The Devil You Don’t Acknowledge?

Right behavior or right belief?  Or can you separate the two?  

Voters in Berlin are getting the chance to once again address this issue at the ballot box.  
Much has been made of ethics, and the assumption that a right behavior can be arrived at separate from a proper context or understanding of the nature of the Universe.  Aristotle probably wasn’t the first to address the issue of secular ethics, but he’s one of the better known ancients to do so.  
The struggle will always remain as to whether you attempt to teach a code of behavior that has no basis or permanence outside of a basic ‘this is what we feel is right – right now’, or teach behavior within a more comprehensive understanding of the world.  And if you’re going to do that, which one do you choose?  Or more precisely, which one does a representative democracy choose on behalf of it’s people?  
I disagree with the idea of state sponsored religious education in a public school system.  Not because religious education is wrong, but because I believe it is right – and therefore it is possible to do it wrong.  It is possible (and likely) for the State to teach the wrong religion, in the name of equality and fairness – which have very little to do with Truth.  In any government outside of a theocracy, teaching religion should not be done by the State, even if it might be teaching the right religion.  Because at some point in time, if public opinion happens to change, or population demographics alter, a different and incorrect religion might be taught instead.
Religion is not simply a definition of ethical behavior, (except perhaps for Confucianism), and attempting to treat it as such is problematic.  Religion grounds behavioral expectations in a larger framework that lends permanency and relevancy to those behaviors.  Assuming that simply teaching religious regulations will result in proper behavior is erroneous.  It might lead to a greater understanding of different cultures and belief systems, but it isn’t likely to affect behavior.  Teaching straight ethics might have a better chance of that – though setting up dangerous groundwork for future abuses by whomever happens to be in charge.

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