Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Let's be more open in our plans for the future

Decline in Christian Education worrying

The article “Decline of Christian education” by Prof Dr.Tarcisius Chin (Herald,Feb.26) was very comprehensive and thought provoking for us, Malaysian Christians.

It is really sad that we have lost almost everything that we had achieved over the decades in Malaysia with regards to not only Christian but secular education as a whole.

To some extent our present predicament is due poor planning and lack of foresight on the part of our leaders in the heydays. Why didn’t our local clergy and lay educators take pains to continue with the system set up by their foreign predecessors?Was it because we were less committed to Christ than the foreign missionaries?May be if we had been more open and transparent in our dealings with the government,things would not have gone this far.

With the decline in education as whole, we are also witnessing deterioration in even the basic universal human and moral values. Issues related to greed, sex, corruption, violence and discrimination based on ethnicity and faith that were frowned upon in the sixties are now becoming accepted norms. Our children are exposed to the strong attraction of a misconceived culture that is prevalent in today’s world. This culture contradicts every established principle of all religions.

There is an urgent need to address this issue before it gets irreversible. Malaysians in general need to be nurtured on good spiritual and moral values. The schools seem to have failed miserably in this respect as far as Christians and other non-Muslims are concerned.

It is therefore left to the parents, the church and the lay Christian community to take over the task of attracting the new generation to be engaged in learning the values and traditions of their faith. There appears to be a degree of complacency among us due to failure to appreciate the gravity of the situation.

As priests, clergy and the parents, we must first be convinced ourselves that our role is pivotal with regards to the religious education of our children.The future of our faith in this country depends solely on our commitment to educating our children today.

The Church must take this seriously and set up a task force at the highest level comprising experts from all sectors to tackle this problem urgently. Our actions and plans for the future must be more open and transparent, if we do not want the future generation to regret our deeds today.

Let us not be bogged down with minute technical and ritual details of our faith when, at large, basic human values are at stake.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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