I attended a political meeting last week, and asked a question.
The meeting was one sponsored by candidates from different political parties, and so I heard various points of view.
When one of the candidates mentioned the amount of stealing that is today being committed by some young people, I thought of a question which I have been thinking about for years.
Do the robberies have anything to do with the current lack of religious education in public schools?
When I was a young vicar, several days of every week were devoted to visiting all the public schools in order to ensure the pupils were provided with a grounding in religious education.
I knew that not everyone could afford to send their children to private church-run schools. And atheists and rationalists have now succeeded in agitating to stop some schools from teaching any religious lessons.
“Is it just a coincidence,” I asked, “that the increase in thieving should occur at the time when youngsters are no longer hearing the importance of keeping the Ten Commandments?”
I could just imagine trying to tell a child that stealing is wrong, only to be challenged by some youngsters saying: “Who says it is?”
If the children had some basic religious training, they would have learned that God says stealing is wrong.
In reply to my question, the political candidate agreed there is probably some connection between the lack of religious training and the increase in robberies, but added that a few schools are now trying to compensate by providing lessons about values.
Even our pet dogs and cats have to be shown there are limits in behaviour, and that punishments might follow when the boundaries are surpassed.
An old lady entered a watchmaker’s shop with a small parcel. When she undid it, it contained the hands of a grandfather clock. “These hands,” she said, “keep very bad time. I can never trust them, so I have brought them here to be fixed.”
“It’s no good bringing the hands,” the watchmaker said, “you must bring the works.”
It is the same with ourselves. Our hands will not do right when something inside of us is wrong.