Specifying New Education, Economic and Social Models as the Final Act of the Civil Rights Movement

Can you imagine what your teenage and early 20s would have been like if you got a Get Out of Jail Free card for your 15th birthday? And were then told it could be used 5 times or, better yet, unlimited usage. OK, stop dwelling on the mischief that would have ensued or already happened but without punishment this time. Bet you learned your lesson. With that card you wouldn’t have had to.

What I am about to point out is that the Common Core has become the all-purpose excuse that generates access to loads of taxpayer money to implement theories that may have never been tried before. Or tried with a tragic history. Or have been created by political theorists and professors and even Soviet psychologists as we keep seeing to create wholesale noetic personal changes to gain transformative system changes. Shifting away from an ethos grounded in the primacy of individuals and the choices they make to groups and collectivism and enforced responsibilities as the hallmark of citizenship. All at our expense. Created by people who do not have to pay a personal price if this is a disaster and have much to benefit from in terms of promotions, new jobs, or locked in revenue streams for the requisite 4G wireless contract that will go with all those tablets for every student after you hire a former urban school super to be your Head of Sales.

Nothing but cronyism where politically connected individuals meet public money but it’s the name of the game now in this Digital Literacy push. And at the end of all those dollar transfers will be muddled, weakened minds waiting for a visual prompt and life to be one big engaging game. What a disappointment being an adult will likely be. You get the picture. Anything and everything gets a pass if Transformation is the actual or potential goal. It’s a free-for-all of change and mostly under the radar for the average taxpayer or parent. If they do notice something is wrong, they simply get told “This is the new Common Core State Standards Initiative so ALL our students will be college and career ready for the 21st century. This will allow us to be internationally competitive.”

Now that’s not the real story as we know well but it buys time and your dollars while the real moral and ethical and affective orientation instead of knowledge continues apace in our schools and higher ed. Called student-centered learning or individualized learning. With potential wakeup calls like “Student Loan Write-offs hit $3 Billion in first two months of Year” being off most people’s radars. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-usa-studentloans-delinquencybre92o11k-20130325,0,6746534.story . Also likely off your radar screen is the related story of the National Science Foundation doing Neuroscience and Cognitive Science research to see how these new forms of instruction and assessment and classroom practices physically impact the brain. http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/nsf13067/nsf13067.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_25&WT.mc_ev=click .

Now that’s not quite the wording of that Dear Colleague letter although “how the brain regulates the individual’s biology…and allows organisms to behave in and adapt to changing environments” is awfully close. Especially when we add in NSF’s involvement in the globally transformative in every respect starting at the level of the human mind, Belmont Challenge, or its decision to use education to squelch climate skepticism as part of the USGCRP 2012-2021 initiative. Or the fact that NSF reports to John Holdren whose colleague of many years, Paul Ehrlich, is seeking new kinds of minds that do not fall back easily on rational thought.

I have not mentioned the Axemaker Mind metaphor recently but destroying it is very much part of this ed reform vision plus the accompanying systems transformation for Equity and Equality. Many of you may not know if you use dynamic MRI imaging of a brain that reads phonetically and fluently and compare it with the brain of a teenager or adult of limited literacy you visually see the firing throughout one but not the other. Let’s think about that picture of Korea from space at night with the North in black and the South all lit up. If you are a school or classroom producing brains that still light up like South Korea in five or 10 years, you have not been following the sociocultural model of collective emotional understanding. And it will be physically apparent. The effective classroom at producing new kinds of minds with cyberlearning (also a big NSF initiative) and collaboration and no more lectures may well produce brains that image like North Korea. Some Equity, huh?

Equity and Equality also come into play in the reforming the high school initiatives that are shifting everyone toward what the Soviets called the polytech model (although they did pull out their finest minds and send them to academic boarding schools to retain their abilities). That’s not going to be on your radar either probably even though President Obama did mention P Tech in his State of the Union. Just to point out though that this dramatic overhaul is not really about the Common Core I came up with some links that precede CCSSI. Remember Jeannie Oakes of the Participatory Social Inquiry post?  http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/throwing-an-invisibility-cloak-over-the-classroom-to-get-to-deweys-participatory-social-inquiry/ She was involved in this transformation in California before leaving for the Ford Foundation and was kind enough to tie this high school initiative to its real source–John Dewey’s 1915 Democracy and Education and his idea of education by occupations. http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/downloads/LL_Expanding_Pathways.pdf . SREB has also been on this bandwagon for a long time as the high school vision for ALL students as are other groups.

