Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Using religion for a moral education

There are a great many parents who think that by sending their child to a Christian school or 'play-school' after church, will result in them developing a 'good Christian ethic'. I would like to repudiate this suggestion. The reason is that parenting lessons ought to convey reasons why something is good or bad. It is by conveying such lessons, and being proven right, that the child earns respect for the parent. More importantly, they develop knowledge, so they become a master of their own destiny. If their moral education is dogmatic assertions or disciplinarian action by parents, several problems arise:
1. The child does not develop knowledge, but fear of parental reprisal, or self-doubt because of their inability to deal with the situation.
2. The child does not learn to integrate their life experiences into principles, thus to be able to differentiate when to do what in different specific contexts. Fortunately, religion is not the only education they get, but to the extent that it dominates their 'moral education' is the extent to which it will impact upon their value judgements.
3. Their intellectual development is impaired. Faith is not an education, its an assumption of it without evidence, without foundation. It can only incite delusion and arrogance.
Image by Africa
It does not help that society's values are consistent with a Christian education. This makes it harder for people to develop more reasonable values, as they can't discern Christian values from Christian pretense. For more insights on religious education for parents, refer to my religion blog.
Andrew Sheldon