In a recent move somewhere in our Kangaroo infested neighbors land to the south, and by that of course I mean that tiny Island I’ve always wanted to visit during the summer, there is a battle stirring between the Christian population and the academic side of things. You see, there was apparently a move on the floor to introduce this completely radical concept to the public school system a secular ethics class was going to be introduced to the entire public school system. This has of course infuriated the Christian right-wing in Australia, who may or may not have something to do with that countries slow but steady decline into draconian internet censorship laws for the good of the children. In fact, so angry that an Anglican Bishop has written in about the whole affair demanding that such a class be removed from the curriculum lest it corrupt the minds of the innocent.
I think what amuses me most is that the center that is really pushing for this roll out is the St. James Ethics center, and really anytime I see St. and then a relation to what is pretty clearly not a very church friendly decision, I just kind of have to chuckle on the inside. Anyway, silly nature aside, the program is apparently only being pushed out to a limited number of schools in the area, and its doubtful it will actually be of any real consequence [you know like teaching abstinence to 5th graders]. The issue of course being that when you start teaching that morality can come from a place other than a bearded man in the sky who watches over everything you do, is the supreme moral judge, but still has a tendency to be a mass murdering, genocidal fuckwit. The argument extends of course that the class steps that narrow line between simply teaching about religion and teaching against religion. But of course anything that might remind children that perhaps just because your parents gather in a circle around a pine tree every December, does not mean that everyone else thinks that’s a particularly interesting holiday. The real issue of course is that it does go after something that has been fundamental to the defense of religion from the perspective of the religious. It is of course this notion that you can’t be moral in any way without some kind of guiding force, that you require something to show you the way. Now I imagine that much like any ethics class taught at a Public University here in the US and likely all over the world, the class won’t be anti religious at all, but rather will simply not be teaching the idea that clearly there are other sources for human morality. In fact, I’d go on to bet that what’s really at stake here is that an ethics class at all is being taught below a college level and the words bible / koran / whatever else haven’t been tied down to it for sure.
Now, of course I have no problem with the course being taught, if anything the little bastard children that are being raised in the High Schools around the world could probably do for a lesson in morality, not that it will do any good, but its worth a shot none the less. So that way, what we can really get into is this basic idea that children can learn the very core of basic philosophy and critical thinking [which ethics does require] at an early age, something I wholeheartedly believe the current system is missing. Now again, as this is a blog and 90% of any ones post content is nothing more than my conjecture on the matter, and is often severely lacking in any true meat on the matter, because lets face it, I’m not a journalist of any kind, and I also don’t happen to live in Sydney… yet, there could be other issues that I’m not aware of that would stir the bees nest.
However, given the history that simply speaking as a non religious person can offend people, and in fact some days it scares the shit out of them, I’m guessing I could understand why the thought that we teach the children that just maybe it isn’t the magic man in the sky who will condemn you to years of eternal damnation but still loves you very much who is giving out ALL of the ethical order on the planet. And if we’re really lucky, the kids will put down twilight or whatever else is popular among the 13-18 bracket these days and they’ll be forced to learn about critical thinking. And on an even greater plus side, Liberal Arts majors and Philosophy majors will be able to apply for a job that’s actually in their field [A great leap forward for all liberal arts students I am sure].
If there are any Australian folks who drop by this blog though, I’d love to hear you guys thoughts on the matter 😀