The Common Core excuse and the College and Career-Ready slogan then mask a whole lot of huge philosophical, politically transformational changes that are mostly unknown. Being implemented without much discussion to avoid the previous controversies or pesky arguments about constitutionality. Especially when you think through a government with police and coercive power collecting and sharing data with vendors on all aspects of students’ developing personalities and interests and attitudes and values. A marketing and political consulting dream come true.

Now that I have pointed out how you get transformative change at the level of the individual student in place without really being seen and also revealed that there will be means of monitoring compliance other than data collection of Student “Growth” (another concept that tracks to Dewey) and those Effective Teacher evals. I want to take the accompanying social, economic, and political vision out of the 21st century or the 1990s. Back to the mid-80s while the Cold War was still simmering if not raging. Because when sociologist Robert Bellah and others wrote the 1985 book Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (reissued usefully in 1996) they were describing the communitarian vision for the future we now associate with Amitai Etzioni and that Positive School Climate Executive Order (another off the radar screen initiative). He was describing the workplace vision we have tracked now to Peter Senge’s Fieldbook and Otto Scharmer and Shoshana Zuboff’s similar visions of the future of capitalism.

And he too saw education as the key to getting there. Especially for getting there without a popular outcry that might prevent the stealth revolution. Here’s the vision from the 1996 edition (page 286):

“The transformation of our culture and our society would have to happen at a number of levels…Personal transformation among large numbers is essential, and it must not only be a transformation of consciousness but must also involve individual action…out of existing groups and organizations, there would also have to develop a social movement dedicated to the idea of such transformation… If the Civil Rights movement failed fundamentally to transform the position of black people in our society, it was because to do that would have required just the change in our social ecology that we are now discussing. [See now why urban schools had to remain dysfunctional whatever the resulting chaos?] So a movement to transform our social ecology would, among other things, be a successor and fulfillment of the Civil Rights movement.

Finally, such a social movement would lead to changes between our government and our economy. This would not necessarily mean more direct control of the economy, certainly not nationalization [which by the 80s was known to harm revenue to state coffers. The USSR was telling African dictators much the same]. It would mean changing the climate in which business operates so as to encourage new initiatives in economic democracy and social responsibility…”

Sound familiar? Do you have any idea how many publicly employed administrators and professors and degree holders insisting on being called “Doctor” have credentials designed primarily to get this vision into effect?

Lots. And now they have the perfect cover, in their mind, to finally finish the Civil Rights Movement.

Except to get there they are stripping away the veneers that brought modern civilization and the prosperity of the West like the division of labor and contract instead of status. And all we get are the bills and promises and utopian political theories that this time human nature will change.

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Specifying New Education, Economic and Social Models as the Final Act of the Civil Rights Movement

  1. Good one. When you see kids addicted to video games and social media right in front of you, all advocated by parents in the name of , not sure being cool, being their kids buddy? Keeping up with the gates’s. Also advocated by sloganeering school admin and teachers just going along sith the forceful tide you notice the bleak future.
    If only elite attendees of private schools that disregard common
    core are allowed axemaker mind development sill be our future leaders, the rest silo’d workers then we are basically looking at
    kim jong il and his son. And lights out.
    Unacceptable.

    • Mad mommy-

      What I see going on in the elite private schools is the major drive around Green Energy and Sustainability. Those kids are being primed to see the world as in need of reorganizing. Some may keep their Axemaker Minds but they really are being bombarded by a belief in the need for Transformation. With the needs of the 3rd world, inner cities, and Social Justice as all being available proxies.

      A developmental economist, PT Bauer, does a good job of explaining that aid premised on ongoing dysfunction creates the incentive to preserve such dysfunction. True in Africa and the inner city. I have never forgotten the story of how determined Julius Nyerere was to prevent the rise of a middle class in post-colonial Tanzania. Administrators and the masses and little in-between.

      • oh I know, my kids are in one, in the thick of it. posters of polar bears dying all over the place…. I am like that is so 5 years ago!
        yet still pushing it disregarding any facts of actual rise in polar bear population, facts etc… the systems thinking and the SEL and the IBL, and UbD endless. we got it bad, I know.

