|Title||An analysis of the effects of sacred and secular moral education on moral behavior in American public education|
Purpose, scope, and method of study. Three related aspects of sacred and secular moral education were investigated predominantly through a comprehensive analysis of historical primary sources. First explored was the historical perspective of Christianity and morality in the founding of the nation and how this perspective shaped moral education in the early Republic. Second, comparison was made of moral education, as it existed within the theological framework of Christianity and the Bible, with moral education, as it existed apart from this framework, to determine how these two approaches to moral education affected moral behavior in the life of the student. Third examined was the renewed concern that Christianity and traditional moral values are the solution to the moral decline among youth. Findings and conclusions. The results indicated that the most effective approach to confronting moral decline in America resides in the interrelationship between Christianity, morality, and a shared moral culture. A secular moral framework gives no voice to the learners faith, neither recognizing its power to motivate right action or its connection to moral training in the home, church, and community. In the traditional public school classroom, the varying worldviews of multiple stakeholders are the filter through which a set of secular, universal values is determined and cultivated. This practice fails to provide the learner with a moral worldview that remains constant across the varying domains the learner occupies. When a common worldview is shared by a social network in the varying domains of the learners life, it yields the most sustainable results for moral behavior. For most American youth, morality is grounded in Christian, biblical principles. The Christian faith provides young people with a consistent moral guide for discerning right from wrong and creates community networks that play a vital role in cultivating self-government in the life of the learner. Student moral development is best served when educators create a comprehensive approach to moral development that includes the Christian moral framework in the context of a shared moral culture.
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