Monday, March 1, 2010

Andrei Aliens or the Alpha and Omega

Have you seen this striking post: Idols in the Classroom , by Scott Kennedy?

In it he describes the difficulty teaching 6 year olds the morality of not being a bully.
Last week, while on practicum for my graduate diploma in primary teaching, I taught a lesson on bullying.

The text I used was a cautionary tale called “Don’t be a bully Billy”, which tells the tale of a young bully Billy who treats his classmates nastily until he gets sucked up into a spaceship by an alien – English literature at its finest.

In the lesson I was attempting to communicate to the 5 and 6 year old children why they shouldn’t bully.

In the end the angle I adopted was that “Bullies don’t have friends.”
I checked out his "text" it is part of a series of books from the UK designed to teach secular kids morality.

And while I read Scott's post I thought of how the EU is maneuvering to remove crucifixes from Italian school rooms, icons from Greek ones and how the Bible has all but been removed from the schoolroom with some perception as to why.


Naturally the Bible, part of our heritage, has plenty of excellent material a teacher could use to impart the lessons on morality. But it cannot be used, a furore would surely result. Instead a text is used where God is replaced by another higher power, in Scott's text aliens in a spaceship.

Of course as Christians we try to put Christ for front and center in everything we do, we don't fully succeed of course, we forget and er well - fall into sin.

But Christian symbols encountered in everyday life should serve to remind us where our true allegiance lies and bring our focus back to where it belongs.

And they are being removed from public life as quickly as the elites can accomplish it.

The reason is obvious, if people no longer have God to look to for guidance in this wicked world they will have to find it someplace else and that someplace else according to the hopes and desires of the elites, will be themselves.

And they wish to use this to feather their own nests and increase own their power - tawdry shallow bunch that they are.

12 comment(s):

Psycho Milt said...

Well, it certainly sounds like an incredibly stupid and counter-productive book to be using in schools. Don't be a bully or aliens will come and take you on board their spaceship? That's just stupid and unbelievable. Not to mention: when I was a kid this would have had me furiously bullying everyone I met so the cool spaceship would turn up.

I was interested in this bit:

In teaching that lesson on bullying I could not make reference to the God of the Bible and his expectations of human behaviour.

Indeed you couldn't - for one thing, any Muslims, Hindus etc in the class, not to mention the significant proportion of agnostics/atheists, would have found it no more compelling than the one about the aliens.

However, there's nothing to prevent you making reference to the other people we share the planet with and their expectations of our behaviour, which includes not bullying them. Why did that not spring to mind?

I.M Fletcher said...

However, there's nothing to prevent you making reference to the other people we share the planet with and their expectations of our behaviour, which includes not bullying them. Why did that not spring to mind?

Probably because even atheists know that without a higher power to appeal to, any morality that we humans may have is subjective - ie, without divine authority, an atheist has no logical basis for his or her morality.

If there is no God, then no man is in a position to force his opinion of morality upon another. One man's subjective view of morality is equal to another man's equally subjective view of morality. Thus, there is no reason to believe in any morality just because another man tells you that it is good.

I.M Fletcher said...

ps, Francis Crick who helped discover DNA could see the complexity of it and I think he could see that it couldn't have come about by chance or accident which is why he espoused the idea of 'Directed panspermia' - that the seeds of life may have been directly put in our universe by aliens.

Yep, some scientists would rather believe in aliens than a God. Maybe it's a pride thing.

Andrei said...

Indeed you couldn't - for one thing, any Muslims, Hindus etc in the class, not to mention the significant proportion of agnostics/atheists, would have found it no more compelling than the one about the aliens.

Do you seriously expect me to believe that "Don’t be a bully Billy" is equivalent to the "King James Bible" in literary and linguistic merit PM?

And I wonder how many of the Kids in Scott's class are Hindus, Muslims etc, let alone Atheists, a position if you want my opinion being one you have to work at because it doesn't come naturally.

