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Source: (consider it) Thread: RE vs ethics
not entirely me
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In light of the US school shooting ethical education has come up again as a topical subject.

I think philosophy and ethics are a keystone of education and to trace back to Ancient Greece etc. they were considered to be so then. How come Christianity seemed to make them a tag on? And how should our society proceed forward?
Sorry if I’ve already touched on a DH topic but it seemed poignant. BBC

[ 21. February 2018, 18:43: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by not entirely me:
In light of the US school shooting ethical education has come up again as a topical subject.

I think philosophy and ethics are a keystone of education and to trace back to Ancient Greece etc. they were considered to be so then. How come Christianity seemed to make them a tag on? And how should our society proceed forward?
Sorry if I’ve already touched on a DH topic but it seemed poignant. BBC

Could you parse this out a bit more? I'm not really disagreeing-- at least not yet-- so much as having trouble connecting some dots. Could you say more about how Christianity has reduced ethics to a "tag on"? And how that connects to the deplorable gun violence here in US?

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Hedgehog

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I went to Fordham College, which is a Jesuit institution. In other words, a Christian-based college. As part of its curriculum, it required every student to take at least two theology and two philosophy courses, and then one more course that could be either theology or philosophy (at the student's choice). I have heard that, in the years since I graduated, they have actually increased that requirement. I agree that it is a small sample, but at that institution at least philosophy is treated as far more than just a tag on.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Og, King of Bashan

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BBC article linked in OP with link fixed. (I’ve made the same coding error many times [Biased] ).

I guess I can see how you could argue that in some denominations, the “love God” part takes priority over the “love your neighbor” part, but that may be my own bias on the faith / works debate showing through.

Talking about teaching ethics to young men is a current trend on the right in the States- my brother and father have both just read Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life- an Antidote to Chaos,” which has been getting lots of praise and attention from Conservative writers. The author talks about the Bible narrative as an example of Jungian archetypes, teaching universal lessons in ethics and right action. It’s all fine and good, but I do worry about a few things that I have heard that, frankly, sound a bit like the Promise Keepers. There seems to be a huge focus on the male’s paramount duty to take care of his wife and children, which can be dangerous, i.m.o., when you as a man start seeing your wife and kids own behavior and decisions not as autonomous acts with their own justification, but as reflections of your own failings or successes.

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wild haggis
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It depends whose ethics you mean? That needs unpacking. Often subjects taught in school are jetsoned when a kid leaves school. It needs a complete societal change. Will that happen in USA? I doubt it.

The problem is that guns are so readily available to all in USA.
I don't agree with people having guns because anyone who has a mental illness has a gun readily available. Anyone who takes umbridge at something another person says or does, has a gun readily available.
However there is no way all guns will be handed in in USA.

Automatic/semi-automatic guns have no place outside army use. They should never be sold in a civilised society. They must be banned straight away. Why does anyone need an automatic weapon?

More thorough checks need to be made re a person's medical suitability, although that will not cover acute mental illness.

There also needs to be a serious clamp down on far right groups in USA who encourage not just the ownership of guns but also the ownership of multiple automatic weapons. You have only 2 hands, why does one person need more than one gun? Hunters/gamekeepers in the countryside may be an exception but not those in towns/cities.

But none of this will happen with Trump. The Republicans are funded by the gun lobby.

I just don't understand how Americans can't make the equation: guns = death; everyone having access to guns = strong possibility of the misuse of weapons by people who are ill or determined to carry out revenge for some slight.

So therefore if you want to stop people killing, guns need to be very tightly controlled.

The First Amendment was written in a different age when settlers had to defend themselves from attack. That is no longer the state of USA, so therefore that First Amendment needs amending and bringing up to date to cover what society is like today.

To me it's not a case of teaching ethics but just common sense: a=b and b=a.

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wild haggis

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HCH
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I believe you are referring to the Second Amendment, not the First.

