Thursday, July 3, 2008

Conscience or instinct?

The argument gets used that because very young people engage in sexual activity the best thing to do is teach them about SAFE sex, rather than abstinence. It goes "you won't stop them doing it so help them avoid the risks." There could be flaws in this approach.
Firstly, society doesn't use the argument "because it happens, get used to it" about domestic violence or sexual assault. We keep trying to stop it from happening.
Secondly, it is a value judgement whether or not it's good that some children get involved in sex. Everyone is entitled to their own value judgement along with the rest of their opinions, but intellectual honesty requires you to admit that it IS a value judgement, not an absolute like the law of gravity. One arguement is that sexual experimentation perfectly natural; but then, so is aggressive behaviour, and we try to teach people to control that.
So there is a flaw in the arguement, sometimes rather smugly put, that to be realistic and sensible we have to teach children to use condoms, or whatever else. There is a valid place for telling people that abstinence may be best in certain situations. Peoples' moral views and beliefs are their own business; but it's ironic that libertarians object to Christians trying to impose their views on others while libertarians themselves insist they know what is best for every one else - and try to get everyone else doing things their way.
If people are encouraged to do just what they want, and to indulge any desire they have, then we see problems like fighting and violence because some insist on getting their own way and don't like being prevented. We get obesity and other diet problems because eating too much or eating junk food can be tempting. (I plead guilty!) "Experimenting" with certain substances can lead to some shocking disasters.
It can be really sad when what is meant to help people in fact hurts them. Did you ever hear someone say they wish they hadn't done something, but everyone else was so they did it too?
There can be a problem with saying that because a person wants to do something, that alone is reason to do it.
What is it that should guide life? Animal instincts or human conscience?


Marshall Art said...

Gosh. So far apart, but so much on the same page!

This "They're gonna do it anyway" attitude is nothing more than abdication of parental responsibility. Children respond to high expectations. In fact they seem to thrive under high expectations. We see it in the higher testing scores of certain charter schools where teachers don't take "I can't" as a response.

It is no different with sexuality. There was a time not so long ago, about 50-60 yrs only, when girls who were promiscuous were considered "bad girls" and not the type to bring home to meet the folks. Boys who pressured girls for sex were also castigated in a manner a bit more forcefully than today (fathers with shotguns). If we demand better from our kids, we will receive better and they'll not be ungrateful, especially later in life. We owe it to them, especially in a culture fouled with liberal notions of sexuality and, what Laura Ingraham calls, "the pornafication of our culture".

Libs like to lament about the plight of kids when whining about conservative initiatives. They could show they're serious by cutting the crap about "They're gonna do it anyway".

Mark said...

Liberals propogate a victim mentality. It is so much easier to claim to be a victim than it is to accept personal responsibility.

Blame it somebody else. It is so much easier than blaming your self. It's also much easier to give our children up to "the other side", than it is to make the extra effort to teach them right from wrong.

The problem is, no one wants to take responsibility for themselves anymore. It's easier to hold others responsible for what you should have prevented in the first place.

Culpster said...

Nice post. This is the problem the materialist has hard time reconciling. If God does not exist then no universal values exist. Except, of course, murder, rape, lying, stealing, and not paying taxes. Somebody is definitely enforcing these values, and who are they to make such judgment calls? Who are they to put their values on everyone? This is the big tangle of contradictions that rejecting a Moral Law leads to.

trisha said...

This "animal instincts" argument is ridiculous. Human beings have a conscience, placed in us by God, that tells us what is good and bad, right and wrong, if we will take the time to listen to it. Society uses the instinctual angle to justify doing an awful lot of things we've known for years and years weren't good for us; things that put us at risk for disease or even death; things that threaten to destroy our humanity and turn us into the animals whose instinct we claim to possess.

The God in us will lead us to be morally responsible if we yield to Him instead of insisting on self-gratification. The troubles come when we decide we know better than He does and we get in the driver's seat when we're hardly of a size to reach the pedals.

Pride is a bad thing and it is becoming more and more common these days. You see such a loss of manners, of humanity, because it's becoming a me-first societal attitude. The price we pay will be a painful one.

jel said...

I agree with Trisha's comment!

Democracy Lover said...
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makemeaspark --<~ said...

Nice post Andrew. If I may interject here I note that Marshall said that "there was a time not so long ago, about 50-60 yrs only, when girls who were promiscuous were considered "bad girls" and not the type to bring home to meet the folks."

Interestingly, about that same time period ago, it was unacceptable in ANY Christian denomination to use artificial contraception. What changed that? What made God no longer trusted with our procreation? Why did so many Christians accept this, when it was previously unacceptable in all of Christianity? Was this a compromise?

Was it becuase the widespread use of formula was making women fertile sooner than was healthy? It seems like we have tampered with the systems that God set in place to keep us, healthy and responsible.

I would argue that the knowledge that you could "use" your spouse for pleasure only, with no "consequences", has fostered an unhealthy attitude in even Christian marriages, that is picked up by our society at large.

Not trying to offend anyone here but I like to ask the BIG questions, even of myself.