The Failure of Moral Education Creates a Problem
Four Very Strong Recommendations
Give Formal Instruction
Teach Prosocial Skills
Pay Attention to Context and Process
For many years I used the word "holocaust" to designate the destruction of European Jewry during the second world war. I have since been persuaded that "holocaust" should not be used for two reasons: First, it bears the additional meaning of `a whole burnt offering,' which is certainly not the theological overtone to be sounded in this context. And second, the destruction of European Jewry happened to Jews and, hence, it is they who should have the sad honor of naming this event with a Hebrew term. The word "shoah" has been used for a long time in Hebrew to denote the catastrophe to Jewry during World War II and has even been adopted by many non-Jews as the proper designation. I now adopt this usage and acknowledge my debt to Professor Jean Halpérin of Geneva and Fribourg for the insight.
It is my practice to capitalize only nouns referring to God, together with nouns usually capitalized in English. This is a theological-grammatical commitment to the sovereignty of God. Thus, I spell "messiah," "temple," etc. Furthermore, to infuse literature with ethics, I especially do not capitalize "nazi," "führer," "fatherland," "third reich," "national socialist," "final solution," etc. except in quotations. I am indebted to Hana Goldman, a plucky ten year old, who defied her teachers by refusing to capitalize "nazi," thereby setting an example for all of us. The word "shoah" falls in this category and, therefore, I consistently do not capitalize it.
As we approach the end of the century and try to bring some perspective to its most traumatic event, the shoah, the task before us seems overwhelming. Can one really "bring some perspective" to such an event? Is the very attempt to do so a banalization of the lives of those who died, or survived? As a theologian, two questions cry out for answers. First, where was God? How can those of us who are religious people reconcile our belief in the continuous presence of God in the life of the Jewish people with the presence of God in the shoah? How can those of us to whom God's presence is alive and important believe in a God who allowed the shoah to happen? This is, perhaps, the most searing theological question of this fin de siècle. The usual answers are inadequate and, in an attempt to save the doctrine of God for our times, I have ventured another, rather bold, answer in Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest.
The second basic question of our times is, where was humanity? Here, the issue is not the cruelty and sadism of the shoah for, although these were certainly present, cruelty and sadism were not peculiar to the shoah. Nor is the question one of numbers, for there have been other mass murders and even genocides in which large numbers of people have been killed. The issue in the shoah is also not one of state policy, though that certainly sets off the shoah from previous forms of genocide. The real horror of the shoah lies in the compliance of the masses with the final solution. The key question about humanity, then, is: why did so many tens of millions of people go along with the shoah? How did the nazi regime persuade the overwhelming masses of Europe to remain bystanders? to accept passively, if not actively, the extermination of the Jews? Terror was certainly a factor but it is not a sufficient answer.
An equally puzzling question is posed by those who rescued Jews: Why did they rescue? How did the rescuers manage to resist the persuasion and threat of the nazi regime such that they defied it? If obedience characterized the masses, what describes the resistors and rescuers?
The question, where was humanity, can also be framed as follows: When one interrogates perpetrators, the usual response is, "I was only doing my job," "I was only following orders," "I was only doing that which was expected of me." While this "Nuremberg defense" is not admissible legally, it does express the sense of the perpetrator and the bystander. Similarly, when one questions rescuers, the usual response is, "I did nothing heroic," "I was only doing what any human being would have done," "I was only doing that which was expected of me." While this explanation is routinely rejected by those who have been rescued as well as by those who marvel at the "heroism" of the rescuers, it does express the sense of the rescuer. Why is this so? Why do both perpetrators and bystanders, and rescuers, regard their behavior as "normal," as "banal" in the sense of "ordinary"? (Note: The word "banal" has two meanings in English: "normal, ordinary" which is how it is used here and "trivial, morally unimportant" which is certainly not its sense in the context of the shoah.) The question, where was humanity, then, revolves around the issue of the banality of both good and evil.
The answer to the question, where was humanity, lies first in careful historical study of the period of the shoah. Extremely useful data, however, can also be found in the field of social psychology. A series of social psychological experiments in compliance, known loosely as "the obedience experiments," were conducted and the results have been widely discussed. A series of experiments in prosocial action, known loosely as "the altruism experiments," were also conducted and their results are rather widely known too. Unfortunately, within the discipline of social psychology, experimental work in obedience and in altruism is not usually done together. Nor is analysis of these complementary phenomena usually undertaken as a whole. Similarly, within the discipline of history, systematic social psychological questions are not often asked. To answer the question, where was humanity, however, one must study the obedience experiments and the altruism experiments, as well as the historical literature on perpetrators and rescuers during the shoah and other traumatic human events. Such research generates a unified field theory of antisocial and prosocial human behavior and helps us address the issue of the nature of human responsibility.
