Teaching students purpose of life
by Donald Conkey, columnist
January 22, 2014 11:38 PM | 1329 views | 1 1 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune columnist Roger Hines’ recent column regarding the teaching of evolution as fact, not theory, piqued my interest. Why, I ask, do two highly professional groups, the scientific and the religious communities, continue at logger-heads over this issue?

While the “law of evolution” is real, we all see it in operation daily; there is no connection between the “proven law of evolution” and “the prominent theory” that mankind evolved from the apes.

Will these two important segments of society every come together? Not in the foreseeable future! Why? Because they will never agree on the origin of man or on how the earth was created. One segment uses the Bible to present its case; the other says that science must be proved by scientific methods.

This issue will never be proved by either the Bible or by scientific research. Science can tell us the age of the earth but it can’t tell us how it was formed, as does the Bible. So two prideful opponents continue their endless debate while students are the losers.

My dream is that the day will come when both of these important segments of society will become one in their search for truth, truth defined as “a knowledge of things as they are, as they were, and as they are to come” while the skillful teacher, the one who stretches and motivates students’ minds and very essential members of society, is not continually caught in the cross-fire of these two warring segments of society.

When, not if, my dream comes true, “education,” when defined as “the power to think clearly, the power to act well in the world’s work, and the power to appreciate life,” will take on a new meaning not only for the student but for all of society, including school boards and administrations.

When I ponder this continuing debate I turn to my library to find books relating to these issues. There I find “Science and Your Faith in God,” “Key to the Science of Theology,” three books on “The Dead Sea Scrolls,” The Bible, “The Universe and Dr. Einstein,” and “Earth, In the Beginning.”

I have found powerful ideas in each of these books, such as in Skousen book “Earth,” I read there are times when “scientific facts are insufficient. This is because science, by its own rules, excludes anything that cannot be tested with our five senses — touch, taste, smell, hearing or sight.” He continues with: “This exclusionary process is sciences’ greatest weakness. Metaphysical realities such as the soul, of life before birth, life after death, and of God himself, must be included in any complete analysis of scientific ‘facts,’ or the analysis will be incomplete, and possibly just plain wrong.” When God is taken out of the educational equation, society always suffers.

By adding metaphysical phenomenon to the mix, society is able to add in what Parley P. Pratt calls the Science of Theology, the Science of Revelation, and the Science of the Resurrection. Pratt, in his seventh definition of theology, states “It (theology) is the science of all other sciences and useful arts, being in fact the very foundation from which they emanate. It includes philosophy, astronomy, history, mathematics, geography, languages, the science of letters; and blends the knowledge of all matters of fact, in every branch of art or of research.” A stimulating thought to say the least.

Recently I found online a talk given by Henry B. Eyring, a Harvard Ph.D. in education, titled “Education for Real Life.” In this talk Eyring declared: “The real life we’re preparing for is eternal life.” Then he stated “Secular learning has for us eternal significance,” but “putting spiritual learning first gives our secular learning purpose.” And purpose is truly important in a student’s motivation.

The mission statement of the Cherokee County School System on its Web page declares: “Our mission is to enable all students to become contributing citizens who can communicate effectively; gather and use information; make responsible decisions, and adapt to the challenges of the future.”

Implied yes, but missing from this mission statement is one very essential goal: teaching students the purpose of life. Should the scientific and religious community ever unite in their search for “what’s best for the student,” it will be only after both sides realize the importance of teaching why America’s Founders signed a Declaration of Independence that included the words “God,” the “Creator,” “Supreme Judge of the world,” and “divine Providence.”

Are Georgia’s students being short changed? I believe they are.

Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.



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January 23, 2014
The purpose of life? Please, can we not leave ONE thing to parents to teach our children at home and in accordance with our personal beliefs?
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