As a lab demonstrator or tutor in the biology and philosophy departments for a few hours each week over the last couple of years, I’ve wondered how Christian faith relates to this part of what I do. Most people would probably see it as (at best) an odd quirk in my life that I should try very hard to keep out of the educational system. Even Christians often take a similar approach of division between faith and teaching.
Here are some benefits for classes of having an evangelical Christian helping to teach them:
We worship Jesus, and it’s his character that we want to shape ours. This doesn’t mean we’re better, but we are focussing on a better goal, the perfect, personal model of self-sacrificial service, who took our failings on himself, freeing us to live in accordance with his nature. Better that our teachers worship him than career advancement, themselves, relationships, material goods, or alternate gods whose character is so different.
Ethical requirements are more than a collection of rules that society has found aids its operation – they are intrinsically connected to the character of God – our creator, judge, helper, and saviour. We see good reason to follow them even when it doesn’t suit us, and when no-one else would necessarily find out otherwise.
An example I hope is true: we intend to go above and beyond the job requirements, spending extra hours answering emails and checking marks.
Because God loved us at our worst, we actually care about our students. We might even pray for our students before class (at least on a good day).
We have a worldview that recognises the limits of science and materialism.
We understand that people (including us!) are not perfect, and don’t have unrealistic utopian goals for our classrooms, yet we also believe in common grace, meaning that we can hopefully expect many good things – such as education, positive interactions, and fun – in this life.
We don’t worship education or knowledge and have resources that help us understand the need for a holistic approach – we can leave room for fun, and other aspects of development, alongside intellectual rigor.
God has made this world as a contingent creation. In order to understand it, we need to go out and explore – this, along with the concomitant trust in the orderliness of the creation made by our faithful God, gives a deep justification for the process of science, and freedom to explore many ideas in philosophy.
I think similar points hold true for lawyers, doctors, psychologists, …