Morality Essential to Education

C. S. Lewis saw it coming.

The brilliant writer, author of Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia, delivered a series of lectures 70 years ago that were later compiled in a short book called The Abolition of Man: How Education Develops Man's Sense of Morality.

In it he predicted the disastrous consequences of entering into a world where children are educated without reference to any transcendent, objective code of morality and ethics.

We see some of those consequences in today's headlines -- rampant cheating among the best and brightest at an Ivy League college; horrific bullying by mere children; political leaders seeking to re-gain public trust while repeatedly violating what would once have been considered basic standards of decency.

These are just some of the consequences of replacing the teaching of simple standards of right and wrong with subjectivity, political correctness and moral relativism, a process that began in America two generations ago. This lack of teaching on virtue and character is now reinforced by our popular culture.

Yet as a people we are conflicted, unsettled -- somehow, as our culture devolves into degeneracy, we are beginning to recognize a problem. We are confused and unhappy with the results.

As Lewis put it, "And all the time -- such is the tragi-comedy of our situation -- we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible.... We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."

Lewis, a Christian apologist, understood that the natural law -- which gave us universally recognized virtues like justice, honesty and mercy -- was derived from the Bible.

In America, biblical morality was accepted as central to educating the whole person. That is what Noah Webster, author of our Dictionary and founder of a historic university, meant when he wrote "Education is useless without the Bible."

An understanding of natural law that flows from our Creator is our birthright as Americans. It is what our Founders meant when they appealed to "the laws of nature and nature's God" to declare our independence, and when they declared that our rights were "endowed by our Creator."

Our future as a free people depends on rediscovering these truths and restoring them to the elementary, secondary and higher education classrooms of America -- quickly.