We are faced with either of two alternatives: remaining silent or speaking out. Neither alternative is without risks. Yet the risks of remaining silent appear to be greater than the risks of speaking out.
The quality of much of the available information is questionable. Where does a young person go today to find true guidance? Is there a difference between right and wrong? This book is intended for those readers who seek answers to these and related questions.
It is surprising how few people, including persons in the academic world, thousands of scholars, focus on these questions.
A reason why these questions are not raised much is the view that these questions have to do with morality and religion, and the responsibility for religion is strictly private. Thus we expect parents to teach their children the difference between right and wrong.
But what happens if the parents themselves do not know, or do not care about, the difference between right and wrong, good and evil?
If the parents will not or cannot teach their children, and if government-funded public schools refuse to teach morality and religion, who will?
Ethics cannot be separated from education. Trying to separate them is akin to teaching a person how to drive a car without teaching him or her how to follow traffic signs.
People require education in ethics especially in western states, precisely because much freedom is available there. In authoritarian regimes, young people are taught to accept, more or less unquestioningly, their parents’ and their communities’ ideas of right and wrong.
Without knowing this difference, they are not in a position to say no to what is wrong and yes to what is right. This puts them at a high degree of risk.
The result of the failure to provide moral and religious education is that many people have become demoralized. Partly as a result of moral disorientation, many waste away in sex, drugs, and entertainment. They use up their best energy in these activities, while they should be equipping themselves for their future. It is regrettable that young people neglect themselves in this way. What is inexcusable is that many adults, parents and professionals, especially educators, are letting this happen without so much as raising a whisper. What is the solution? We need to go back to our heritage, because it provides us with values. We can do this by starting to ask some questions again, questions that we have stopped asking.
Instead of building faster machines and exploring space in the universe, we need to pay more attention to the problems of crime, drug addiction, homelessness, unemployment, indebtedness abandonment, disintegration of communities, and demoralization.