I have something that is bothering me and I hope someone can give me some wise advice on how to handle it.
I am married to a wonderful woman who is a Christian. She has a 11 year old daughter who has been my step daughter for a few years now. She is going into Jr. High and my wife did not want her to go to the public school (she heard bad things about it so I just went along) and wanted her to go to a private school. My wife told me great things about this school but when I heard it was a christian school I was concerned it might be anti-science. I talked to the principle and she assured me that it was not and I had nothing to worry about. I told her I grew up in secular/public schools and never was taught anything about evolution and I don't want that to happen to my kid. The principle told me she can't stand Christians that are anti-science. Well I was relieved and I gave my full support. Well the other day my kid comes home with her history book and I read through it. I barely could hold back my anger! It began with a global flood and also said that evolution is false and that everyone who believes in it only does so because they don't want to believe in the bible! Now I studied history in college so I think I know at least a little of what has happened around the world and I was so disgusted with how it treated topics on Buddhism, Chinese history, Crusades etc. On both Buddhism and Chinese history it would have a fairly ok presentation but at the end it always had to insult it and make it look stupid. I mean money is leaving the household to support this and brainwash my kid! So I went to the parent/teacher conference that all parents go to but this time I actually had something to say. After hearing the teacher praise this book she is using I could not hold back. I told her I had serious issues with it. I said I know this is a private school so you can teach anything you want and get away with it. She said the book is a little on the harsh side but said this is a creationist school. She also said there is a kid in class who accepts evolution and that my daughter even stood up against the evolutionist in class! I am so disturbed over this. I have no support from my wife and my kid doesnt know any better to understand what is happening. I told my wife that if she is not going to get a proper education on evolution then I will have to teach her myself. I am not trying to convert her I just want her to have the right information so later she can make up her own opinion. I got in touch with the public school science teacher that she could of had and he said he will help me anyway he can. Anybody else go through this? I am alone in the family on this matter hence the title of this discussion.
Thanks for your input VikingDon. I think what you said is pretty much all I can do.
"Does your wife believe in creationism too?"
I think she does (YEC) although sometimes after watching a debate (Ross vs. Hovind) she will comment that an old earth is not really against her religious understanding and acknowledges some Christians do in fact believe the earth is very old. I think she knows Hovind is a kind of sly conman so he is hard to trust.
"How does she feel that her daughter being taught this religion instead of science?"
Well she thinks it is science. Creationism is science to her. We had a big argument that night when I saw the daughter's history book. The daughter ended up crying and saying how they allow me to be an atheist all these years so why can't I allow her to have her beliefs. Then she said she has two fathers and both have completely different views and she does not know what to do. I told her that the difference between her step father and father is that he has an opinion that he absolutely wants you to also have no matter what. I just want you to have an accurate understanding of evolution (all science and history too) in order to better form an educated opinion later in her life. Either way she goes I will still be her step father and will still accept her. Clearly this book and teacher are only providing strawman arguments to make evolution look problematic. After I said this and made it clear, my wife understood me and then told her that not all Christians accpt what is in this book and all that he is saying is he wants you to have knowledge about it and not simply believe it (unlike her father who wants her to simply believe Creationism). The daughter seemed to understand what I was saying but I don't know if I can compete with everyday in class being subjected to that stuff.
My step daughter has surprised me a couple times. I remember one time her and I were at the store and she saw something on the shelf and quickly grabbed it and threw it away. I asked her what it was and she said it was one of those Chrisitan tracts someone left which talked about Hell etc. She expressed her dislike for threats to unbelievers like me.
Here is the book if anyone is curious.
I would suggest that the school book beginning with the flood, completely ignoring Thomas Jefferson's contributions, &c. is the same history text that was approved, over a minority objection, by the Texas Board of Education. It is an object lesson in why State Rights arguments mostly fail, especially as applied to those departments of the federal government that the Tea Party-evangelical influenced Republican pols keep trashing and fighting to eliminate. (Remember that jackass, Gov. Perry, who couldn't remember which three departments he would, as president, eliminate? Education was one of them.) When education is returned to the States, the dumb States will do what was done to your child's history text, only worse in places like Alabama, Texas, and all the South. Meanwhile, other nations, which do NOT teach that Adam and Eve ate dinosaur meat, will outstrip us in science and, thus, in commerce. We will slide into Third World status. The dumbing down of America continues apace. You will need to work overtime to supply a parallel education. You might want to buy some history texts from the 60s and 70s. Have your child read Howard Zinn while you're at it. Do all that you must to keep your child from turning into the No Nothings our system appears dedicated to producing. Remember, the Texas GOP platform included a provision for eliminating "critical thinking" from American curricula. They've made a start as it is.
That which you went through with the school official is called "lying for Jesus." If you can't convince them with theology, lie.
You might note to your wife that medicine, genetics, biology, and a whole host of unrelated sciences all point to evolution by natural selection as the best model we have for describing the ascent of life, and if the stories in the Bible are the truth, they do not need to be defended with lies.
You might also note that while denigrating science, no self-respecting fundamentalist Christian would for a moment go without electricity, automobiles, medicine, flush toilets, or a whole host of other things brought about by the scientific method. They would not balance their chequebooks on faith. Why, on the one subject of evolution, on which Jesus did not give an opinion, are so many Christians convinced they know the Mind of God? That would seem to be the height of arrogance to any Christian who truly believes in the story of the Gospels.
The truth, if religion has it, never needs to be defended by a lie. Lying is the defence of something patently untrue.
The religion and its school are fundamentally corrupt and unholy if a school administrator would lie to get your child in the school. If so, what else would the school lie to you (or your wife) about?
The best possible thing you can do is tell your daughter that you support her decision. If she ever wants to learn about evolution you are there to help but you understand if creationism is important to her. This issue is complicated by a divorce and if your wife is the custodial parent she has a desperate desire to connect with her father. This applies to parenting generally but specifically to step kids and also religious/skeptical issues. You have to avoid putting pressure on her. Its quite likely that she will change her mind once she gets to college, if she decides to go.
Specifically you should tell her:
"I think that you have the right to believe in what you want and I don't want to cause you problems with your parents but, if you ever change your mind I will always be here to explain or discuss what I believe with regards to science."
You can obviously change some words around and add things like telling her you love her and such things that parents say.
Any attempt to corner her and try to impose your view is going to go terribly for you and will upset your wife. I am not sure why you thought it was a good idea to marry a creationist, especially if you planned to have your own children. They take this shit seriously. Dead seriously. Creationists commit violence to enforce their beliefs on children. Not that your wife is necessarily like that, but she did wear a tin foil hat with regards to public school.
And you really should have done your homework about lying for Jesus if you were going to be involved with child rearing and creationists. As I said they take this shit seriously.
It is very very difficult for a parent to offset what a child learns every day in school, especially when the other parent is not on the same side. Children naturally want to fit in with their environment and often they view parents as "out of it." If it is at all possible, you ought to place your child in a better educational environment otherwise you may find yourself isolated in your own family.
I know you're not trying to convert her, you're trying to de-convert her. This is tragic man. I can't believe that stuff was in a text book. Yikes.