East defends West
Indian philosopher promotes Christian education
WINNIPEG—Vishal Mangalwadi is a man with a grand mission—nothing less than restoring the best of Western civilization. He believes this can be accomplished, primarily through a thorough revamping of the education system that begins with new methods of delivering university education through Christian churches.
Mangalwadi, author of The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Thomas Nelson, 2011), was at Linden Christian School in Winnipeg February 12-14 to address the annual teacher convention of the Manitoba region of the Association of Christian Schools International. He previously addressed similar groups in B.C. and Alberta.
“God’s revelation, the Bible, is the foundation of Western Civilization, as well as all nations seeking to be just, free and prosperous,” he says.
The native of India is a Christian philosopher, academic researcher, international lecturer, social reformer, cultural and political commentator who has published 17 books. Among his many activities, he and his wife, Ruth, run Revelation Movement ministry, which “exists to re-establish the cultural authority of Veritas (Truth) because God has revealed Truth in scripture and God has given man the mind and clues to help us discover what He has concealed (Proverbs 25:2).”
Mangalwadi maintains that “the Church was given task to disciple nations and teach,” and that “the Church built the education system in the West.”
But then, he adds, they “abandoned it to the devil.” Universities in the West have “disassociated education from truth” and the result is individualism without conscience. He particularly blames the elite business universities for nurturing a “greed is good” culture that is responsible for rampant economic disparity and increasing hardship.
Truth and tolerance
The antidote, says Mangalwadi is the right kind of education. “The idea that the human mind can know truth is uniquely biblical. Education is supposed to be about investigating truth and building character. But the universities are no longer interested and this is destroying everything in America.
“It’s the ‘closing of the American mind.’ When truth goes, tolerance goes.”
Mangalwadi knows from experience that tolerance for minority or dissenting views is disappearing at universities. Recently invited to deliver a lecture series at a major Canadian university, the university withdrew its invitation after its consideration of a commentary he’d written about same-sex marriage. The university realized that the lectures would be protested and preferred to avoid the conflict.
Citing John Milton’s defines of tolerance in Areopogitica, Mangalwadi observes that “in free and fair combat, truth will always win. Wrong teaching will be corrected with facts and arguments, not by force. But because postmodernism rejects notions of truth, it cannot tolerate free discussion.”
Mangalwadi is also keenly aware that contemporary methods of delivering Christian university education are unsustainable. Fewer and fewer students are able to carry the amount of debt required to pay what it currently costs. He believes the Church needs to become more engaged in secondary education and has developed a proposal first outlined the idea in Truth and Transformation (YWAM Publishing, 2009).
“I propose that the Church in the United States can turn the nation around by re-educating the next generation,” he says. He believes this can happen by “offering better education at a fraction of the cost of private education by using existing churches as college classrooms.” Course content developed by “a consortium of Christian subject matter experts” would be available online.
While he is hopeful his ideas will be widely adapted, it’s going very slowly in the U.S. “Indonesians were the first to accept it,” he says, noting that more than 1,000 students are involved in that country.
He is running initial training programs in Kenya and Uganda, and is about to launch two in Kenya now. “I am personally launching this in India and America,” he says. Although not directly involved in South American efforts, Mangalwadi says, “Brazil and Colombia are also keen.” He hasn’t promoted it in Canada yet.
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