ERIC Number: ED216977
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar-19
Reference Count: 0
Can Morality be Separated from Religion in the Teaching of Values?
Nucci, Larry; Junker, Linda
The author argues that morality can be taught in public schools without retreating into moral relativism and without compromising our cultural and constitutional principles of freedom of speech and the separation of church and state. The paper draws from philosophy and psychological theory to illustrate that concepts of the moral constitute a conceptual and developmental system distinct from concepts about other societal or religious values and that one's identification of the moral is independent of religious prescription. Research studies which illustrate these concepts are described. To prove that morality is independent of religious prescription, the author conducted a study with practicing Catholics. High school and college-age Catholics were asked to make a number of judgments about actions considered sins by the Catholic church. The results showed that the students' identification of actions as matters of morality is not a function of the presence of religious prescriptions. Morality is autonomous from religion, and the content of moral education (e.g., the issues of justice) may be universalized without compromising religious diversity among students. (RM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association (New York, NY, March 19, 1982).