        Or they are determined by their testing ( guidance) whether prole or domineer. It is bad public and private. the home is the counter balance yes, but can backfire I am finding. one of my kids does not want to show me anything any more for fear I will talk to their teacher, as I have done.

        this morning on squawk box thomas davenport of harvard spoke about massive data collection regarding investing, his comments could be applied to student data. He said ( my quick summation) that it may be possible to give an edge in investing but could as easily be completely wrong and cause huge costly mistakes. no guarantees at all.
        so
        the reasoning by the fed for the need to collect the massive and invasive amount of data is that it will be processed to help the students, right? whereas it is seen by critics as the creation of a new market much like the carbon exchange was created by the global warming schtick. create the problem, fake consensus to solution. hegel. cha ching for insiders, Pearson, Gore, envirocrats, educrats. power and more rules and regs for regular folk. the odds of this mass data collection as being some kind of useful utopian equalizer or genius maker are slim to none. yet this is the cover story. the new market of data sales will increase your spam to a degree that there will be a massive crash i think. as we are seeing with FERPA the sneeky language used that allows the giving, selling, showing, sharing and collecting and storing of info as silly but personal as your childs hair color. blond shampoo bombardment to yours and his email. ( trite example but you get it). it is the recipe for mass chaos for everyday life, regardless of how the fed says it will protect it. then the government will save us again. hegel.

        I wish you both Robin and Deborah, a Happy Easter and a fun long weekend.

        Madmommy

        • The feds have said point blank in National Academy of Sciences reports that Big Data from whatever source is to help them centrally plan the economy around Sustainability. With the help of the tech companies to collect and manage the data. I wrote about that report. It may take me a minute to find the post. It made me mad in part because the same tech companies and research universities that benefit are on the original recommending panel.

          Let me see where that post is. I know where the file is.

  2. The elite private schools don’t disregard the Common Core vision; they are on its cutting edge. Any advantage that students of this social stratum receive comes from cultural capital and level of literacy at home and among their peers. The only difference is that they come to regard themselves as part of the social class that dictates the utopian vision to the proles, not as part of the docile masses who accept the yoke.

    Deborah

    • Hi Deborah. We missed your comments.

      As you can see from my reply to Mad Mommy I agree with you. I have done all these routes and still have good friends in all these private schools and we talk. The privates are doing the mind mapping too. The privates are having Alfie Kohn come in and speak to the parents.

      One of the most elite in ATL announced last fall they are organizing their elementary and preschool programs around the Reggio-Emilia child development theories. Now that sounds more exotic than Vygotsky or Uncle Karl or the correct sociocultural or situated learning theories but that’s the truth. Half the parents were supposedly upset and the others were convinced sociocultural gets vindicated if an elite school uses it.

      Years ago that was the reaction when my son’s school shifted to Everyday math after swearing they never would. Most parents said it must be good if x uses it. Another parent actually told me she did not know why I was so concerned. It was only arithmetic. Truthfully if you are solid on the foundations coming out of elementary, it is hard for middle and high to destroy. Only bore deeply.

      Deborah-I think that elite attitude really comes into play at the elite colleges. I say that having gone to one and I did well there so this is no chip on the shoulder talking. It is also something I have talked about again with friends whose kids are off at the Ivies or equivalent or with degrees from there. It is the student’s worldview first and foremost being targeted. I may have said this previously but if you have a child interested in particular areas, read the course catalog. And syllabi if you can. You will usually be quite shocked.

      Welcome back and enjoy your Easter week.

      • Hi Robin!

        I’ve been lurking in the underbrush, but it’s nice to be wanted! Thanks. Oh, I know all about those elite colleges. I attended one many years before you did, but mine was so advanced that it was already steeped in the progressive worldview. The only difference is that real academic standards were still valued, although the bias was taken for granted. A political conservative, for example, was regarded the way the proverbial farmer reacted to the giraffe that he beheld for the first time at the zoo: “There ain’t no such animal.” Once, as a student, I was wearing a Nixon button, as much for the shock value as for anything else, and a girl came up to me, grabbed my lapel, and sneered, “The only other person on campus wearing that button is the bus driver.” Nuff said.

