Eastern & Western Thought

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel throughout China for two weeks promoting Salem Christian School and American  education system in general.   The trip was sponsored by a company that connects Chinese students interested in international studies with American private schools.  In 10 days, I traveled to 14 cities and 5 provinces in 7 flights, 4 trains, and a ferry with an additional countless hours in Chinese “Uber” service.  Within each of these cities we visited anywhere from two to four schools.In each location, I was expected to provide a presentation in each of these schools.  The presentation was to be 10-20 minutes.  Mind you, this would cut the time in half because it would need to include English to Chinese translation.  That is a short time to share the significance of experiencing the value of a Christian education at Salem Christian School.  Two days before departure, they requested I teach a lesson.  I wasn’t sure how I could  teach a proper lesson within these parameters regardless of having no idea on what would even be a profitable lesson to teach.  Initially, I  declined.

I stuck to a simple presentation; at least, until my second day when I was in Shanghai.  There I was relentlessly requested to teach a lesson.   I had an epiphany, likely the Holy Spirit prompting.  Why not share about the school through the construct of my worldview class I teach seniors?  It suddenly became clear on how I could teach a lesson and share the school in such a confined time and it still be valuable.

I began sharing  how Westerners think differently than those from Eastern cultures with a few anecdotal examples.   I contended that we derive our philosophical thoughts mainly from Greek philosophers.  An example of this is ‘The Allegory of The Cave‘ by Plato.

I shared the Allegory of the Cave by Plato.  In this allegory, three men were captive and chained facing a wall.  For their entire lives they could only see shadows and hear the distorted sounds of people walking by on a ledge far away and behind them.  One day, a man escaped the cave to see the world as it really was.  He returned to the ledge to talk to the two men left chained; but, all they could see was his shadow from the fire and his distorted voice.

The ‘Allegory Of The Cave‘ is a theory put forward by Plato, concerning human perception. Plato claimed that knowledge gained through the senses is no more than opinion and that, in order to have real knowledge, we must gain it through philosophical reasoning.  Reality and knowledge takes deep thought and experience to uncover.

This allegory describes western thought of knowledge, learning, and philosophy for thousands of years.  Although westerners think differently and certainly behave differently, there are certain universal truths.

Not unlike the escapee, we try to teach those universal truths and help students understand the world as it really is.  Christianity is about understanding the universe as God would have us see it.  We cannot fully uncover reality or entirely understand it without God.  Thus, Salem Christian School endeavors to teach pupils to think in light of His Truth.  Knowing the Truth will most definitely require the student to think differently than their secular counterparts.

Salem Christian School understands that every human being, no matter the cultural background, needs to transform their minds in order to understand the fullness of the universe.  And, by that, we mean seeing it how God sees it.  Thus, every subject taught and every aspect of the school is permeated with the Christian worldview.  This school’s foundation mission is to develop a student who loves God with all his or her mind, body and soul.  And, a vision for how it is done is integral to living out the Christian worldview philosophy effectively. And that describes a student’s academic life, student life, and spiritual at Salem Christian School.

Head of School Blog


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