As morally serious persons, it is incumbent upon us to look at the data from antisocial studies and ask: What have we learned in the fifty years since the end of the shoah about human moral behavior? What lessons, if any, can we draw for humanity from this event as we enter the next century? Especially theologians and religious educators must confront the fact that an overwhelming majority of the perpetrators and bystanders were religious. They were believers, energetic adherents of their churches and active participants in the various praxes of piety. How did church leaders -- priests, pastors, theologians, and others -- allow themselves and their institutions to be drawn into evil? Why did some religious leaders resist, often taking their followers with them? What was it that religious institutions were teaching that enabled the shoah to happen? Western religion and culture has been discussing the problem of good and evil and preaching ethical behavior for 3000 years. We are not amateurs. Yet in the shoah, we failed miserably, and there is every reason to believe that we will fail again. Why? What ought we to be discussing and teaching?
As morally serious persons, it also is incumbent upon us to look at the data from prosocial studies and ask: What have we learned about human goodness? What do we know about the basic impulses to do good? And, how could we cultivate those impulses? In the century that discovered Auschwitz in the actions and motivations of humankind, what is goodness and how would one shape human society so as to surface goodness and not evil? Especially theologians and religious educators must confront the difficult question: Why hasn't organized religion succeeded in inculcating goodness in humanity? Judging from the history of this century, and indeed the history of organized religion before this century, we have failed to teach goodness, we have failed to so instruct those under our tutelage such that they will, in overwhelming numbers, act in a prosocial manner toward their fellow human beings. What have we done wrong, and what ought we to be doing to do it right?
If there are answers to the question of human compliance and resistance in social psychology and history, then it is the responsibility of educators in general and theologians and religious educators in particular, Jews and Christians, to bring these insights back into the school, the university, the church, the synagogue, and the mosque, and to modify what one teaches and how one teaches it so as to increase resistance to evil and to encourage the doing of good.
The problem, where was humanity, then, implies two tasks: first, a descriptive-analytic task rooted in history and social psychology and, then, a normative-prescriptive task rooted in moral thought and theology intended to better humankind's ability to teach resistance to evil and to cultivate doing of good. I have done the descriptive-analytic work, outlining the relevant studies in the fields of social, personal psychology, and history and developing a field theory for the factors which facilitate the doing of good and the doing of evil elsewhere. I have also done the normative-prescriptive work, identifying eleven affections and twelve value-concepts of the prosocial life, together with the complex linkages between the affections, teachings, value-concepts, and the praxis and socialization patterns of the prosocial life, and making several specific recommendations for inculcating prosocial attitudes and behaviors. Here, I shall address some of these recommendations in detail.
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In the course of my work in the field of religion, I have acquired many friends and colleagues in Christian institutions like the Candler School of Theology, the Gregorian Pontifical Institute, Notre Dame University, and elsewhere; in Jewish institutions like the various rabbinical schools, the Solomon Schechter Day School movement, etc.; and in secular institutions like Emory University, the Association for Moral Education, and elsewhere. What binds us together is that we share the burdens of life in the post-shoah world and we join in assuming the task of religious and secular moral education toward a better world in the fullest sense of interfaith and intercultural dialogue. For all of us, the past weighs upon the future and we all sense that this is our watch, that we are the responsible ones at this time in history.
For Jews and Christians, dialogue about the past and toward the future is particularly poignant because the history of pre-war Christian antisemitism weighs heavily on all of us. As Jews, we ask: why didn't more of our Christian brothers and sisters act to protect us? Why didn't the Church, which preaches love of the other, practice it? It pains us to ask, and it pains us to see the anguish of our Christian partners in dialogue when they hear our questions and contemplate their own history. For Catholics the problem is particularly acute since the record of the Catholic Church, particularly of its leadership, is not very "Christian" in the spiritual sense of the word, and because most of the worst killing took place in overwhelmingly Catholic countries. Here, too, the pain of the next generations is clear, but the task is also evident. It becomes, then, all the more important to face our failures squarely and deal with them.
Now, those of us in the field of moral education, especially those of us in religious moral education, like to think that we are accomplishing something when we teach ethics and morals. We like to think that students, by studying the great classic ethical texts, actually become more ethical; that, by wrestling with deep moral dilemmas, students actually come to be more moral. As a fairly prominent member of the religious and academic establishment, I too would like to believe this. However, it is just not so.
