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Discussion 5 to Ask the Patriarch 93
A simple basis for ethical behavior is the Golden Rule

by Mitch (screen name)

From the UCTAA Yahoo Group

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First of all, there are a few years until genuine morality issues are going to become a problem. For the first several years, yes and no will do fine. As I understand it, and through personal experience, children do not have a significant understanding of morality (I actually prefer to use the term ethical behavior) until about the age of 7 or 8.

Fundamentally, a simple basis for ethical behavior is the Golden Rule, and the reason for acting that way is because it is the best way to act if you want people to act the same way towards you. I can recommend two books which each address this issue in slightly different ways. Neither is specific to raising children, but both provide rational, naturalistic, and seemingly scientific explanations for ethical behavior.

The first book is The Science of Good and Evil : Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule by Michael Shermer

The second is Sense and Goodness Without God : A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism by Richard Carrier.

Dr. Shermer's book I think is the easier of the two to read, and provides a scientific theory for morality. I'm not sure that the theory is well supported by other scientific thinkers, but much of what he wrote seemed to make sense to me. The first half of Richard Carrier's book is something of a philosophical struggle to get through (meaning many philosophical ideas must be explained and understood), but once you make it thought that, the logic to behaving ethically and compassionately is pretty darn simple.

There may be other books that are beneficial as well, but it is my belief that it would be best not to use religion as a moral teaching tool; if one feels compelled to use religion as a moral teaching tool, then for the love of the child, please find a church that leans to the liberal side of theology as it seems much more compatible with the modern world than does any form of conservative monotheism.

Regards,
Mitch