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We don’t know right from wrong

The British Government will soon be publishing a pamphlet giving advice to parents on how to talk about sex to their offspring. Stunningly, the pamphlet includes the words:

Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own. Remember, though, that trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open.

So, parents shouldn’t try and teach their kids right and wrong. Apparently the reason for this is clear.

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, said educating older children and teenagers about sex had to be a process of negotiation. “We do not know what is right and wrong; right and wrong is relative, although your child does need clear guidelines,” she said.

It’s nice to have an official statement that right and wrong are relative and that we don’t know what they are. Perhaps this is why Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe.  Of course, saying that we should talk about sex independantly of discussing morals is a value laden statement, just as value laden as saying that it’s better to confine sexual activity to a life-long married relationship. In the guise of being open and sensitive, this is simply a way of foisting a particular set of values upon the British public at the tax-payers expense.

Read the full story here – then take a few moments to pray for the youth of Britain.

A question to ponder; how do we respond to stuff like this without sounding desperately old fashioned and out of touch? As Christians we have a far better solution to morality questions than either the government or this clinical psychologist, but how to we communicate it?

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5 replies on “We don’t know right from wrong”

That also struck me, too, Jutta. I think the child psychologist needs to re-read that sentence: it is a nonsense to say on the one hand that children need clear guidelines and yet at the same time that all guidelines are relative because we cannot know what is right and wrong! Children DO need guidelines and
should be able to rely on their parents to at least tell them what they believe to be right and wrong.

Wow. Not all that surprising, I guess, but wow.

I don’t know how to respond without sounding old fashioned. There’s probably someone out there clever enough to formulate it in a cool way, but those of us who aren’t clever will have to make do with being earnest and sounding uncool.

It’s all very well to to slate apparent inconsistencies in logic (as represented by Linda Blair’s comments), but for good or ill, truth (in this example, right & wrong) IS relative: at least as we know it. Let me explain.
Christian or not, no one bar God Himself has a monopoly on it; even less the last word. Granted, the Bible & the person of Jesus in particular REVEAL truth to us, but I challenge anyone to justify a claim that they’ve got that revelation nailed.

If such a claim about God indeed turns out to be a given for us, it certainly behooves us to approach the idea of truth with somewhat more circumspection. Christians, of all people, as observers and challengers of culture -but its indwellers too- ought to be practised at that.

As for Ms Blair’s own claim that ‘clear guidelines’ can happily co-exist with the notion that ‘right & wrong are relative’, I’d cut her some slack. What she seems to be saying is simply that stuffing our own perspective down our kids’ throats will make them clam up and hate us (not good). No argument from me on that one. We CAN and SHOULD be clear about our beliefs, hoping (in the biblical sense) that what is TRUE will take root. It’s probably also not outside the bounds of possiblity that we’re allowed to negotiate boundaries with our children. My own concern (and if I read Ms Blair correctly, hers too) is that we don’t introduce our children to legalism- whether in the area of sexual mores or anything else.

Should we be cool about it? That’s up to us and our audience. Yet, cool is in my view less of an issue than trust: get trust and cool is irrelevant. How to get trust? Respect seasoned with clear thinking.

Sorry Prof, I don’t agree with your reading of Linda Blair at all. I don’t think she is talking about stuffing our ideas down our kids throats, I think she is making a genuine statement that there is no ultimate morality.

Yes, of course we should talk sensitively with our kids and avoid legalism, no one is suggesting otherwise. But to suggest that there is no source for ultimate boundaries, which is what she does is profoundly wrong.

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