Understanding the effects of moral relativism on New Zealand schools

Previously, I had discussed why atheism is not able to ground the minimal requirements for rational moral behavior.

Now let’s see  an example of  the effects of not being able to make moral judgments about good and evil.

An example from the education system

I was reading over on the MandM blog, which is based in New Zealand and I found a post about the bullying problems that their 14-year-old son was having in his school. Schools are notorious breeding grounds for moral relativism – that is where young minds are brainwashed with “values clarification” programs. Students learn to make up their own values based on personal preferences.

Here is what happened to their son Christian:

Christian began attending Liston at the start of 2008 as a Year 9 student. Since that time he has been repeatedly bullied by other students. This bullying included being called names, threatened, being taunted about his medical condition (he has Aspergers Syndrome – see the attachment “medical condition”); he has been shoved, choked, hit, punched, knocked over, kicked, had his pants pulled down and has been dragged across the concrete while a student filmed him on his cell phone. During class, he has had objects thrown at him, he has been hit, punched, kicked, he has been knocked out of his desk, has had people steal his belongings, call him names and taunt him about his condition.

And this is what the teachers did:

Frequently the response of the teachers in these classes to these incidents has not been adequate, often it has been [to have] him moved instead of the bully.

To our knowledge, no student has been stood down, reported to the board of trustees or even had their parents phoned over the assaults and harassment they have committed against our son in his year and a half at Liston, including the repeat offenders.

And here’s what it means:

It seemed to us (aside from the repeat offenders) that as each bully was dealt with another one popped up to take his place. This suggested to us that a culture of bullying had developed within the school; that to the other students, bullying didn’t come with serious consequences: your parents didn’t get told, you were not at risk of being stood down and the teachers didn’t really view it as anything serious anyway when it happened in the classroom.

This is the problem with the moral relativism, which has become dominant as Christianity has retreated. It is irrational for an atheist to stand up to evil and injustice if it involves possible unpleasantness for them. The moral relativist, believes that there is no distinction between the victim and the bully – and this prevents the relativist from standing up to the bully and stopping their bullying.

You can see an example of this moral relativism going on right now with Obama and the Iranian dictators.

New Zealand’s anti-smacking law

It has been argued by family-values advocates that children need to form their conscience and moral sense by relating to their parents, especially their mother, at a very early age. Anxiety and aggression in children increases as the family is weakened or broken up by things like day care and no-fault divorce.

The disintegration of the family is aided by many progressive policies enacted by the political left. The left is wedded to moral relativism, because the left is secular. And they even desire to force moral relativism on families. What that means to parents is that the state can criminalize moral judgments with hate crime laws, restrictions on speech and even restrictions on parenting.

In New Zealand, the country is actually having a referendum about their “anti-smacking” law. The current law is that parents are prohibited from physically disciplining their children. I would think that this law would exacerbate the bullying problem in the schools. [Note: I fixed this paragraph to reflect the fact that the law is already in place, and the referendum is non-binding!]

UPDATE: I noticed a post about how Christians are allowed to make moral judgments, including judgments against bullies, also on MandM.

5 thoughts on “Understanding the effects of moral relativism on New Zealand schools”

  1. Hi Wintery Knight, thanks for your support. One slight correction we are not: having a referendum on whether to criminalize “smacking” of children.

    In fact this was made a criminal offence under the previous government when they removed a defence to assault which said a parent could use reasonable for to correct misbehaviour by a child. The referendum is in response to this. The government had to call it due to the number of people who called for it but its non-binding.

    I will read some of your other posts on relativism etc with interest.


  2. Australia has an anti-smacking law too, I believe. Quite recently, my nephew was subject to bullying too. He’s a 5 year old. Imagine, 3 of his classmates, who were 5 year old kids too, constantly bullied him and made other kids not talk to him. Apparently, he complained to my sis and her husband, who in turn spoke to the school officials. The school took immediate action, moved the 3 offending kids were moved to a more stricter class and their parents were notified. And of course, they were made to apologize. But hey, that was a Catholic school. That’s why, most parents over there prefer sending their kids to Catholic schools.


  3. Ironically, now our son is in a state school things are a lot better.

    We’ve always ranked educational options this way:
    home schooling
    private christian school
    integrated christian school
    private school
    integrated school
    state school

    Our son does not want to be home schooled and we have geographic access restrictions to our other options – there just are not that many christian schools near us or with fees that we can afford. Liston College, an integrated catholic school, was nearby, was affordable and had a good academic reputation. Sadly it has lousy bullying management.


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