A claim I have encountered (perhaps on the Ship, though I do not remember precisely) is that when amendments were being proposed for the Bill of Rights, southern states insisted on the Second Amendment with its language about militias as they wanted to be able to send out armed posses to apprehend runaway slaves. If that is so, then our current problems with gun rights are yet another part of the country's dark heritage of slavery.

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LutheranChik
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That’s interesting, since a popular trope among NRA types is that gun control laws in the US were originally used to prevent African Americans from owning guns, so that gun control proponents are actually closet racists. Considering the source, and the number of African American NRA members, I highly doubt that. Can anyone enlighten me?

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
I just don't understand how Americans can't make the equation: guns = death; everyone having access to guns = strong possibility of the misuse of weapons by people who are ill or determined to carry out revenge for some slight.

So therefore if you want to stop people killing, guns need to be very tightly controlled.

Many of us make this equation very easily, and totally get it. Translating that into sufficient political will to make something happen is the challenge.

quote:
The First Amendment was written in a different age when settlers had to defend themselves from attack. That is no longer the state of USA, so therefore that First Amendment needs amending and bringing up to date to cover what society is like today.
As noted, you mean the Second Amendment. While I don’t disagree at all with your assessment, the problem is that it’s much easier to say the Constitution needs amending than it is to actually amend it. The process was made difficult on purpose; it’s only happened 17 times in 228 years. Often it’s a good thing that it’s difficult to amend. Sometimes, like in this instance, it’s not altogether good thing. Regardless, it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. The better chance is for the court’s to rethink Second Amendment jurisprudence.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by LutheranChik:
That’s interesting, since a popular trope among NRA types is that gun control laws in the US were originally used to prevent African Americans from owning guns, so that gun control proponents are actually closet racists. Considering the source, and the number of African American NRA members, I highly doubt that. Can anyone enlighten me?

There's some truth to this. California's relatively tight gun control law was passed in the 1960s (and signed into law by a chap named Ronald Reagan. Whatever happened to that guy?) as a reaction to the Black Panther Party (BPP). The BPP would do things like what is now called "open carry", particularly when following around the Oakland police watching for police brutality, or showing up with a lot of guns at a demonstration at the state Capitol building in Sacramento. For some reason the only time Americans seem to be willing to actually enact gun control laws (as opposed to advocating gun control laws which somehow never pass) is when a bunch of black people start openly massing in large groups with guns.

Still, it seems highly dishonest to equate the kind of panicked reactions white Americans had to Huey Newton in the late sixties with people who object to schoolchildren being murdered today.

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not entirely me
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In the U.K. as part of the main formal qualifications students sit religious education as compulsory, usually as a half-gcse (science and English tend to be worth two and maths one). From my experience over 15 years ago we touched on abortion, euthanasia and drug laws but in a rather cursory manner. I wondered if the compulsory element of this actually reduced emphasis on it. For most young people it’s half a gcse in years 10 & 11, therefore about 1/20th of their programme for the final two years of compulsory high school, if that. Faith schools (e.g. Catholic) tend to have it as a full gcse and therefore about 1/10 of the curriculum. I wondered if because we can “tick the box” so to speak to say we have discussed religion if it means we actually undermine questioning as part of learning. It’s the “tick box” element that irks me.

Should we increase the importance of ethics and philosophy in our curriculum to encourage young people with thinking through their decisions as they enter adult life?

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not entirely me
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I suppose elements such as gun control laws do impact with outcomes but not on a day to day basis.
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Moo

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I had almost all my schooling in the 1940s. In elementary school (ages 6-11) the teachers considered it part of their job to teach ethics, with an emphasis on how we treated each other, although other matters, such as not stealing, were also covered. I think this kind of specific teaching is far more valuable than abstract discussion.

Moo

[ 16. February 2018, 21:42: Message edited by: Moo ]

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Ricardus
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quote:
Originally posted by not entirely me:
From my experience over 15 years ago we touched on abortion, euthanasia and drug laws but in a rather cursory manner.

