I am excited to present a review of the movie IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America, brought to us by Great Commission Films. This Review is completed in my role as a member of The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew.
I received a DVD from Great Commission Films and set aside some time to sit and be able to watch the movie. The movie itself if 101 minutes long, (and since I’m a serial TV show watcher more than a movie watcher, LOL!!!) I had to set aside a couple of hours. I ended up watching all but the final 10 minutes in the first sitting, and finishing up the rest about 3 days later. I took notes as I went, screen shot a few important thing to look up later, and wrote down a lot of scripture references. Honestly, there was a ton of information and I look forward to to sitting and watching it all again in about 15-20 minutes chunks to really absorb the material!
The basic premise of the movie centers around the question: Should believers in Jesus Christ (Christians) have their children enrolled in the public school system?
Controversial? You bet.
A question we all need to ask? Yes.
A question that we (Believers) need to remove emotion and our personal experiences from and really search Scripture for direction? Absolutely.
And, I think this movie really does that.
Did I like all of what it had to say? No, but it made me think. Hard. It challenged me to consider opinions different than what I started with (that Christians can, with a clear conscience, put their kids in public school), and gave me a lot of evidence and scripture to consider as a part of the thinking.
What did I like about the movie?
+ I really appreciated the variety of interviews that were conducted. From preachers, theologians, teachers, and historians I felt like a lot of bases were covered in gathering information.
+ I loved the history of the public school system portions. I previously though more of this history involved the focus on Christianity than it really did. I was educated on that point through this movie!
+ Statistics. I love numbers and data. I appreciated the emphasis on hard facts. I was SHOCKED by many of them. One particular tidbit that struck me (because I hear it so often here at home, where our public schools rank among the worst in the nation), is the disparity between the actual ranking of schools and parents perception of the ranks (“It’s not that bad….”). Sadly, it is usually that bad.
+ The interview with the public high school graduate was super interesting. I try very hard to see the glass as half full, so I often dismiss the horror stories I hear about public schools as being biased and overblown. I know many wonderful public school teachers and I know they do all they can to provide a warm, safe, encouraging environment for their students, so I find anything contrary to their hard work tough to swallow. And, since I have no experience with my kids in school, I guess I think I need to give them the benefit of the doubt. With that in mind, hearing from a young Christian woman, firm in her faith, sharing her story- that was powerful for me.
+ I loved the clarity with which the “isms” of different philosophies were explained. I appreciated the emphasis on understanding that Christianity isn’t being given any equal time – but that relativism, atheism, and other schools of thought are replacing Truth and making moral decisions relative and ethics situational. I was shocked to learn about the pervasiveness of moral relativism in the school system.
What did I not like?
+ While I appreciated the diversity of background of the interviewees (job-wise), I had a hard time with their bias. It seemed like the “Who’s Who” of the super-conservative homeschool movement. Even the film maker is a homeschool dad. I have enjoyed learning from many of the interviewees, but they can be polarizing, even in the homeschool world. I would like to have heard more from more mainline preachers and their opinions on the subject so that the movie would be more approachable to moderate believers and a wider diversity of homeschoolers.
+ I think the “remove all kids from public schools” can be a bitter pill to swallow. While I agree with the conclusion, and the scripture that supported that conclusion, I think some mention of what parents can do if they HAVE to use public schools would have been great. It’s a reality that not everyone can afford private school or to homeschool and I would have like to have seen that addressed, even briefly.
My “Take Aways”:
+ The most impacting part of the movie for me was when RC Sproul Jr was discussing the “salt and light” argument. I’ve heard it a million times, “If we take believing children out of the public school system, who will evangelize the unbelievers?” I could NOT agree more with his rebuttal. Basically, (and you need to watch the movie for this one point, since I won’t say it anywhere near as eloquently as him!), since the majority of kids who enter public school believing in Jesus leave the faith when they graduate high school, and rarely evangelize anyone, the mission is failing. Badly. It was so convicting to me and awesome to hear so simply put what bothers me about that argument.
+ This wasn’t a part of the movie per se, but I was hugely convicted that DISCIPLESHIP OF OUR KIDS BEGINS AT HOME AND IS A PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY. Homeschooling doesn’t automatically make discipleship happen. Public (or private) schools are not responsible for discipleship NOT happening. Parents are. Parents who are focused on the Lord, who desire to serve the Lord, and daily take on the task of discipling their children is what’s crucial. I HAVE to be one of those parents. Homeschooling, and our schedule and lifestyle, should leave us with no excuse – but it’s my job as a parent to help my kids to mature in the Lord. We need to take that seriously regardless of where our kids go to school and this movie really helped to remind me of that. That’s an awesome thing in my opinion!
In conclusion, I am really glad that I watched this movie and I would recommend it to every Christian parent. I didn’t necessarily agree with all it concluded, or with everything in the movie, but it made me really think. It challenged me. I can be honest and say that some of my “dislikes” really were because, when presented with scripture (truth), my long held opinions and personal convictions were challenged. That’s hard. But very, very good. It’s iron sharpening iron. I am grateful for it.
So, I’ll definitely watch the movie again.
I’ll research the notes I took.
And I will continue to pray for our nation, its children, its parents, and for revival to sweep our nation so the hearts and minds of every person in America would turn toward Jesus Christ.