Fool and Lie Makers by Nicholas Nussen

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Fool & Lie Makers

Public Education & the Secular Idols Replacing God
by Nicholas Nussen

St. Paul, passing through one of our public-school classrooms, would find his spirit stirred at a culture no less given to idolatry than that of the Athenians in his day. Only in place of the altar to the "Unknown God," he would find an altar to the all-too-familiar god of the Self; and among the "new things" on the lips of our adolescent sophists, he might hear something like, "Hey, you can't impose your morals on me!"

Such was the exclamation of one of my tenth-grade students two years ago in response to a "judgy" peer, expressing the one moral rule left in our culture, taken almost from the lips of our Savior: "Judge not." However, this is not, as in the Gospels, an admonition to remove the beam from one's own eye before plucking the mote from another's. Rather, it is a blanket prohibition of all judgment whatsoever, proceeding from what the shrewd apostle would recognize as a "strange doctrine" more dangerous than anything preached at the Areopagus: moral relativism, or the notion that all sincerely held beliefs, being neither right nor wrong in an objective moral sense, are immune to criticism.

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Nicholas Nussen lives with his wife and infant son in Ohio, where he formerly taught in a public high school, and now works at a university and attends law school.

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