In a famous experiment conducted at the Princeton Theological Seminary, 67 students were asked to study the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29-37) and then requested to proceed to another facility where they were to be filmed giving a sermon on the parable or on alternate ministry. Between the two buildings, the experimenters placed a "victim," the goal being to find out how many of these theology students, who had just finished studying the parable of the Good Samaritan, would stop to aid the victim and what kind of help they would give. Only 40% stopped to help. While this constitutes a rate above the usual helping rate of 12-25%, it is certainly not high enough for those who take the parable, and similar prosocial religious teaching, seriously. The conclusion relevant here, then, is that religious prosocial teaching helps a little, but not enough. Teaching texts and discussing moral dilemmas is just not enough.
The evidence from other sources is even more discouraging for those in both secular and religious moral education. The social-psychological evidence indicates that religious affiliation and praxis is not a determining factor in antisocial, or in prosocial, behavior. Thus, religion did not help or hinder subjects, in any systematic way, in the Milgram, Staub, Colby, or other social psychological studies. Subjects who shocked victims with what they believed were lethal doses of electricity were not inhibited from doing so by religious affiliation or conviction. And, conversely, subjects who aided victims in distress did so with no established link to their religious association or belief. Nor do most exemplars of prosocial action attribute their prosocial activity to religion.
In yet another investigation, Batson and Ventis noted, after studying closely three people from very different but actively religious backgrounds, that it was not the religious teaching but the context of social roles, norms, and reference groups that provided the best predictors of religious identity (31-48). Further, asking about people's attitudes and then checking their actual behaviors, Batson and Ventis concluded that seeing oneself as prosocially motivated and actually performing prosocial actions were not the same: "The more religious may see themselves as more helpful and caring; they may even be seen this way by others. But when it came to action, there is no evidence that they are" (289, emphasis original).
The historical evidence, too, indicates that religious affiliation and praxis is not a determining factor in antisocial, or in prosocial, behavior. Thus, religion was not a determining factor among the rescuers for, while some rescuers rescued out of specifically religious motivation, most did not. Nor was it a salient factor in the organized resistance to the nazis, though some activists were certainly moved to resistance by their religious convictions. Those who rescued Jews during the war, and they did that at considerable risk to themselves and to those around them, did it for many reasons but religious affiliation and praxis is not a key factor except in a small percentage of the cases. Religion also was not a significant factor, in any systematic way, among the soldiers of the German police battalions. Of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians who participated in the murder of Jews during the shoah, religious association or belief was not a factor which influenced their actions. Further, it must always be born in mind that the shoah took place in the midst of Christian Europe; that is, that Christian religious teaching did not stop, or even seriously hinder, the discrimination against, persecution of, and eventual extermination of the Jews of Europe. No one knows for sure, but I have speculated publicly that, had the Pope ordered that any Catholic who participates in the killing of Jews be excluded from communion, perhaps 30% of European Jewry might have been saved because Eastern Europe, the site of most of the mass killing, was devoutly religious and such an exercise of papal authority, even if followed half-heartedly by local Church authorities, would have been taken very seriously. Finally, it must also be born in mind, mutatis mutandis, that the Jewish resistance in the ghettoes and in the forests was also not significantly composed of people with religious training.
In short, the historical evidence shows that religion was simply not a determinative factor during the shoah, except for the very few -- not for the rescuers or the resistance; not for the perpetrators, active or passive; and not for the resisting victims -- although the religion of the Jewish victims was always their death warrant.
The case is not better in the least for the secular humanist tradition, as Richard Rubenstein has shown in The Cunning of History  as well as in several other books. The secular state, which was supposed to protect all citizens regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, and economic status, responded during the shoah by declaring Jews stateless and, hence, without the protection of the secular state. No human or civil rights obtained for Jews, and for some others, during the shoah. Indeed, under all of the totalitarian regimes set up in the tradition of the Enlightenment, the prosocial tradition bearing the values of modernity collapsed; hence, the state-approved, or state-tolerated, persecution of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and others under fascism, communism, and certain types of socialism. The "people's republics" embody the failure of the secular humanist tradition.
Much to the consternation of adherents and advocates of both religious and secular moral traditions, then, the historical and social-pyschological evidence is quite clear: the role of religious and of secular moral teaching in prosocial and in antisocial behavior is episodic. Some people, indeed most, use these traditions to justify antisocial behavior while others, a minority, use them to justify prosocial behavior. To put it differently: There is no overall consistent pattern of prosocial influence in secular or religious moral teaching. Religious as well as secular moral teaching accounts for very little of humankind's ability to resist evil and do good.