David said...

IMF,

If you keep getting all your scientific information from creationist website you're going to keep looking stupid.

Crick didn't 'espouse' the idea of directed panspermia, he presented it as a hypothesis. When we learned ribozymes and the like he more or less dropped the idea.

Psycho Milt said...

...without divine authority, an atheist has no logical basis for his or her morality.

And yet "God says so" provides a logical basis for morality? That's OK for Muslims, but I'd hope for something a little better from Christians.

Do you seriously expect me to believe that "Don’t be a bully Billy" is equivalent to the "King James Bible" in literary and linguistic merit PM?

Very few books match the King James version of the Bible in literary and linguistic merit. It's definitely not suitable for a primary-level reading age though.

And I wonder how many of the Kids in Scott's class are Hindus, Muslims etc, let alone Atheists...

Does it matter? We don't have a state religion, so none is endorsed by a public school. It's a principle I see no fault with. As to whether children are atheists, well, their parents are - and if we're to accept the concept that the children of Christians are Christian children, why would we not accept the concept that the children of atheists are atheist children. Like the children of Christians, they'll make their own decisions once they've grown up.

I.M Fletcher said...

And yet "God says so" provides a logical basis for morality?

Well, actually yes!
If you want to put it that simply.

If not that, then what do you base your personal morality on? And if your personal morality differs from someone else's, then why should yours be more valid than his if they are both only opinions?

Andrei said...

D'ya object to Tane or Maui being invoked in the classroom Milt?

And how would a morality based on Richard Dawkins' works work out in practice?

Psycho Milt said...

And if your personal morality differs from someone else's, then why should yours be more valid than his if they are both only opinions?

Why should yours be more valid than his because you invoke an invisible authority? Especially if he invokes an alternative and equally invisible authority? (Allah, for instance.)

D'ya object to Tane or Maui being invoked in the classroom Milt?

I have absolutely no objection to characters from mythology being treated as such in the classroom. However, I doubt you're any keener than I am to see the Bible get that treatment.

And how would a morality based on Richard Dawkins' works work out in practice?

I don't believe Dawkins wrote any of his books with the view that they might codify some form of morality. What seems to be at issue here is the extent to which human morality is religiously inspired. I don't see any reason to assume that it is, given that the idea that religions co-opt existing human moral concepts is equally plausible. As with the origin of life, we don't actually have a definitive answer.

I.M Fletcher said...

given that the idea that religions co-opt existing human moral concepts

Well, I'm glad you said 'concepts'. That means you agree that, as far as secularism, nothing is set in stone as far as morals go. It's just opinions of groups of people - the biggest group of people with the same opinion gets to enforce it over the others.

As someone on another blog says -

In other words, morality is reduced to opinion. When we legislate any morality, we are actually forcing other people to live by our opinions. Majority rule is an ad populum fallacy; so is rule by force, because might does not make right. When we throw a person in jail because he has robbed a house, he is being imprisoned because of another man's opinion that stealing is wrong. Once again, the opinion in question concerns a subjective reality and is, therefore, purely subjective and a matter of preference. Our entire justice system becomes illusory. In order for our justice system to have credibility, it has to be based on an authority that exceeds the mere opinion of men. But with a God who establishes morality as an objective reality, we are no longer dealing with the opinions of man's preference, but the opinions of men concerning God's preference.

Psycho Milt said...

Unfortunately, all you do with that is add a second layer of opinion - as well as opinions on God's preference, you get opinions on which god to refer to. At least secularists are restricting the argument to one layer of opinion.

ZenTiger said...

True, but I'm not sure pretending an onion has only one layer is "better".

Our reality is very much shaped by our perception. Strip that back enough, layer by layer and we may yet find the truth.

Post a Comment

Please be respectful. Foul language and personal attacks may get your comment deleted without warning. Contact us if your comment doesn't appear - the spam filter may have grabbed it.