Books & Blogs from Adrian Hawkes Blog
8. Morality and Values What do we put into our Brains?We talked last time about the fact that it is our thinking that changes us, or should I say can change us. If we are to change, then what we think about is the key to that change. We have…
7. Morality and Values Thinking Controls everything.Well first of all: Any answers to my question of last time? My question was: What is it that is used to change us and develop our consciences? Is it God? Or is it us? Lots of answers …
6. Morals and Values Laughing at BadI was leading a community of Jesus followers in the North of England, when I noticed that there was a particular parent who every time their child did something bad, they laughed at the child and noted how…
5. Morals and Values – Do Followers of Jesus do Good?We are still talking about Morals and Values, and who is the law giver – but also; do Christians do good?It brings us back to the question, “Who is the law giver?” If there is no ultimate …
4 Morals and Values – Good and EvilWhile looking up something recently on Wikipedia, I discovered lots of comments about myself in discussion with Richard Dawkins. Many of the comments following on from the discussion are stateme…
Morals and Values 3. Morals and Conscience Do we have them? This is the third time I have talked about this subject from which you will gather that I think it’s important, especially in the light of some the recent events in the UK, such as …
Morality and Values2. Where does Morality come from?I ended last time by talking about the Atheist Richard Dawkins and what he said to me. Let me continue with that.Richard Dawkins often says, that being an atheist is not indicative of one with a…
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.
How to Create Gender Equality
I think this desperate need within society is not easy at all to bring into being – to put it mildly. However, as it’s been in the news again just lately, I would like to have a go at how I believe it can be done. We have particularly noted the wages problem in the BBC. And, make no mistake, we are told it’s much worse throughout the rest of the country. If one happens to have been born female, then those persons will receive around 17% less than their male counterpart, even though they may be doing exactly the same job in the same office.
Why is it not so easy to change this and bring in a satisfactory sense of equality? Because we have to change a deep set culture, or even lots of different sub-cultures, and much of the thinking that has formed that culture goes back a long way, ingraining itself into people’s thinking over many generations?
What is that ingrained thinking? At a basic level it really is a fact that Males are in charge. Because they are more intelligent? Stronger? Could it be that they are better? Females are, of course, lesser because they are not so clever or as strong, and therefore men need to be in charge. (That is a comment of sarcasm – please don’t write in to complain.)
What we tend to do is address symptoms of this disease. This means that we are wanting to increase women’s wages and make it, “equal jobs for equal pay” right across the board. The trouble is that such an action, once taken, still will not have addressed the thinking, just the symptoms that came into being because of that thinking.
Legislation would change things, though that would be somewhat of a blunt instrument. We know that laws can change wrong to right (and sometimes even change right to wrong), so we must not underestimate the power of a passed law by government.
However, I do think we need to address the issue of equality at its base. The foundational base is how people think. The way that people think has been formed by their family, the government, the educational system, the community that they mix with, the business pressures that they have been exposed to, the history that brought the issue into being, and even the language.
So it’s about changing people’s thinking. Changing the thinking that says men are superior, woman are inferior. That means influencing, educating, legislating and seeking to change the cultural mind-set that makes the acceptance of the statement above acceptable.
I listened recently to young lads, of non UK origin being interviewed on TV about what they thought about the so called “honour killings”. Their answers were horrific. They said things like, “If my sister had dishonoured my family, then, yes, I think she should be killed”. The whole idea that women are lesser, builds the strong presupposition that their freedoms of expression, their friends, their choice of dress, and all of their relationships must of necessity be controlled by men.
Sumptuary legislation, where ever it comes from, is always about power and domination. I hear comments like, “… but that woman chose to dress like this!” My question is one step further back. “Who pressurises them to choose, or to exercise their supposed freedom in that way?” The probable answer is their religion, the law, their culture, and all those facets of life that are their personally accepted conventions. Then we need to ask, “Why is it so?” The answer will be, “Because men dictate it”. (http://adrianhawkes.co.uk/sumptuary-legislation-2/)
We can achieve equality, but we need to deal with the symptoms, i.e. equal pay and opportunities and the like, but we also need to address the underlying cultural perception. We will need to do that by education, legislation and a strong argument against our historical position. In other words; a full scale attack on the current cultural position and underlying thinking.