        At the charter school where I do consulting, we are reeling from the full impact of Common Core. We now have to teach our second graders keyboarding because the state tests will all be computerized. “Real-time data is urgently needed.” And they are so cunning that they have already told us to prepare parents for lower scores because of the increased “rigor” of the exams. Our administrators are staggering under the weight of the new evaluation instrument, pages and pages of reports, etc. The ed establishment in Colorado figured the charter school movement would die on the vine; instead it is flourishing here, and many (certainly not all) are good schools in the classical sense. (A lot of Core Knowledge schools.) So now they are set to wipe us out through a frontal assault, imposing financial and bureaucratic burdens that will drive us out of existence.

        In other news, I have had my next installment of the Apologia for the Catholic Church in the can for some time now; I’ve been waiting for the “right time,” but I’m coming to realize that as in the case of pregnancy, there’s never a right time, so you may expect to find it in your Easter basket. Sursum corda!

        Happy Easter and best regards,

        Deborah

        • Oh good. Much better for the figure than Easter chocolate.

          I am actually working on those poorly understood assessments this morning in docs among insiders. In order to figure out how to assess they have to know much about each student. Then they will know how they responded to various scenarios. It throws out something called an SMV-Student Model Variable for each student. Students of any given value can be rated by probability on likely responses to future events.

          Now how useful will that be? Especially to someone interested in economic planning or propaganda or marketing or political campaigns. Formative assessments indeed.

  3. My mind is realing from all I am reading here. In my garage I have books and newsletters on Outcome-based education which was my obsession in the 90s. My kids are 25 and 20. My youngest is at CMU as a Graphic/Communication Design major. Fortunately because of the focus of her studies, she has not bee brainwashed too much. No women’s studies or classes in moral equivalency.
    As far as my education, I am not in the same league as you or Madmommy. However, I know insidious malevolence when I see it. Common Core Curriculim. I am 58 so I can understand and stay focused long enough to read through your posts.
    I have been E-mailing a school board member I know advising her aboutmMichelle Malkim’s easy to understand articles regarding CCC.
    Most recently regarding data mining. I happened to turn on Glenn Beck this AM and he was reading from dpt of Ed documents talking about data mining and also Race to the Top, written by Van Jones of the Alliance Foundation. Wrist bands and tiny cameras that monitor students facial expresions in order to gague if they are attentive/bored etc. GE being a 33$ donor to CCC.
    Melinda and Bill Gates giving 1,000,000 to 4 states’ PTA’s to bribe them to push CCC. On his 1hr TV show last night, he had on a clinical psychologist. This young man is not a fan of GB. Thinks (thought) he was a conspiracy theorist. He heard GB radio show about data mining, GB said to the audience, “, don’t believe me, look it up yourself”. , This PHd did. He found and read the documents that ask for lots of information on each student. He no longer believes this is a conspiracy theory and is very concerned where this is all going. Perhaps you could contact his show. I would think that your appearance and knowledge sharing can help move this ball. I also think you would be very interested in his theories about where this is all headed.
    I am having a hard time staying positive, and am picturing home -schooling my future grandchildren in a basement, keeping them off the grid and out of the reach of The progressive elite. And all this angst without one mention of Agenda 21, another nightmare and threat to this once great nation. Oy!

    • Hi Marlene and welcome. I have several posts that talk about the relationship between the Common Core, Agenda 21, and the international ed reforms if you want to check that tag.

      The Common Core is a renamed Outcomes Based education. The assessments in Texas, STAAR and the assessments coming with CCSSI are all based on Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge that is an update to Ralph Tyler and Benjamin Bloom’s work. I also have some posts explaining why systems thinking now is really going after the same sources of future behavior–values, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings–that OBE targeted.

      Someone sent me some excerpts from that Beck program. I was about to watch it now that carpool is over.

      As my mention in a previous comment, the data mining is actually worse than either Beck or Michelle Malkin have yet picked up on because of the true nature of these assessments. They are not tests and are huge collectors of very personal info about what drives people and how much coercion it takes to shift them. The formative or developmental nature of these assessments is simply not well understood. But it will be. I have a lot and it is something I am working on again today.

      Honestly if I post on a blog or recommend myself it comes across as someone looking for a plug. When someone else posts or recommends I get far more traffic from the referral. So the more my readers recommend me or the YouTube interview the more interest I get.

      I have a lot of the books from the 90s written before the authors knew it would not go through all the way. Everything now is largely a broken up and renamed version.