Finally, the evidence from the world of teaching is equally clear and disturbing. Studying ethics, moral theology, and the intersection of law and ethics, together with work in comparative ethics, is a major goal in intellectual academic circles. Books are written, conferences are held, dialogue is engaged in on these subjects. There is a whole field of moral education with a professional organization, conferences, and publications. Sometimes even ethical grand rounds are held in hospitals. Still, one must ask with the Talmud, mai nafka minah, "What results from all this? What difference does it make?" The study of ethics and moral theology does not make us better people. Analyzing the teaching of morality and dialogue in comparative ethics do not, in and of themselves, inculcate prosocial values or lead to prosocial behavior. Remember Hitler's professors, and clergy, and educators, and lawyers -- all serious persons and professionals who, despite their personal, spiritual, and professional concern with the doing of good, ended up doing evil. What, then, is needed? What do we need to do, as morally responsible people and leaders, to encourage prosocial attitudes and behaviors?
for Encouraging Prosocial Attitudes and Behaviors
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Resistant and caring behaviors come from a background of proportionate and reasoned discipline, combined with modeling, practice, and the teaching of caring attitudes and behaviors. The following four recommendations, with specific proposals where appropriate, then, should be incorporated in any program, religious or secular, intended to encourage the doing of good and discourage the doing of evil.
As noted, the results of social psychological and historical research indicate that secular and religious moral education is not a factor, in any systematic way, in people's choice of good and evil. Bluntly put: Religious and secular moral education has failed to discourage antisocial behavior and to enourage prosocial behavior. This, however, does not seem to have penetrated fully into the minds of secular and religious educators. To put it most simply: If religious and secular moral education works, why do we not see more prosocial action in human society? We must, first, admit our failure as moral educators.
Formal instruction, while not sufficient, is necessary. Content does count, even if it is not determinative. A plan of instruction intended to educate and inculcate prosocial values must include the following five areas.
(1) Teach prosocial value-concepts. There are a large number of prosocial value-concepts. Discuss the terms: inclusiveness, extensivity, globalism, goodness, kindness, justice, fairness, law, integrity, virtue, uprightness, rectitude, equity, impartiality, righteousness, ethics, caring, morality, protest, resistance, bonding, humanness, and humanity. And the complements: exclusiveness, isolationism, ethnic superiority, injustice, oppression, prejudice, unfairness, uncritical compliance, inhumaneness, and inhumanity. In a religious setting, discuss specifically religious prosocial value-concepts. In Jewish tradition, these would include: tselem (image), brit (covenant), tsedek (justice), hesed (caring), and many others. In Christian tradition, these would include: agape, justice, faith, hope, and many others.
(2) Use the language of justice and caring. The way we phrase what we want to say forms who we are and who we become. Discuss the words: pity, compassion, concern, affection, love, care, cherish, nourish, protect, understanding, empathy, kindness, mercy, sympathy, attachment, devotion, heart, feeling, respect, awareness, recognition, intimacy, attention, warmth, and consideration. And the complements: pain, sorrow, grief, worry, anxiety, distress, suffering, trouble, sensitiveness, stress, intimidate, persecute, threaten, and terror. Be sure to use these words in conversation on all topics and issues.
(3) Identify and actively teach prosocial texts and traditions. For the secular tradition, this would include stories and poetry from the American and French revolutions, the period of slavery, the civil rights movement, and the antiwar protest; exemplars from industry and education; and stories of ordinary citizens who have accomplished prosocial tasks. For the biblical tradition shared by Christians and Jews, this would include the stories of: Shifra and Pu'ah, the midwives who resisted Pharoah's genocidal decrees; Rahab, the prostitute, who resisted the Jericho secret police to hide the spies; Nathan, the prophet, who confronted King David forcefully on his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband; Saul's officers who refused to kill the priests of Nob who had sheltered David; Abraham who argued with God about the justice of destroying the cities of Sodom and Gemorrah; Moses who consistently defended the people of Israel against God's unjust threats; and the author of Psalm 44 who protested vehemently against God's desertion of God's people in time of war.
