Friday, April 21, 2006

Columbine anniversary

April 20th was the anniversary of the Columbine School shootings. In Willerton, Kansas, a number of teenagers have been arrested for allegedly planning a shooting spree at their high school on the anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Why is this sort of thing happening? I think the answer is simple. The post-modern relativism that was the attitude of philosophers 150 years ago has finally worked its way into the fabric of everyday life so that our schools no longer teach or acknowledge the existence of objective moral principles. Parents are afraid to teach their children objective moral principles and are unable to argue with their children as to why the principles are genuinely objective as opposed to mere biases or authoritarian claims. The media and music industry reinforce the idea that morality is completely relative and may be ignored in conflict with strong desires or uncomfortable situations. If you continue to teach children that there is no such thing as right and wrong, and if you are incapable of explaining to them why what is right is right, and what is wrong is wrong, sooner or later they are going to take you seriously. Sooner or later they are going to think that they really can “create their own metanarritive” and that it will be as good as anybody else’s.

Everyone desires a sense of belonging, inclusion and identity. The post-modern world is quick to acknowledge and validate a variety of aberrant lifestyles. It is completely alienating to people who are commonplace. Post-modern education teaches that there is no objective right or wrong, but merely an unending set of communities. When students feel alienated from their own community and have been taught this sort of thing, it is only natural for them to decide to undertake events or lifestyles that will give them a definitive name for themselves. They make their own subculture, their own metanarritive, their own place in the world. That such a place could just as easily be a violent place hostile to others should not be surprising to students of human nature and history.

Students should be taught to be kind and loving toward others. They should be taught that it is correct to exercise the Golden Rule with respect to people with whom they disagree or who they do not like. They should be taught that all human beings are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve who are inherently equal before the law and before God because they are all the same kind of thing. They should be taught that human beings have an inherent dignity because they are created in the image of God. The basic principles of objective right and wrong should be taught to them and reinforced. Education should not only reinforce the natural law already in their consciences, but should enhance their entire consciences and make sure that they have appropriate sentiments and responses to certain situations. C.S. Lewis addressed all of this more thoroughly than I could ever do here in his book The Abolition of Man. Good education should help students to become Christians. It should help them to find their inclusiveness and membership in the kingdom of God. In this way they can feel secure and have a sense of belonging that does not require anti-social or violent acts against other groups. Naturally, such an education is incompatible with our current system of state-run schools that must remain utterly neutral as to matters of religion. It is for this reason that home schooling, private schooling and a public voucher system would have superior results to the current system in which public education cannot address the moral and religious needs of students. Nor can parents hope to compete with the combined time and force of both schools and media that are constantly giving students the relativistic message.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Dean McConnell,
I appreciate your support of homeschooling as a viable alternative to public schools. I agree with what you are saying here and would like to extend one bit by a bit.
You said "our current system of state-run schools that must remain utterly neutral as to matters of religion." I would argue that teachers in state-run schools have to do their best to remain silent on many matters outside of religion, as well.
In any case, nice post!