      I know where all this is headed. The drivers have told me while talking with each other. That’s why I joke so much about tiptoeing through the footnotes. Or being deep within the onion. As much info as I have here I really have stayed away what is in the book and the blog is only the most entertaining or salient portions of what I pull up. I really do tackle the whole book and then track down everything that is cited that I know is wrong to see what the real aim is.

      Thanks again for your kind words.

      Robin

    • I just listened to Beck’s excerpts. He is right to be concerned. I had not seen that report which means it was mostly not reported on and just downloaded it.

      Here it is http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/files/2013/02/OET-Draft-Grit-Report-2-17-13.pdf . As you can tell it puts an emphasis on Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi’s Flow. I have a number of posts calling attention to Csik and my belief that these performance assessments are based on his view of Excellence. I also have Spence Rogers saying his PEAK work is based in Csik’s theory. Rogers was a partner of Bill Spady’s in creating Transformational OBE.

      I can immediately tell just by the name who the psychologists behind it are and what the learning theory is. It will be interesting to see if they are named in report.

      Off for more reading.

    • Marlene-I have glanced through report and am printing it out but there is nothing in there that I am not thoroughly on top of. The really technical and theoretical stuff would be boring in a blog but I have it and if Mr Beck wants someone who can read that report and know precisely which terms are meaningful and what the background is, I know.

      And I started recognizing Race to the Top and Common Core worked differently than the PR about 4 years ago.

      And people ask why I quit taking vacations. It has been a sprint to track all this and draw together pieces that were broken up to prevent detection.

      Thanks for calling attention to the story.

  4. Robin,
    I am glad that you are open to sharing information with GB. I don’t have any “ins”, however, I have used different contacts to try and lead them to you. I am so glad that you are doing this work. I saw one entry regarding a private school in ATL and if that means that you are in that area, I wanted to share that I am in Roswell, so you could call on me anytime for help with whatever. I know that this is perhaps the most important issue right now. I joined a site called “As A Mom” in 2009, and I was just looking through it the other day for CCC stuff and I saw this:
    Common Core Usurping Local and State Control of Education Capitol Update: February 4 -8
    by Senator William Ligon (R- Brunswick)

    It was an honor this past week to host the visit of the former Texas Commissioner of Education, Robert Scott. I invited him to Georgia to meet with Governor Nathan Deal, our State School Superintendent, Dr. John Barge, the Senate and House Education members, the Republican leadership, and other members of the Georgia General Assembly. Sen. Lindsey TippIns, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee also extended an invitation for Scott to address the Joint Meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees before a standing-room only crowd on Wednesday afternoon.

    As background, Scott, as the Texas Commissioner of Education, advised Governor Rick Perry to avoid the Race to the Top federal grant competition, with its requirement that the State adopt the Common Core State Standards. I wanted our leaders to understand his reasoning because I believe Gov. Perry made the right choice to keep Texas independent of the mandates of the grant and this federal focus to create uniform curriculum standards across the nation.

    As most educators in my district have known for a while, Georgia’s former Governor, Sonny Perdue, and our former State School Superintendent, Kathy Cox, committed our state to the Race to the Top competition. This agenda never went before the Georgia Legislature and thus bypassed the voice of the people. Race to the Top is currently driving all school districts into “one-size-fits-all” curriculum standards in math and English language arts. Our students and our teachers will be in a federal straight-jacket, and our school districts will be at the mercy of national and international vendors making money off this latest federal program.

    During Scott’s visit at the Capitol, he explained that the Common Core State Standards were developed behind closed doors and that they are owned and copyrighted by unaccountable third parties in Washington, D.C.
    These standards were never vetted by the people of Georgia in an open, accountable process, and the terms of the grant forbid the state from changing the standards or even adding content that exceeds the threshold of 15 percent.

    Scott explained that the State of Texas was wooed by the federal government with a promise of $700 million to sign onto Race to the Top and Common Core. However, after his calculations, he realized that scrapping his state’s current standards and implementing the terms of the grant would cost between $2.5 to $3 billion. In his eyes, it was a sorry trade to shackle Texas to federal mandates, rob Texas citizens of their right to control education standards, and then stick taxpayers with a bill of at least $2 billion to make up the difference. To add insult to injury, that amount did not include the ongoing maintenance of the system for the years ahead beyond the four years of the grant.

