THE PHILOSOPHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE CONFLICT BETWEEN SECULAR HUMANISM AND JUDEO-CHRISTIAN TRADITIONALISM IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: AN EXAMINATION OF "FAMILY LIFE" EDUCATION
AuthorSHEA, VICTORIA ANNE
KeywordsChurch and education.
Religion in the public schools.
Public schools -- Curricula -- Moral and ethical aspects.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to answer the research question, "Are there areas of philosophical agreement between the contemporary world views of secular humanism and Judeo-Christian traditionalism as they apply to public school curricula, or are these two belief systems mutually exclusive and irreconcilable?" The literature was reviewed with a focus on three areas: (1) the historical development of secular humanism, (2) the contemporary conflict between secular humanism and Judeo-Christian traditionalism regarding the public schools, and (3) this conflict as it is exemplified in "Family Life Education." Utilizing the statements of recognized secular humanist and Judeo-Christian traditionalist leaders, an attempt was made to clarify the philosophical positions of the two world views by having each side in the controversy "speak for itself." The guiding assumptions, beliefs, and values of these leaders were categorized into areas of standard philosophical inquiry, such as metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics, and into basic educational viewpoints. The resulting composite world views, validated by the reliability of their sources, provided for two comprehensive alternative philosophies of education: that of secular humanism ("humanism") and Judeo-Christian traditionalism ("traditionalism"). The two world views were summarily juxtaposed according to philosophical assumptions. Areas of agreement and conflict were located. In order then to determine the effects of the beliefs of humanism and traditionalism upon actual classroom curricula, a sample "Family Life Education" curriculum was examined from each world view. The sample was chosen as representative of those in use in over three hundred school districts nationwide. A noted humanist and two traditionalist authorities provided a supplemental verification of the results of the study. It can be concluded from this study that there are very few areas of philosophical agreement between humanism and traditionalism as they apply to the public schools. They are based upon mutually exclusive presuppositions and aside from the assumptions of logic, there are no major philosophical beliefs that humanism and traditionalism hold in common. When the public school attempts directly to shape human values, these two world views will come into conflict. They are fundamentally irreconcilable.
Degree ProgramEducational Foundations