This blog is a reposting of a classroom session Gregg Preston conducted with his Advanced Placement class last year. I was reminded of this blog post and class as I thought of the historical significance of the birth of Christ and the bravery of the men and women surrounding the historical occurance. Enjoy this reposting as we look forward to students returning to Hillcrest and continuing their Biblically-based Christ-centered education.
What makes western civilization significant? This is a question addressed recently in professor Gregg Preston's Advanced Placement European History class. Pointing the students to recognize how anti-climactic their book paints the time of European expansion, Mr. Preston drew students to realize the impact a Biblical view of the world had in guiding the progress and expansion of western Europe.
Rodney Stark makes a similar point in his book The Victory of Reason:
When Europeans first began to explore the globe, their greatest surprise was not the existence of the Western Hemisphere but the extent of their own technological superiority over the rest of the world. Not only were the proud Mayan, Aztec, and Inca nations helpless in the face of European intruders; so were the fabled civilizations of the East: China, India, and even Islam were backward by comparison with sixteenth-century Europe. How had this happened? Why was it that although many civilizations had pursued alchemy, it led to chemistry only in Europe. How had this happened? Why was it that, for centuries, Europeans were the only ones possessed of eyeglasses, chimneys, reliable clocks, heavy cavalry, or a system of music notation? How had nations that had arisen from barbarism and the rubble of fallen Rome so greatly surpassed the rest of the world?
The impact of a Biblical perspective led Europe towards innovation and expansion that was never considered in the expanse of people throughout the world in the dark ages and Renaissance. Mr. Preston's class is not only taught the Biblical perspective of this time period, but they are also interacting with a text that works to explain the development and expansion of the world as if God is irrelevant. Mr. Preston takes time within his class to challenge the ideas foisted in the secular text with logic, reason, and the Bible.
Mr. Preston's class is another example of how Hillcrest students are being equipped to live a life of significance; understanding the motivation that led great people to great discoveries which led to a greater understanding of God.