    Here in Georgia, though we are receiving $400 million in federal funds over a four-year period, the General Assembly has not received a cost analysis for implementation, and long-term maintenance, of the terms of the grant. The Georgia General Assembly must hold the Department of Education accountable for these types of decisions that affect not only the education of our children but the pocketbook of our taxpayers.

    Further, the accompanying tests, developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as the PARCC national testing consortium, will create such testing demands that this will probably become better known as No Child Left Behind on steroids. Scott informed us that the PARCC will cost approximately $30 to $37 per student, in comparison to Georgia’s current costs of between $5 to $10 per student. These estimates do not take into account the additional technology, both in hardware and bandwidth, that will be required at the local level for online testing.

    The bottom line is that the people of Georgia pay over $13 billion in state and local taxes for K-12 education (every year). There is no reason that a $400 million federal grant (over four years) should usurp the constitutional rights of Georgia’s citizens to control the educational standards of this state.

    • He is right. RTT was a bad deal which is what I explained in detail to every public figure who asked me. And I do live inside the perimeter.

      I met Cox on several occasions and Michael Barber first came to my attention when I assumed she was being hired to be a front person. I had seen that Deer in the Headlights look and knew she was not being hired for her soaring intellect. I have since been at functions with legislators who told me she used to have tantrums to get her way. I asked them if they knew more than half the state DOE’s budget came from the feds so that they see the feds as the boss, not the state. News to them unfortunately. I was one of the first to point out years ago that the integrated math fiasco was tied to tens of millions in federal grant money.

      I finished that Grit report this morning and it is a lot of what I have already called attention to but in one place. Dweck and Duckworth were already on the radar screen. They are both Vygotsky sociocultural theorists which was conveniently left out of that report. As upset as Beck rightfully was, if he had my info he would be positively livid. I wrote about the Education for Life and Work report that was repeatedly cited when it first came out last July. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/so-now-common-core-rejects-individual-thinking-to-embrace-soviet-psychology-ecology/

      It was nice of the feds to put aspects of what I had carefully pieced together all in one place. The Grit report also cited to a book I have but had not read yet. It just got pushed to front of line.

      Enjoy the lovely day. I just went out to get some Vitamin D while weeding.

  5. Hi Ladies, wishing you all a Happy Easter. I will be baking with the kids today and dying Easter eggs as therapy to counter balance this dark abyss we wade through so much, and I hope everyone can find some hope in this Holiday.
    meanwhile Yesterday I wrote a whole reply that got zapped somehow by my overloaded computer.I am working on some local stuff, very interesting involving P21.
    back soon, good work evrybody!
    M

  6. Response to Robin on the Catholic Church, con’t:

    “…beliefs were shaped by accepting others words for it. There was no real ability to investigate the truth of what you were told by the official powers.”

    “Sola scriptura” – Scripture alone — was the logical corollary of denying the validity of Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. According to Luther, each person, in an intimate encounter with Scripture, mediated by the Holy Spirit, would be brought to the knowledge of the truth and to salvific faith.

    A problem immediately arises. Christianity is a religion of supernatural truths and mysteries that can never be completely penetrated, but it is also a religion of history, concrete events and concrete statements. Our Lord tells his disciples, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” The disciples divided over this statement and its numerous reiterations but everybody took Our Lord at His word. Some were scandalized, and their faith was shattered. They left. The others were stunned and baffled but accepted the word of the Lord as He gave it. “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Protestants in their majority have taken a third way, avoiding the “hard [meaning ‘harsh’ or ‘cruel’] truth” by declaring that Our Lord didn’t really mean it, that He was speaking figuratively. This despite overwhelming philological evidence that the expression “to eat someone’s flesh” as a figure of speech could only have meant, to hearers of that time and locale, to do damage to or to revile someone. Certainly the disciples of both camps ruled out a figurative understanding. So, who is right?

    And then there is baptism. Many Protestants believe that baptism is merely a public witness of faith and not necessary for salvation, while others disagree. Well, it can’t be both necessary and unnecessary. That simply violates the principle of non-contradiction. So, once again, who is right? The consequences of getting it wrong could be horrendous. For some Protestants, the matter of their salvation or damnation has been predetermined by God and they can’t do anything about it anyway. Yet others debate whether once saved by accepting Christ, always saved. How can these disagreements about what are not peripheral matters but vital doctrines be possible if the Holy Spirit imbued each believer with the truth?

