Brain Vases: How Government Distorts Our Children’s Souls
In China, the art of molding humans was developed hundreds of years ago. The practitioners of this ancient art would take a child two or three years old, place it in a porcelain vase, sometimes a vase grotesque in shape. Only the child’s head (and possibly feet) could protrude from the vase. The child would be kept in that vase for years, sometimes standing, sometimes reclining. All the while its small and pliable body grew and filled the unforgiving contours of the vase. After several years in that binding predicament, the child’s body took on the shape of the vase and the child became a grotesque, misshapen, deformed, human monster. The child became as twisted as the vase, and the damage to his body was irreparable.
When the Frankensteinian practitioners of the art of remaking humans thought that the child’s shape was permanent, they broke the vase and removed the child, now perhaps eight or ten years old. Before them stood a helpless child shaped like a vase, a source of cruel amusement for the Chinese distortionists.
Even today, we have not done with such horrific human warping. Indeed, we sometimes do things far worse than deforming children’s bodies. We deform their souls. We create monsters of the mind. We twist, we truncate, their souls and force them to conform to the secular, under-educated, God-denying containers of the postmodern public school system into which we cram them. The twelve years that most American children spend in government schools, followed by the four years they spend in the leftist centers of higher indoctrination that we call colleges, distort the hapless young victims into the mindless sheep the secular state requires to fulfill its grand designs of human engineering. In those schools, we wring the creativity, individuality, and genius out of our young people, every last drop. We teach them to fit in, not stand out.
Have you noticed? We do the same in our churches and church schools. Young people who think for themselves, who arrive at conclusions not institutionally approved, are considered dangerous, rebellious, divergent. Perhaps they are. But at least they are not sheep, not lemmings. They are human creatures who are willing to ask — and to answer — the questions for which God has designed them, even if the deforming institutions around them are afraid of them and want to imprison their souls in the vases of sectarian indoctrination rather than nurture them in the fresh air and sunlight of the fields of discovery.
Genius, creativity, and the paradigm shifts to which they give rise, are liberating. Brain vases are not. But we have grown so used to the deformities we create that we think all folks ought to fit them on. The difference between the public schools and the churches is a matter of content, not method. That sad fact means that we ourselves have been deformed in the world vase, and that we reproduce after our own kind, if we can.
Christ Himself warned us off this path. He commanded us not to take the world’s shape. We are to be conformed to a different paradigm, His, in which alone we find our liberation because there, and only there, do we become what we were meant to be all along — the sons and daughters of God.
Dr. Michael Bauman is Professor of Theology and Culture and is Director of Christian Studies at Hillsdale College, where he has been since 1988. He also is Scholar in Residence for the Summit Semester program of Summit Ministries. He is a former inner city pastor in Chicago, an honorably discharged Marine, and a former cycling world champion.