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Re: the pledge issue...a rant

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From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jul 26 2002 - 07:00:09 PDT


>If people would pay more mind to the spirit of what is written in
>religious works and worry less about whose beliefs are "right", our
>world would be a lot more peaceful. Madafo

I'm going to share a few thoughts aside from the issue, which in a round
about way I think "is" the issue at hand. Madafo, I am using your quote
only as it stirred some thoughts, but is not directly for the purpose of
aiming my thoughts toward you.

When anyone uses the word "if"...and pro-offer opinions, they are speaking
about an "ought" or what "ought" to be. Oughts, are constructs of
ethics...and ethics really ask or begs the question, "what makes a right
right, and a wrong wrong?"

In short, it engages and behooves the recognition of "worldview" thinking.
As I read along on the responses to this issue, I am witnessing (as we all
are) a body of text that indicates enculturation. The problem is, I think
we need to be often reminded that "oughts" are not wholly self-originated
but are born in worldview thinking or stances, and that we humans are
challenged to think and grow by means of enculturation or exposure to ideas.
I do not think that most people think or are in a state of constant
awareness of ideas being rooted in worldviews.

I don't mean to "preach to the choir" as though I am above anyone here, so I
beg your grace as I continue to rant...
Some examples of major worldviews are- secular humanism, cosmic humanism,
Leninism/Marxism, and even the Biblical worldview.

We often hear a scientist or intellectual referring to a scientific premise
and believe it is the copyrighted domain of perhaps humanism...perhaps
secular humanism, however, in reality that which is to be explored by
science is only raw material, science itself a process or a tool...but the
findings and interpretations relating more to one's particular worldview.

To be a worldview construct, there must be a stance on specified areas which
then identify that worldview. Such areas pertaining consistently to all
worldviews are: politics, religion, science, history, philosophy,
sociology, psychology, biology, etc;

Each worldview pools its sense of ethics, or "right" and "wrong" based upon
its collective stances on these "ologies" and "isms"...and tends to be
relative or absolute in its final determinations.

Some worldviews will call upon cultural relativism, or the majority
rules...to give weight to its ethical ideologies, however...relativism shows
its folly quite quickly when we see the injustices to minorities. For such
reasons, we need laws...because the assumption that the human heart is
basically good and that therefore we can trust what the majority of human
hearts deem good and necessary has again and again in history proven to be
quite evil. The heart of the problem really tends to be the problem with
the heart!

We might today for example, criticize those generations that suppressed the
rights and equality of African Americans and applaud the cause and courage
of Rev Martin Luther King Jr., which in this modern day in age (if we will
admit it) is a noble and good thing to do; meaning it is easier today among
your contemporaries to applaud such. However, if you claim that cultural
relativism is what defines that which would make a "right right and a wrong
wrong" then Rev King actually went against the status quo of his day, and
thus in essence was an enemy of cultural relativism. To be consistently a
cultural relativist then, one would have to empathize with the relativists
of that generation, and would have little grounds to judge their ethics.

I, like many...believe Rev King was a champion of this movement, and just
cause. In analysis, I could possibly be enculturated to cultural
relativistically today believe such ....though I do not believe relativism
is the ideal worldview system to determine ultimately what defines to make a
right right and a wrong wrong.

There can be those that have a religious system they purport to ascribe to,
but religion can play such a little actual role in their life (which may fit
in with their culturally relativistic bent), that they do not realize when
it comes right down to it their sense and enculturation of what makes a
right right and a wrong wrong is of another worldview. It may be of their
particular worldview that religion ought to play a more subordinate and
minor role in their lives in lieu of other greater needs that might then
lead to global harmony or world peace!

Remember "religion" is one of the components of that which will make up all
worldviews. That is, their worldview has a stance or a nature of thinking
about "religion." What is important is what really determines the ideas
that will be held to to define what will make a right right and a wrong
wrong.

IMHO...many evil persons wreaked attrocities upon minorities in the name of
religion. It would be unfair to unknowingly ascribe that all claimants to
"Christianity" who have been guilty of such crimes against humanity actually
held to a "Biblical worldview." They might have been "religious"...but they
can be religious and hold to other worldview thinking and action.

At one time...it was "culturally relavant" to uphold the Pledge of
Allegiance as is; today, particular worldview relativistic thinking is
shifting to question and even challenge it. It is important for all
worldview adherents to really consider the issue. Perhaps even those that
believe they are absolutists in their worldview thinking/ethics might
realize that in light of a right right and a wrong wrong....perhaps an error
had been made in judgment at one point in time such that in our
pluralistic/diverse multi religious system and nation today it would not be
the most "loving" thing to do to force others to recite a pledge that is
inclusive of "God." I was moved by the thoughts shared from Sharon in
NJ....

I know of no passages of scripture that would support a teaching that would
suggest that God would desire people come to Him by coercion or force. Just
knowing the nature of the heart set in rebellion against Him, that would
even logically be a poor tactic or strategy, would it not?

Well...at any rate, instead of my supplying my own opinion and subsequent
idea of an answer here...I just wanted to awaken awareness that might remind
us that our nature is to offer opinions, and we do so so easily and
frequently, don't we? Yet, I think maturity, intelligence, and
responsibility calls us to reflect on the origins of these "oughts" we
propose....these many opinions. Perhaps if we realized more that "oughts"
are constructs of worldview thinking, our anger would channel less toward an
individual to at the very least empathy for that individual being
enculturated different that "we."

Worldview as a habit hesitates when it hears or reads, "we should"..."we
ought".. "if only"...."they can't..." "I think that..."

Worldview thinking hears an idea, then hesititates and considers the origin.
It calls upon humility to not have a quick reply lest you yourself simply
mimic the proper ethical response to simply another countering worldview.
Instead...you contemplate really on what ultimately will make the "right
right and a wrong wrong" and perhaps will see a depth or wisdom that does
not come with quick or shallow response. By "shallow" I am not speaking of
character or intelligence...but simply throwing out the first thing that
comes to mind.

As a side note...I'm not suggesting folks here are not thinking. If I
thought that, I wouldn't even bother to write...

Its just that in lieu of so many responses on this issue, it might be time
for everyone to reconsider why we believe the way we do, and why what comes
out of our mouth reflects a particular thought. We need to reflect that a
thought we have may be more in line with a worldview; as such, ...it
becomes our task to search dilligently if one worldview is better in
answering ultimate questions as concerns ethics. Whether we realize it or
not, every opinion we offer as that which "ought to be" is an ethical
worldview response.

thanks for your patience on my rant/book....
peace,

Larry

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