Let My People Think!

by Lenny Esposito

Whenever I take kids on one of our Apologetics Missions Trips to Berkeley, I invite some of the most well-spoken atheists I can find to present their views before the students. This shocks some parents initially, but I explain that when high school kids hit college, they will be hearing such arguments anyway. In this controlled setting, we can hear some of the best arguments atheism has to offer, allow the students to then question the presenters, and ultimately show how the truth of Christianity is so much more convincing than the arguments against God.

Thus I was extremely concerned when I heard a news report about a local school district near my home that has come under fire for assigning a critical thinking research project to its eight grade students. The assignment reads, “When tragic events occur in history, there is often debate about their actual existence,” according to the LA Daily News web site.1 The assignment goes on to say that there are those who deny the holocaust as an actual historical event, and the students were to gather evidence and write a paper arguing why they believe the holocaust was either real or propaganda.2

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The Los Angeles Anti-Defamation League has objected to the assignment and complained to district officials.3 Spokesman Matthew Friedman stated, “To have students try and determine whether or not it happened, they’re gonna go online and they’re going to Google the Holocaust and come across sites that look very slick and very persuasive, but are really bad history and propaganda for anti-Semites, and that’s not what we want them to be doing.”

I must say that Friedman’s and the ADL’s objection falls flat. Do I think there is any doubt that the Holocaust happened? Of course not. Do I think such a research project is dangerous for eighth-graders?

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