    One can live comfortably with these contradictions only if one is at bottom a relativist. “You have your truth and I have mine.” We’ve all heard that statement or a variant. “I” becomes the measure of truth; subjectivism triumphs over objective truth.

    This is without even broaching the problem of the canon of the Bible, which, supposedly is to lead one into all truth. Does the Old Testament consist of the books contained in the Septuagint, which is a Greek translation from pre-Christian Hebrew texts, or the canon decided centuries later at the Jewish council of Jamnia, which relegated some books to non-canonical status partly on the grounds that (by that time) there were no existent copies in Hebrew? It turns out that Hebrew or Aramaic fragments or entire scrolls of all but two of the demoted books have been discovered in recent times among the Dead Sea Scrolls. An additional motive for removing some books from the canon was inconvenient doctrinal matter that the Jewish Pharisees of Jamnia were not anxious to validate. 2 Maccabees, for example, gives pointed support for the doctrine of Purgatory, already well established among Christians by the late 90s A.D., when the council of Jamnia took place. How ironic, then, that Protestants prefer to follow the leading of anti-Christian Pharisees shortly after the Crucifixion rather than that of the Catholic Church!

    So we return to the original image, that of the solitary reader, alone with Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If the reader is reading I Corinthians, is he reading the version that says, “If they do not contain themselves, let them marry,” as it appears in the English translation of the Vulgate, or is he reading a Protestant Bible, where is says, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry.” The difference is significant, because the latter reflects a belief, introduced by Protestants, in the complete depravity of fallen human nature, whereas the Catholic translation conveys the belief that man’s nature is still sufficiently good that he can exercise free will and control himself. Is he reading a Catholic Bible where “presbyter” is translated “priest” or a Protestant version where it is translated as “elder?” How is the average pew-sitter to discover that “Good will to men” is a mis-translation? How is he to decide between Mary “full of grace” and Mary “highly favored,” even assuming he knows he has to choose? It matters, because “full of grace” has profound theological implications about the state of Mary’s soul while “highly favored” does not. How does the reader’s access to a Bible lead him out of these dilemmas? He is still in the position of having to “take others’ word for it.” He is as much at the mercy of the opinions of those who decided what books would be excluded from his edition of the Bible and which he might never even be aware of, as much at the mercy of the opinions of the translator, as he would have been at the mercy of the teachings of the Church. And the Catholic who accepts the teachings of the Magisterium will never find himself in the absurd position of Protestants having the following discussion:

    Protestant 1
    “Well, the Holy Spirit told me once I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, my salvation was assured.”

    Protestant 2:
    “Well, that’s fine, but He told me that I could lose my salvation through my own choices and that it’s up to me to preserve it.”

    Protestant 3:
    “I know from my reading of Scripture that because God practices unconditional election, the question of my salvation is entirely up to Him and that I don’t have anything to do with it.”

    Protestant 4:
    “Hey, what do you guys think about baptism?”

    So the conclusion cannot be avoided: ultimately, it comes down to a question of authority; the individual’s capacity to investigate the truth is severely limited. The Catholic Church’s claim of authority is very strong. That of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Malanchthon, Jan Hus, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Cranmer, Smyth, Wesley, John Nelson Darby, Dwight Moody, not so much. The opinions of individuals, or the consensus of committees or congregations.

    But opinions all, neither more nor less.

    • I came here from a comment Robin posted on Legal Insurrection about Common Core, not with the intention of wading into a religious argument, but I must object to Deborah Cole’s crude caricature of the Reformed understanding of the Bible and its place in the Christian faith. I encourage you to read for yourself the confessions of the Reformed churches on this matter. Consider, too, the great reformation in the Old Testament, in the reign of King Josiah. It was the rediscovery of the sacred text, the Torah, that exposed the depth of religious corruption and that was used to restore the worship that God required. The priests had failed to preserve pure religion; the Word provided the necessary correction.

      • Hi Michael,

        I am glad you came over from Legal Insurrection. Jacobson’s site is a must visit and College Insurrection is opening many parents eyes as well.

        I will live you and Deborah to your theological discussion.

        Let me know if you want to discuss Common Core, K-12 or higher ed or the Regional Equity Movement or how this is global or the attached toxic economic vision. Lots of moving parts but I have them all corralled now and I actually have the guidebooks to help us discern what we are dealing with.

        Robin

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