Morality and Values 1 – ETHOS
This subject of “Morality and Values,” I observe presents such problems.
I was part of a government think tank in looking at OFSTED inspections of schools. One of the things they looked at is the moral dimension of the ethos of the state schools. My problem was – and is: How does one get hold of and understand morals and morality? In this small group, on the discussion of “Moral teaching in Schools”, were Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Evangelical Christians, and Humanists.
All of us - apart from the humanist - agreed that morals has to come from some kind of law giver. And actually, in all of our thinking, we concluded that the law giver must be God – that is, apart from the humanist - who said “There isn’t a God! So morals must come from somewhere else”.
I went on to argue that in terms of generosity, in such things as tsunamis, famines, natural and man made disasters and the like, the UK Is actually quite generous in its giving. I put this down to the Judeo Christian influence in the historical background of the nation. The humanist said, “Now don’t be silly! It is due to the fact that we were once great colonists”. Hmm! I thought that was all about greed, trade, and getting lots of power and things for ourselves?
Anyway! Having been one of those interviewed by Richard Dawkins for his, “Religion is the root of all evil” programmes, I find the stuff all over the internet, usually with many of “the learned” atheists - so called - poking fun at my opinions. Funnily enough, I have read Richard’s book, “The God delusion”. One of the things that struck me from the volume is how often the base of “who we are” and “where we are”, comes down to “luck” and simple good fortune - at least according to Mr Dawkins’ book.
God seems a better thesis to me.
And of course, both in the programme and on the net, as well as – defiantly - in Wikipedia, comes the discussion of morality. I am sort of “amused” that in at least one article or comment, the fact that we live in a moral universe - and one “without God” according to the “atheists” - is actually argued from the fact that some fish have a symbiotic relationship with cleaner fish and actually protect them. This, so they claim, is the logical grounds as to why we don’t go around on our streets killing each other.
The fish story is used to suggest that violence and killing is – sort of - wiser not too.
One of the things that Richard Dawkins said to me in the interview for his programme, (which I have not seen on the TV repeats or YouTube, so I guess it’s on the cutting room floor), was; “I am more righteous than you”. I, of course, said “Oh! And how is that?” To which he replied, “I don’t go around pillaging and raping, and I don’t need a God to stop me. You, Adrian, need God to stop you.”
To which I answered “Bully for you! You maybe ought to watch the international news every day!”
One Swallow does not a summer make.