That was my experience as well - and our discussions focused on outcomes rather than process (so to speak). So we were taught about the different perspectives people have on (say) euthanasia or capital punishment, but much less about the underlying ethical school of thought - utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics etc - that might inform those perspectives. Which I think leads to a lot of angry people talking past each other.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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not entirely me
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Exactly Ricardus - we weren’t taught to think things through and reason and to try and get to grips with “the right thing to do.” We were taught some religious traditions and viewpoints but there was no real consideration given to us thinking for ourselves.

I wonder if teaching the process of philosophy and ethical decision-making would reduce crime. Or would it just change the words people use to justify their actions?

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Ricardus
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To be fair in our case the problem wasn't the teacher but the school - the school regarded RE as a 'fluffy subject' (actual words) and gave the teacher the absolute minimum of time and resources.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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Gramps49
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Since the 1960's teachers in the US have been banned from reading Scriptures or saying classroom prayers. However, schools can still teach Bible as literature, they can also teach comparative religions. They can have separate ethics courses.

Students themselves can organize prayer groups or Bible Clubs. They can even pass religious literature among themselves. A number of religious organizations have developed peer ministries in which they train students to seek out those that don't seem to have friends to befriend them. Some of these have been quite successful.

One thing I have been wondering about is was the school too large for its own good? There was something like 4,000 students on campus. It is quite easy to students to be lost in the crowd. Maybe if the school could be divided into smaller schools of no more than 1,000 students if there could have been more attention given to such students.

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wabale
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quote:
Originally posted by not entirely me:


... I think philosophy and ethics are a keystone of education and to trace back to Ancient Greece etc. they were considered to be so then. How come Christianity seemed to make them a tag on? And how should our society proceed forward?

I would agree it is a ‘tag on’. An illustration would be the school I heard of where the OFSTED inspectors were happy to tick the box for ‘awe and wonder’ for every subject taught in the school - except R.E.! And I did once have to invoke my right not to teach R.E. to 13 year-olds, when it emerged that the particular syllabus we were given might be best described as ‘Religious Festivals’ ( and not much else).
My own standpoint was that it would be far better to have some sort of thinking/logic course.

I think the ‘tag on’ relationship of Christianity to the subject of ethics has deep historical roots, much earlier than the time of the Enlightenment for example. In the 3rd Century Tertullian asked ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’ - and his answer was ‘nothing’, and it took a thousand years after him for Christian thought and Ancient Greek philosophy to be brought together, chiefly by Thomas Aquinas. In the meantime the Church in Western Europe had found its own (arguably idiosyncratic) pathways through the moral maze.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
I did once have to invoke my right not to teach R.E. to 13 year-olds, when it emerged that the particular syllabus we were given might be best described as ‘Religious Festivals’ ( and not much else).

For at least the last decade, festivals have moved down to Key Stage 2 (7-10 year-olds) RE. Philosophy Ethics is now the staple at secondary level, though the government is trying to get more study of religious texts at GCSE.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by wabale:
In the 3rd Century Tertullian asked ‘What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?’ - and his answer was ‘nothing’, and it took a thousand years after him for Christian thought and Ancient Greek philosophy to be brought together, chiefly by Thomas Aquinas.

Augustine brought Christian philosophy together with Neo-Platonism in the Latin church by the fifth century; the Greek fathers had already done so in the eastern church. Aquinas's contribution was specifically to bring in Aristotle.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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not entirely me
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quote:
For at least the last decade, festivals have moved down to Key Stage 2 (7-10 year-olds) RE. Philosophy Ethics is now the staple at secondary level, though the government is trying to get more study of religious texts at GCSE.
Well, that is somewhat promising as long as they can make it engaging and important rather than just the tick-box. It wasn’t until I did Theology for A-level that any concept of thinking for yourself was even entertained. (& my high school wasn’t standard comprehensive).
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leo
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Our teachers here say that they have never seen pupils so engaged as when we made the change way from things like festivals.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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