The Great Book Program I n the early part of the 1970s, a major earthquake struck Southern California, close to downtown Los Angeles. According to reports, a very large and expensive Presbyterian church was located near the epicenter. After the quake was over, the ministers and congregation came to see if there was any damage done to their beloved, old building. As one can imagine, they were delighted and shocked to see that not only were the doors still on their hinges, but also not even one stained-glass window had been broken or damaged during the quake. Just to be on the safe side, however, the church brought in structural engineers to inspect the building to make sure things were safe. What the engineers eventually discovered was that when the earthquake was happening, the church had shifted, totally intact, from its foundation, making it unsafe to occupy. Even worse, the building had to be torn down and rebuilt at the cost of millions. [This story may remind you of the verse, “If the foundations be shaken, how can the building stand?”] What we are facing in 21st century culture is not the shaking of windows or doorframes of a building, but of the very foundation of how people today view the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in education. It is no secret that we face a crisis in education today. The tectonic plates have shifted under our feet. If this statement is true, then what constitutes this 18 FEATURE STORY by Chris Sutterfield, College English Instructor and Worldview Teacher shift, and is it all that new? Ironically, the early Greek philosophers were engaged in the same debate over education as we are, and what hung in the balance, for them, is no less true for us today: civilization itself. If we were to create a Hall of Fame for teachers, who would make your list? For many, the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, known as the Gadfly of Athens, would most assuredly be at the top. While most people may recognize the name, what many may not realize is that what was driving Socrates was a kind of salvation, a salvation of Greek civilization due to the crisis of his day that emerged, from all places, in education. During Socrates’ time, a new form of instruction and learning came onto the scene, composed of a certain type of curriculum, and taught by a select group of teachers, known as the Sophists. The Sophists were well-paid and highly skilled in the area of rhetoric and persuasion. Their basic educational philosophy was that there was no such thing as absolute truth. In fact, even if there were absolute truth, there was no way, according to the Sophists, to discover it. So what did they teach? Well, the Sophists taught that it doesn’t matter if an argument or idea is sound or even true, but does it work? In other words, education became a means of living a pragmatic life, not a pursuit of truth or knowledge. “Give us

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