Is the such a thing as moral knowledge?

Dallas Willard writes in ‘The Divine Conspiracy’, “There is now not a single moral conclusion about behavior or character traits that a teacher could base a student’s grade upon.” (p.3)  Willard is making the case that moral knowledge has disappeared from the educational system.  Is he right?  Can we not teach our children that hatred is morally wrong?  What about discrimination?  If a student in answering an essay said that discrimination against others on the basis of their nationality was acceptable, would a teacher be able to mark that comment as wrong?  Surely math, science and for the most part history have facts that are acceptable.  Is that not the case for moral knowledge?  Could a teacher ask the question , ‘Is racism wrong?’ and have a student answer, ‘No.’ And would that have to be an acceptable answer in the education of our children.  I’m not sure.  Maybe there are those of you out there who could answer that for me with some evidences.
I am suspecting that without God and a moral universe we ‘organisms’ are at a loss in regard to moral knowledge and virtue.  I know Congress makes laws, states make laws but where are the citizens getting their information for some moral foundation upon which to make those laws?
Can students today learn the meaning of love, respect for life, forgiveness?  How about reconciliation?  There’s one that the politicians sure could use. Is setting a cat on fire ‘morally wrong’?
Can we not tell our students that killing someone is wrong? Sure maybe we would have to address the issues of abortion, war, capital punishment and euthanasia and somewhere along there we need a master teacher to point the way. Otherwise we just all do what we feel like doing and vote the same way.
Let’s put it this way, fact: 2+2= 4. But are there ‘moral facts’?
Well, there you have it. For the moment. I look forward to your thinking on these matters.

One thought on “Is the such a thing as moral knowledge?

  1. Are there moral facts? Let me take a stab at this. For the sake of argument, lets define morality as behavior that is generally accepted as decent and proper according to established standards and norms of society. Of course, therein lies the problem. As long as society is establishing the standards, a “moral fact” will always be subject to debate. And when that happens, “fact” suddenly becomes subjective opinion and we are thus left to our individual codes of conduct to determine rightness and wrongness. To avoid this dilemma, a truthful moral foundation must be established from which all our actions ought to be derived and judged (dare I use the term) as being moral or otherwise. Does one exist? In my humble opinion, I say yes there does, and it is made up of these truths: 1. Yahweh is our God and we shall have no other gods before Him. 2. We shall not make any graven images in His place. 3. We shall not use His name lightly…..or in vain if you will. 4. Remember Shabbat, the Sabbath (Saturday), the 7th day, and set it aside for Yahweh. 5. Honor your father and mother. 6. Do not commit murder. 7. Do not commit adultery. 8. Do not steal. 9. Do not give false evidence against your neighbor. 10. Do not desire what is not yours. Of course, no one has ever been able to fully keep these truths outside of one Individual. Therefore, the debate as to whether “moral facts” exist and thus taught in schools, universities or elsewhere will continue until the Author of those truths reigns supremely over all. And I submit that time will come.

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