An Example Of Values Clarification

By Wayne S. Walker

The recent hijacking of a Trans-World Airline flight from Athens, Greece to Beirut, Lebanon, and the subsequent holding of innocent American hostages by a group of radical Moslems are undoubtedly still fresh on the minds of many people. The majority of United States citizens, as well as those of all civilized, freedom-loving nations, denounce such an act as cruel, barbaric, inhumane, and unjust. However, are you aware that this despicable and horrendous deed can easily be justified by a process that is currently being taught in most of the public schools of our land? That process is known as “values clarification.”

The basic presupposition of this theory is that values are, in and of themselves, neither right nor wrong, that each individual must decide for himself, based only on the criteria of his own needs and wishes, what is best for him in any given circumstance. This underlying concept is called “ethical relativism.” Although it may not be overtly stated, it is nevertheless embedded in the presentation of values clarification, at least as presently practiced. But is it true? The Beirut hijackers felt that their needs in that particular situation dictated the action that they took. Yet, who will come forward to condone these criminals and defend their decision?

In order to arrive at his values, the student is taught to follow seven steps. The first is to choose freely, which the Moslem fanatics evidently did. They were not forced. Next, one must choose from alternatives. They obviously looked at all options and concluded that the one they took offered the best hope for gaining their goals. Then, the student is told to consider the consequences of his choice. The consequence of the hijackers’ choice was either achieve their objective if they succeeded, or go directly and immediately to paradise if they failed and were killed. They had little motivation to exercise inhibition whatever happened.

The fourth step is to prize one’s choice, which was most surely done in this case. Step number five is to affirm publicly the choice. This they accomplished quite satisfactorily via television and other media. Sixth, one should act on the choice, and the hijackers certainly did this by stealing the plane and holding the hostages. Finally, the student is to incorporate the choice into a pattern of life by acting repeatedly on it. A casual look at the news will reveal that this is definitely true with Moslem fundamentalists – in Lebanon, Iran, and all over the Middle East. This is what they had chosen. Therefore, it must be all right for them.

Thus, you can see that the steps of values clarification may be used to arrive at almost any type of behavior an individual might choose – cheating, lying, stealing, fornication, adultery, even murder – if the conditions are right. Many teachers of values clarification would deny this conclusion. However, other proponents openly admit it. The original promoters of values clarification had as their avowed intent to turn our society into a godless, amoral, subjectivist culture, and appear to be succeeding. They are after our young people! Parents, be aware of what your children are learning in school and oppose “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5).

Guardian of Truth XXIX: 23, pp. 723-724
December 5, 1985