as educated. He said, "Social problems will never cease—never be resolved.
Now, listen to this definition. The verb "educate" means "to give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to a pupil; to train, advise, cultivate, develop, prepare, enlighten, and make ready." Is a person truly made ready to live a life and to give service in a community because he carries about a great deal of technical information, garnered from study and experience in one narrow discipline?
I have been described by at least one person, who told any number of others, that "John Ritenbaugh has no personality apart from the Bible." Get me off the Bible, and I am an absolute dud. Well, that general description might be a suitable depiction for the overwhelming number of all of mankind. There is usually one area of life that we have mare than an average amount of knowledge, but we are weak—perhaps very weak—regarding the huge amount of knowledge that remains.
In other words, there is a great deal more we do not know in the total accumulation of what there is to know. This creates a huge number of problems, because in our pride, we have an amazing tendency to believe that we know a great deal more than we actually do. And if we have a little or no humility, presumption comes to the fore and can create agonizing problems. How many people butt into something they actually know very little about, causing disruptions in an already ongoing discussion?
Now, let us shift gears and narrow our focus just a bit. How many people in leadership positions in the American government—I mean in positions in which they truly affect policy and action—are really well-educated? There is no doubt in my mind that most of them may be good administrators. But is administrating in their discipline all there is to being well-educated?
I will give you an illustration. There has been a great deal of arguing about the Second Amendment, but how many people are educated widely enough to understand why it even exists? I have read of federal government political figures quoted as saying, "How many rifles does one have to have to kill a deer?" Well, that amendment does not exist to give legal authority, allowing people to hunt. It is far, far more serious than that. That kind of comment makes the nation's founders appear to be high school level simpletons, with no sense of history and no judicious foresight.
The chance is extremely high that those government officials know full well why the Second Amendment exists, but they are deliberately avoiding bringing it up because bringing it up would destroy the political agenda they have for attempting to take the guns away. The guns issue is a political maneuvering, deliberately designed to avoid having to discuss the real reason they want to get rid of the guns.
Let us get back to the subject of education. It is an indisputable fact that nobody knows it all. This is why the phrase, "in the multitude of counselors, there is safety," appears twice in Proverbs—written exactly that way, and then again a third time, somewhat rearranged, saying essentially the same thing (Proverbs 11:14; 24:6; 15:22). I know of no other proverb that has been given that distinction of appearing three times in the one book, and it shows God's thought on how important our recognition of our ignorance is to success in life. He also wants to see whether we are humble enough to voluntarily seek help from others.
It is for this reason King David had a Nathan, a Hushai, and before him, an Ahithophel. This is why the United States has a variety of Cabinet officers to advise the president on specific issues he is faced with making decisions on. Counselors are provided to fill in gaps in his lack of education.
There is a danger to one's character built into the possession of much learning. This danger does not have to result in bad fruit. The danger is a vanity regarding what one thinks of himself. A large accumulation of anything has the potential to lead to the destruction of humility. Recall God's warning to all. This warning is, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6; I Peter 5:5).
Again, I will use governmental figures as an illustration. They are, to me, people who are, for the most part, highly educated in this world. They carry MAs and PhDs after their names, and yet they are overwhelmingly secularists.
I rediscovered a principle regarding wealth while doing research about the great harlot of the book of Revelation. It says this of her—and mark this carefully: "In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously" (Revelation 18:7). Here is the principle: Great abundance of anything treasured by the public strongly tends to draw one into glorifying oneself. That person is rich in whatever it is.
Now the next step that occurs is, who then needs God? Recall the outcome when Jesus spoke with the rich young ruler. Even though God in the flesh was standing right in front of him and talking with him, he turned away to put his trust in what he had accumulated.
This is the major reason why the intellectual crowd is humanistic in their approach to life. They disdainfully look down on the uneducated masses (as they think of us). They are better than others, and the effect is that they also turn from things related to God.
Listen to this illustration. On Thursday, President Obama spoke before Murderers Incorporated at their annual gala. That is what they call it—their annual gala. "Murder, Inc." is otherwise known as Planned Parenthood. He praised them up and down for their bloody operations of liberating women from having to give birth to unwanted children. Is there equal concern for the rights of the liberties of the unborn, the most powerless of all?
The total of all American lives lost in warfare in 237 years of American history is 1.3 million. Each and every year now, for 24 consecutive years, abortion has murdered an average of more unborn babies than the total of all Americans killed in all of our wars.
President Obama has publicly championed murder by abortion since his days in the Illinois Senate, and Planned Parenthood is the major executioner. Can he be considered really educated, despite graduating from Harvard, attending Columbia, attending Pepperdine, and another university? They are not educated one bit about God. The evidence? There is no fear of God in them. We are being led by very narrow-minded, uneducated people.