How to lose a country and a world…
The students could not go from their vague discomfort to a rational ethical conclusion because they have never learned traditional philosophy of ethics. Therefore, their objections have no force and, for all that they sense injustice, they will likely do very little good in the world. And the “accept everyone, accept everything” assemblies they attend unwittingly feed the problem: They learn to accept gay rights in North America and stoning gays in Afghanistan.
For centuries, the Church (Protestant and Catholic) was the center of moral thought. She defined goodness, ethics, morality and truth and, as dubious as some of the definitions may have been, they were societally accepted – though they were founded on very little in the way of rational thought and mostly based on the writings of ancient teachers.
And, the years passed and the faith slowly changed. More and more the basic concepts of grace and freedom became a tired footnote to a reconstituted law we used to control people. The strident hostility she formerly displayed towards the Gnostic ideas that regarded the body as bad and the spirit as good was replaced by a bland acceptance of such. The ancient and even enlightenment ideals of God calling humanity to heal and change the world for good slowly became replaced with a cosmic vending machine of the Divine which is purchased by an ever-changing subset of moral requirements.
And, society responded. The more educated did what the Church had long since ceased to do – read the Bible – and rejected us because the strange Judaism, Gnosticism and New Age Movement-based beliefs we were now following in no way resembled the teachings of Scripture. The less educated simply looked at us in the hard cold light of reality and judged us to be idiotic. And, they were both right.
And, with us went our morality.
But, the Church had no fear. Our laws safely projected our moral system and societal acceptance of virtue – thus, the acceptance of our morality was not really that necessary. So, we continued with our passivity, pulled back into our stained glass hidey-hole, repeated the writings of long-dead thinkers and acted like everything was fine while we continued to do nothing to alter our refusal to actually think about what we believe.
But, little by little, something was changing. While our laws still promoted most virtues, the society quietly forgot truth could even exist – and the law started to seem silly. And, a Church promoting anyone’s law – especially long-dead people’s laws – began to seem absurdist, and MOST WORTHY of strident censure themselves.
So, then we finally get here: We arrive at a place where a class full of high school students no longer can look at a culture where women are property, can be executed at will, have their noses hacked off and maybe abused by their husbands or families as a matter of course and conclude that this is not a good thing to be happening.
Why? Because way back when we decided it was a good idea to stop thinking. We decided we would base our teachings on dead guy’s thinkings instead of founding them on anthropology (The study of what it means to be human) and we decided our stained glass hideouts would attract people in all by themselves.
And, ultimately, we decided to quit engaging culture and thought.
The the ironic reality is that when we quit engaging and thinking, even secular thinkers are waking up and realizing that thinking basically seems to have ceased – right along with the ability to stand up for much other than not standing up for much of anything other than seals and trees – especially that which may suggest that some things simply do not fit well with our Anthropology.
And, starkly and significantly absent from an article that so clearly grasps the problem, is even the remotest grasp of anything but a plan to go back to teaching a set of rules that these students should then accept and make moral judgments on the basis of.
And, we’re still waiting for the Church to stand up…