On Secular Education – Review


Over 100 years ago, Dabney wrote a critique of secular education that has proved prophetic, appropriately titled On Secular Education. This version, edited by author Douglas Wilson, is aimed towards the modern reader. While some sections remain dense, there are also some real gems in this small booklet. If you can find a copy at a reasonable price, it is definitely worth reading. 

Some of my favorite quotes:

“The education of children for God is the most important business done on earth. It is the one business for which earth exists. To it all politics, all war, all literature, all money-making, ought to be subordinated; and every parent especially ought to feel, every hour of the day, that, next to making his own calling and election sure, this is the end for which he is kept alive by God – this is his task on earth.”

“So is a really secularized education either possible, or admissible? Before ours, no people of any age, religion, or civilization, has ever thought so. Against the present attempt, right or wrong, stands the whole common sense of mankind. Pagans, Catholics, Moslems, Greeks and Protestants have all rejected any education not grounded in religion as absurd and wicked.”

“We have seen that their complete secularization is logically inevitable. Christians must prepare themselves then, for the following results: All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools.”
This provocative essay cuts down many points that almost everyone accepts about secular education. Recommended.


Education is a topic that remains controversial, but this little essay covers a lot of ground quickly. What are some “big” topics you could write about? Could you try writing about a few big topics rather than expounding on one? If you wrote a collection of essays, what issues would they address?