Monday, February 04, 2019

Chesterton; the teaching of morality

Monday, February 4, 2019
    Commemoration of Gilbert of Sempringham, Founder of the Gilbertine Order, 1189
    Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
    —3 John 11 (NIV)
    I am quite prepared to promise the secularists secular education if they on their side will promise not to have moral instruction. Secular education seems to me intellectually clean and comprehensible. Moral instruction seems to me unclean, intolerable; I would destroy it with fire. Teaching the Old Testament by itself means teaching ancient Hebrew ethics, which are simple, barbaric, rudimentary, and, to a Christian, unsatisfying. Teaching moral instruction means teaching modern London, Birmingham and Boston ethics, which are not barbaric and rudimentary, but are corrupt, hysterical, and crawling with worms, and which are to a Christian, not unsatisfying but detestable. The old Jew who says that you must fight only for your tribe is inadequate; but the modern prig who says you must not ever fight for anything is substantially and specifically immoral. I know quite well, of course, that the non-religious ethics suggested for modern schools do not verbally assert such things; they only talk about peaceful reform, true Christianity, and the importance of Count Tolstoy. It is all a matter of tone and implication; but then, so is all teaching. Education is implication. It is not the things you say which children respect; when you say things, they very commonly laugh and do the opposite. It is the things you assume that really sink into them. It is the things you forget even to teach that they learn.
    ... Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936), in the Illustrated London News (1907), The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, v. XXVII, Ignatius Press, 1986, p. 382-383 (see the book)
    See also 3 John 1:11; Ps. 34:14; Amos 5:15; John 13:34; Rom. 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 2 John 2:9-11
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, show the world Your goodness.
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