Of course it SHOULD be the parent's job. But what happens if the parents don't bother?
Don't bother teaching their kid? I honestly think that God will hold parents accountable for what they do and don't teach.
Meanwhile, what should the child do? I have no clue.
What should the government do? Nothing.
What should the neighbor do? Care for the orphan. That is what I would call a child who's education (or upbrining or even raising) was neglected and passed off by the parent. An orphan. Its sad. It really is sad. I hope one day every parent will realise their position as parents and just teach their own children.
Honestly, I don't know what a person shoud do. Forget what I said about the neighbor taking responsibility. It shouldn't be that way. I really don't know what I can do for a child.
IMAGINE: They should bother. It's their kid. They had better care enough about their child's education that they teach him/her. Even if it means sacrificing something, such as a job or their time.
Of course, if it's a single parent, things are a little different. But they can still do it.
TheNameof Indigo: Like I said, OF COURSE THEY SHOULD.
But people don't always do (or even often do) what they should. I should be doing my homework right now; that doesn't mean that I am. So do we just abandon the kid if the parents can't be bothered to teach them?
Contemplator: To me, it's not only cruel to ignore these children, it's dangerous. If nobody explains to them what is right or wrong, they aren't going to just instinctively pick 'right' every time. If nobody tells them 'don't hurt other people', odds are they're going to end up hurting other people.
And yes, the parents are accountable before God, but that doesn't mean there's nothing we can or should do. Those who steal from others are accountable before God, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't help the victims of theft. If you go off the 'love thy neighbor' approch then it's not only a safeguard, it's a moral obligation to help and teach the less fortunate. Maybe God will hold us accountable for failing to act.
"do you think that the se.cularization of schools has resulted in a loss of the essential education of being a good human being?"
In short, no. Even during the time when schools were largely religious organizations, morality was not taught there in ways that it isn't now. It was taught in churches (whether such morality is good morality is a discussion for another time, I guess), but mostly schools and universities were dedicated primarily to natural studies and studies of the more factual, historical aspects of the scriptures. I will say, though, that morality is a large part of the curriculum of any philosophy class, so saying it's flat-out "not in the curriculum" at all isn't quite true. However, I would like of there was a heavier focus set on the topic, and other topics of philosophy, in the main curriculum of most schools. Of course, then there are a million things I think should be changed about most schools, but again, that's a discussion for another time.
"Never, along the process, are we told that there has been a spiritual e.volution."
And I hope it remains that way, because that isn't entirely true. The evolution of morality is a very interesting in its own right, but there's nothing particularly spiritual about it. Mostly, if you look into the evolution of human morality, it's centered, as every other part of darwinian evolution is, around the survival of the individual, bringing rise to a sort of "selfish morality," meaning that humans will naturally be good in situations where they are likely to benefit from it. It also has some other strange side-effects, like many aspects of the strangely ritualistic specific treatment of women throughout history.
I had a very interesting discussion in my school's philosophy club (oh sweet iron :P ) about the lack of moral education in schools (or even a negative one), centered around Samuel Coleridge's poem "Frost at Midnight" (a good read). Someone made the point that, well, what does school teach you in the way of morality? In summary, do what authority tells you simply because it's authority and you'll be punished otherwise. Follow the rules because authority said so -- what are the rules, exactly? In fact most of them seem to only be in place so that the authority can retain their authority for enforcing the other minority of rules. And most of those don't make any sense -- If you're 15 seconds late to class, you're "swept" (the connotation of the word being that you're garbage worthy of the janitor's dustbin, I kid you not), and held in a room to answer why you were late, and then arrive to class 15 minutes late instead of 15 seconds. Oh, and by the way, here's this list of arbitrary words that you're not allowed to say under any circumstances, because authority says so. You are individual and unique but the way you'll learn best is to do it like everyone else. A person's intelligence is determined by mostly arbitrary numbers earned by doing mostly arbitrary tasks. If you get low numbers, you're stupid, and therefore not as good as your peers. What!?
