Home > Uncategorized > You Cannot Champion Open Inquiry and “Unreason” With a Curriculum Designed to Boost Standardized Test Scores

You Cannot Champion Open Inquiry and “Unreason” With a Curriculum Designed to Boost Standardized Test Scores

January 16, 2021

David Brooks’ NYTimes column yesterday describes the pushback evangelical pastors are getting for taking the position that the President’s role in inciting last Wednesday’s invasion of the Capitol warrants his removal from office and that those who participated in the invasion were wrong to do so. This quote from the sixth chapter of Galatians has been paraphrased throughout the week:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Too many evangelicals placed their faith in a man who was clearly “of the flesh”. The corruption he brought to the government was evident to all those who were not blinded to his actions, blinded mainly because he kept one politically calculated promise: he would delivery jurists who were anti-abortion. In so doing, he retained the unequivocal support of many evangelicals despite his avarice, his misogyny, and his disparaging treatment of any who opposed him.

Now that this man of the flesh has advocated the overthrow of the government some evangelical leaders are supporting his impeachment and appalled at the conduct of the band of invaders who overran the Capitol and disrupted the proceedings of Congress. Some have gone so far as to declare his opponent the victor and asserted that they favor the rule of law over the rule of one individual. David Brooks captures the pushback from evangelicals and conservatives in this section of his essay:

The most popular piece on the Christianity Today website is headlined,We Worship With the Magi, Not MAGA.” In the world of secular conservatism, The Wall Street Journal editorial page called on Trump to resign. Addressing Trump supporters, the conservative talk show host Erick Erickson wrote, “Everything — from the storming of the Capitol to people getting killed to social networks banning you to corporations not giving you money — everything is a logical consequence of you people lying relentlessly for two months and taking advantage of American patriots.

One core feature of Trumpism is that it forces you to betray every other commitment you might have: to the truth, moral character, the Sermon on the Mount, conservative principles, the Constitution. In defeat, some people are finally not willing to sacrifice all else on Trump’s altar.

After describing the threatening and profanity laced phone calls these “deserters” are receiving from the true believers of Donald Trump, Brooks concludes his op ed with this:

Others have to be reminded of the basic rules for perceiving reality. They have to be reminded that all truth is God’s truth; that inquiry strengthens faith, that it is narcissistic self-idolatry to think you can create your own truth based on what you “feel.” There will probably have to be pastors and local leaders who model and admire evidence-based reasoning, wrestling with ideas.

On the left, leaders and organizations have arisen to champion open inquiry, to stand up to the cancel mobs. They have begun to shift the norms.

The problem on the right is vastly worse. But we have seen that unreason is a voracious beast. If it is not confronted, it devours not only your party, but also your nation and your church.

Inquiry-based learning is essential to democracy. It promotes divergent thinking and open-mindedness and assumes that evidence-based reasoning might lead to differing opinions but those opinions are formed based on the application of reason.

For twenty years our schools have used standardized tests to measure learning. Those tests do not measure the ability to reason nor do they promote inquiry-based learning. MAYBE if Mr. Brooks is serious about his desire for ending the voracious beast that is unreason, he might consider replacing the test-and-punish accountability model  he has favored in the past.

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