Rabbinic Judaism is particularly rich in prosocial value-concepts, texts, and traditions. Only a list is presented here: talmud Torah (study of Torah); mitsva (commandedness); lifnei `iver (you shall not put stumbling block before the blind); ve-`asita ha-tov veha-yashar (you shall do what is right and proper); patur mi-dinei adam ve-hayyav be-dinei shamayim (exempt in a human court but not in heaven); tsedaka (righteousness, charity); middat hasidut (the standard of the pious / caring / non-violence); gemilut hasadim (doing good deeds); lifnim mi-shurat ha-din (beyond the line of the law); shalom (peace); mipne darkhei shalom (for the sake of social peace); tikkun `olam (repairing / restoring the world); yetser ha-ra` and yetser tov (the impulse to evil / to good); and pikuah nefesh (saving a life). There are many more. Prosocial rabbinic texts and traditions also include: norms for proper court procedure and judicial protest; laws commanding one to reprove one another and to rescue someone in trouble; the uses and limits of military disobedience and non-violence; and the doctrines of "doing good deeds," "going beyond the demands of the law," "honoring God's creatures," and martyrdom. 
Christian tradition, too, has a long and distinguished set of texts and stories which encourage and support prosocial action. These include the story of the Good Samaritan, the concern of Jesus for the oppressed and excluded, the model of St. Francis, the civil courage of St. Bernard of Clairvaux in defending Jews during the Crusades, and the many stories of heroism motivated by Christian faith during the shoah, e.g., the story of Le Chambon sur Lignon, the miracle at Assisi, etc.
(4) Teach the nature of social processes. Social process is the determinative factor in the avoiding of evil and the doing of good. Secular and religious educators must, therefore, provide formal instruction about the social processes within which we live and make moral decisions. Discuss the terms: authority, obedience, disobedience, resistance, protest, heteronomy and autonomy, norms, rules, values, normocentric, agentic shift, salience, permission, ingroup-outgroup, conflict management and resolution, win-win, socialization, identification, modeling, peer support, and incremental learning. Discuss the nature of hierarchies and the effect of excessive vs. caring discipline. Read the books by Milgram, Kelman and Hamilton, the Oliners, Browning, and so on. Show the films and discuss them. An understanding, no matter how tentative, of these processes is an important first step.
(5) Teach critical thinking. Thinking against the social grain is crucial. People must be consciously taught to ask: How does one identify a lie? What is propaganda? Who is manipulating whom? Whose power is at stake here? Do I agree with the truths being expounded here; and if not, why? What do I think, independent of what I feel? The instinct for truth and good common sense needs to be developed and reinforced.
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Intellectual knowledge is not enough; one must learn how to do things. Therefore, religious and secular authorities must teach concrete prosocial skills. I recommend teaching the following seven prosocial skills:
(1) perspective taking and empathy -- This enables one to understand how the other feels, to appreciate the affective dimension of the other's situation. Ask: "What do you think he or she feels?" "What does she or he feel even if she or he cannot express it?" "How angry, happy, ashamed, proud ... is he or she?" "What would you feel in that person's place?" "What is empathy? What is sympathy?" Everyone is capable of perspective-taking and everyone will need to be the object of perspective-taking by others in the course of life. Being able to empathize is an important prosocial skill.
(2) identifying and coding one's own feelings -- Our feelings are basic to who we are; they are the ground for much of our being and the agency for much of our action. We need to know our own feelings. Ask: "What did you feel when you saw ...?" "Can you recall feeling ashamed, guilty, joyous, powerful, hurt, nurturing, modest, immodest, content?" "What is the difference between anger and rage? Have you ever felt either? What was it like?" "How do you feel when someone threatens you, challenges you publicly, or praises you in front of others?" Almost everyone has experienced every one of these emotional states at one time or another. Being able to recognize and label them is an important prosocial skill.
(3) identifying authorities, hierarchies, norms, roles, and social processes -- Everyone exists within a series of social hierarchies. Ask: "What is the social hierarchy in this particular situation?" "To whom are you subordinate? To whom are you superior?" "Is there more than one authority at work here? more than one set of subordinates?" "Upon what is the legitimacy of the authority in this situation based?" "What would you have to do to break the rule, the norm? What would you have to do to challenge the authority?" "Are you, as an authority, acting in a responsible way, within the limits of your legitimacy? And, if not, how do you as an authority challenge your own authority and reshape it?" Knowing one's place in various hierarchies and, hence, imagining how one might challenge these hierarchies is a major prosocial skill -- and it can be learned.