Oh wow. I managed to get on a rant about the school system after all. I'm just going to stop here before I get too far in and all hope is lost. Anyways, I think you get my point.
Americans have taken a mercenary approach to education. They do what they have to do in order to make a certain amount of money or attain a certain job. The (very true) concept that a good education serves to make one a better person has been all but abandoned.
One may very well argue that strictly Secularizing education has attributed to its lack of influence on peoples' lives apart from their careers. There's just no conviction in it.
"If nobody tells them 'don't hurt other people', odds are they're going to end up hurting other people."
I disagree. A vast majority of people have an inborn instinct not to harm fellow citizens, that killing your own kind is wrong. The problem isn't that people need to be told this -- they already know (and those that don't, well, that's where laws enforced by force are justified). The problem is that others in their life will warp immoral things to seem like they are okay within that framework. For instance, if I tell a child that it's okay to kill people who have killed their fellow citizens, because that will deter it from happening and it's only fair that way, they'll almost invariably believe me, because children are impressionable like that. Of course, I wouldn't ever tell them that, because I and (hopefully) the rest of the people here know that's wrong. However, this is exactly how wars start, and how they're conducted and justified. So, it's not so much a problem that children need to be told what's right (and in any case I think it's better to guide them in thinking for themselves on such matters, so that the first conclusions they reach are their own), it's a problem that they need not to be told that wrong things are okay.
"the parents are accountable before God"
Unfortunately, this sort of carrot-and-stick morality very rarely works. Usually only those who are strongly religiously convicted will follow such promises about afterlives, etc., and even then, the carrot-and-stick approach to morality is especially succeptible to the kind of warping of values that I talked about above. Especially for the parents, they may not have a good moral sense themselves, let alone be able to pass it on flawlessly to their children.
It's important to note, as well, that children learn as much (if not more) by example as by what they're told. No matter what a parent tells their child, if they don't follow that advice themselves, well... take a wild guess which path the children will probably take.
In all, I think the best thing for children is, first and foremost, to let them come to their own moral conclusions before trying to alter their moral path, and secondly, to surround them with good role models. Only then do you have a good shot at raising a kid with good morals.
"One may very well argue that strictly Secularizing education has attributed to its lack of influence on peoples' lives apart from their careers"
I strongly disagree. I can't see anything that would make a school system that teaches religion teach better morals as well. In my opinion secular morality is better overall anyways, and I think the problem is that schools put all their focus on what "is" and there should be at least a little bit on what "ought."
Hey! I haven't seen ya around before, but with the size of that post I think you'll fit in nicely. ;) If you actually are new, then welcome! If not, then . . . well, just hey.
Anyways, you're right that schools have never really been the equivalent of Sunday School class (with varied exceptions), but curricula(ums?) of the past had a lot more emphasis on gaining the wisdom required to be an informed and productive member of society by focusing on things like the Classics and bringing upright behaviour to the forefront of most courses.
Also, I think you've oversimplified morality here. The philosophy of ethics has always seen a delicate balance between self-preservation and self-sacrifice that is really quite complex. While both may be natural instincts, the decision of which applies in each instance is not often easily explained. Darwin, Huxley, and certainly Asa Gray held that there was more to morality than that.
I'm new indeed, thanks for the welcome :D
I don't feel like I've oversimplified morality. If I seemed to be too black-and-white in my previous posts, calling things "wrong" and "right" all over the place, I don't mean that it's really that simple, but just to get any unnecessary details out of the way in order to make a clearer point.
This is where I defer to Sam Harris's views about "low hanging fruit" -- sometimes it's necessary to pick on the extreme examples, especially in such a grey area as morality and ethics, to be able to figure out anything clearly. Once a concept can be explained through the simple or extreme examples, it's much easier to see how it applies to more normal situations.
