A Question for Public Schoolers
We “love” Christmas at my job. In this wonderful stretch of harried and holidayed months, it is a pleasure to encounter on the colorful Christmas help to assist with my company’s burden of delivering your much-anticipated packages. These “helpers” range from high school teachers to high school dropouts, professional chefs to comic book store owners, retired international businessmen to boisterous immigrants. All of these have helped me at one point or another, and let me tell you, the conversations we have had…
I say, “we love Christmas,” but especially myself. You see, these conversations take place during our shift, with my helper and I sitting in the cab of my truck working together, only 4 feet apart. They signed up for this job for whatever reason, and now they got randomly assigned to me. Now, they have no one to talk to except yours truly.
For the next 8 hours.
And they can’t go anywhere.
They have to talk to me.
I LOVE IT.
Here’s why. First, in the age of Facebook, the receiving of
information far outweighs the giving of it; for the common user, we read more
than we write. This creates, for many of us, a desire to exchange ideas and
talk about what we’ve learned. Second and also in the age of Facebook,
cornering someone online and forcing them to come to terms with their worldview
is extremely difficult. Like, 131 comments difficult. One can simply not
respond, strawman an idea, or shut down the whole thread in the interest of
saving Facebook friendships. Out in my truck, however, none of these things can
be accomplished. We honestly have to answer each other’s questions and face up
to our worldviews. There is nowhere to hide.
The result of these conversations is that my helpers have to start thinking about important things for a change. This is a wonderful fulfilment of the Mid-Atlantic Reformation Society’s motto, “Think and Reform.”
This confrontation of critical thinking is important for all partakers in the conversation because for all of their schooling, all the homework, studying, extra credit, the teaching, the textbooks, the professors and counselors, not one of my helpers have been 1) prepared and 2) able to answer this basic, foundational question:
“What’s wrong with murder?”
One of two things always happens: the first is the start of an infinite regress. “Well, it’s wrong because you’re taking the life of someone else.” Ok, what’s wrong with that? “Well, society can’t function like that.” Who says society needs to function? “Well, if not, we’ll all die!” Ok, what’s wrong about that?
At this point the shoulders touch the ears and the hands grab imaginary dinner trays. “Life is weird” or “I guess nothing” or “I don’t know” become the order of the day.
The second response I get when I ask that question is rare,
but sometimes you can get a “Huh. I never thought about that.”
It is so easy. Too easy, in fact! Because for all of their education, from the dropouts to the doctorates, they have not been taught the foundation for learning, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Their teachers cannot teach them what is wrong with murder, or rape, or abortion, or theft, or anything needed for a society to function because their teachers actually despise wisdom and instruction. So these students are left in the dark about what a true education is. Sometimes I feel like Gandalf: “Tell me, friend, since when did Saruman the wise abandon reason for madness?” That is, what good is all of this teaching and education (if you can call it that) if it can’t even account for the sin of murder?
My recommendation to you is to try that question on your kids. Better yet, try it on yourself. See if you come up with an answer, and keep asking yourself, “what’s wrong with that?” Your answers had better come back to scripture, or if not, congratulations, you have just identified your heart as a “law unto itself.”
The answer to the question, “what’s wrong with murder?” by the way, is simple. Because God, in His word, the Bible, has said “you shall not murder.”