The article linked to below attacks the idea of teaching ethics in NSW Public Schools “at the expense of scripture”. As a parent who is also an atheist, I quite like the idea of ethics classes that have nothing to do with religion. This is one thing that really burns me about some Christians. The huge assumption that values are an exclusively Christian thing that can’t be separated from Christianity. I’m sorry buddy, but I’m not buying that. I have been told before, by a well meaning person not meaning to cause offence, that they just assumed I was Christian because I seemed like a nice, moral person. Yeah, thanks for that. Just because I’m Godless doesn’t mean I’m valueless – in both senses of the word.
Empathy, an understanding of social mores, and many other values that some Christians like to claim as their sole property aren’t even exclusively human characteristics. Witness elephants mourning the death of a family member, young lion cubs learning their place in the hierarchy and who eats first. Young children learn quickly from each other that doing unto others will result very quickly in them doing unto you. Values were something that were hammered out when we were still primates, long before our ancestors became what we now recognise as early humans. It was a survival tactic and vital to social cohesiveness. Just because one religion out of many put it into words that allegedly came from their
Sky Fairy deity of choice doesn’t make it their sole intellectual property.
So ethics classes in schools aren’t taking the Christianity out of ethics, they are just telling it like it is. You should be a good person because you can, not because
the Sky Fairy your deity of choice tells you to. There is no heavenly reward, the reward is on Earth in this life where people think well of you, you do the best you can and sleep with a clear concience. I don’t need religion to help me to do this, I can do it just fine and I learned in the playground to do unto others, not in Sunday school.
SotBO: If this isn’t about you, then it’s not about you. I know plenty of Christians who don’t think they are the only ones with values. If you are one of them – thank you.