If was unclear on any of that, I'm sorry -- I should've explained before. Also, I've never been very good with words in a conversation, but I try my best.
asfdasdjla i never get used to the long posts >.>;
Welp, I ain't reading dat. So I was gonna respond, but now I'm not. *rolls away*
Nice to meet you. As far as the 'don't hurt other people' thing goes, I think it really comes down to a discussion over whether people are inherently good or inherently bad. If you assume that people are naturally good, then it's probably safe to assume people who were never taught morals are going to be perfectly harmless. I just don't happen to think that people are instinctively going to make the right descision all the time. (Also, schools and parents aren't the only influences on a child out there. If the parents don't teach kids and teachers don't teach kids, they're going to get their morals from somewhere else. Like other children, who are always so kind and accepting of others. Or Hollywood, which is obviously the paragon of peace and kindness.)
About 'parents will be held accountable'- obviously that only works with religious people, but contemplator and I are both religious people. I figured since the topic had come up I might as well address my view on it. I wasn't trying to apply that to everyone- and it wouldn't work anyway if I had.
Nice to meet you too!
I'm not saying that people will always instinctively make the right choices -- there's a rhyme and reason about morality, after all -- but then, people don't always make the right choices whether or not they're acting on instinct.
I agree that teachers and parents are far from the only moral influences a child has, which is why I think it's an important thing to surround a child with good role models to counteract the negative influences they'll no doubt be exposed to. Ideally, a child wouldn't be exposed to any bad influences, but since that's obviously inevitable, so it needs to be counteracted.
And, sorry, I did misinterpret your post there. I get what you're saying now, though (I hope).
Well, I think the best way to fix this problem would be to have schools create a class that analyzes various ethical systems and make it a mandatory class. As far as I know, this can be done. My high school requires you to take one year of PE and Computer Applications, as well as a semester of Economy and a semester of Government. In this class they could stress that a big part of being a good human being is helping the others around you and doing things that fulfil your life and the lives of others, however that happens to work for you. I can't think of any religious or political beliefs systems that could disagree with that, and if a student doesn't want to listen, that's their problem.
But what happens if a student asks why they should behave morally? I see no way this question could be answered unless the institution was doctrinal. Which is where much of my wariness toward institutionalized secualrism comes from.
Well the answer is one of two:
1. Because you feel guilty about it if you do it.
Or if the person doesn't then:
2. Society will punish you either with jail, fines, or minor cases dislike.
Right, but at least from my experience, the second reason is totally unconvincing. I'm a person who doesn't like obeying unless I have a clear reason to (read: why I hate gym class), and so the second wouldn't work for me. As for the first, well, guilt isn't necessarily that powerful of a motivator. I mean, some people feel super guilty, and others don't. For example, I would feel pretty bad about shoplifting, but some others might not. I mean, I guess if the person is already set in their ways, and has their own set of morals, for certain types of people, it wouldn't make a difference. If they already steal and lie every day, and don't feel guilty about many of the things that we deem moral, would it really matter? I'm sure it would help some. But if in the environment where they grew up, they hold a totally different set of beliefs, that answer isn't really satisfactory. And I doubt that the teacher would really answer, because then they would look like they were (gasp) open to other beliefs than what they believe to be correct, based on their society. And we wouldn't want that, would we?
Also guys, this is rather off topic, but how do you format it as paragraphs rather than a giant block of text? I've tried, and it works in the reply box, but not in the forum...
Hit Enter two or three times instead of just once.
Like this. If that still doesn't work the problem is probably with your computer.
I basically second what I-am-your-angel-of-music-Ed (can I just call you Ed?) just posted. Very well said.
It's a relatively simple answer to a simple question: "As people living together, we have to understand that our actions have an impact on others, and that theirs have an impact on us. To live together and coexist, we have to recognize this and act in a way that promotes a positive society, and we know this will reflect back on us. Doing otherwise makes the situation worse for everyone involved.