(4) externalizing repressed prosocial impulses -- Doing good, as Batson has shown and as rabbinic tradition teaches, is a basic part of being human. All people want to do good to others, even if the motivation for that is, sometimes, egoistic. Yet, many people hesitate to do good. Ask: "What does your impulse to do good tell you to do?" "What act of caring have you done today?" "What can you do that would be really kind?" "Whom do you know who is a really good person? What does she or he do? How do you know he or she is good?" Realizing that one does know good when one sees it, recognizing good impulses in oneself, and realizing that the impediments to doing good are not as formidable as they seem is an important prosocial skill.
(5) conflict management skills -- Conflict does not need to be "overcome" or "eliminated." Quite the contrary, conflict is a natural part of life. It does, however, need to be managed so that human relationships do not deteriorate into resentment, hatred, and violence. Teach the skills of mediation. Instruct people in the art of finding superordinate goals. Ask: "What is at stake behind the surface issues for each party?" "What are the common goals of these people?" "Why should these persons cooperate with one another? And if they cannot live in harmony, what intermediate relationship could they have?"
(6) networking -- No person is an island, as the poet says. Everyone needs support, even those who do good. A network provides moral, as well as tactical, support. Because doing good is contagious, a network also supports increased prosocial action. A broad network also distributes the impulse to do good over a larger number of areas of one's life. Teach how to build and broaden a network. It is not enough for prosocial action to be a "school (or, church or, professional) activity"; it must become part of the larger lives of the participants. Teach how to make all participants stakeholders in the activity and how to use participatory democracy to involve everyone -- the disadvantaged, the willing, the reluctant, even the opposition. Also, show how to involve legitimate authority figures because authority does count; it is only a matter of which side it will count on.
(7) protesting -- At some point, social protest may be necessary in order to effect a prosocial goal. There is a long history of this in the west in this century. Teach the skills of coalition building. Teach the techniques of nonviolent protest: persuasion, social noncooperation, economic noncooperation in the form of the boycott and the strike, and political noncooperation especially with state authorities. Teach how to organize the various types of demonstration: sit-ins, stand-ins, ride-ins, pray-ins, and hunger strikes as well as the skills of direct action, negotiation, and reconciliation. Familiarize people with how to find the resources for further training in these areas.
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Religious and secular authorities must recognize that it is not only what one teaches but how it is taught that makes the difference. It is not only the content of the teaching but the social psychological context in which it is taught that makes the real difference between successful and unsuccessful moral education. In order to accomplish this goal, I make the following additional five practical recommendations for how to teach prosocial values:
(1) Establish a means by which authority can be challenged. All social structures need discipline to give them form. To be as certain as one can that discipline is proportionate and reasoned, set up a mechanism of criticism and appeal within the disciplinary process, and be sure that that mechanism functions fairly. In a school, business, hospital, government, synagogue, church, or volunteer organization, even in a family, I recommend the following, bearing in mind that these mechanisms must be used honestly and in good will, not as ploys to pacify underlings or as shields for superiors:
(a) Set up an ombudsperson or an ombudscommittee who will hear appeals of disciplinary action taken by the central hierarchy.
(b) Set up a whistle-blowing mechanism which will enable criticism of the hierarchy.
(c) Set up a care team which will evaluate, not the efficiency with which the task of the organization is being carried out, but the caring quality of the relationships between members of the organization, particularly those relationships that are hierarchical.
(2) Act. Do. Implement prosocial action. It is relatively easy to plan and to build programs. It is much harder to make sure that the action one intends to motivate actually takes place. One needs to have some mechanism for checking the efficacy of what one does, even (perhaps, especially) in education for prosocial action. In a school, business, hospital, government, synagogue, church, or volunteer organization, even in a family, I recommend the following:
(a) Undertake a specific project: visiting the sick, lobbying for a cause, being part of a watch organization, caring for the homeless, and so on. Do not let prosocial commitment remain vague.
(b) See to it that there is personal contact with the disadvantaged person. Salience to the victim is critical to prosocial activity. Do not let prosocial commitment be only financial or administrative.
(c) Create a feedback mechanism in the form of a journal or report in which one records what one has actually done. In addition, one should record feelings and thoughts for later sharing and discussion.
(3) Model prosocial attitudes and behaviors. People have a very fine instinct for hypocrisy. This comes from an equally fine ability to observe what others do, hear what they say, and then compare the two. It is, therefore, very important to practice what one preaches, that is, to do prosocial acts for, in the doing, is the teaching. In a school, business, hospital, government, synagogue, church, or volunteer organization, even in a family, I recommend the following:
(a) Model prosocial behaviors yourself. It is easy if one is in charge of organizing or implementing a program in altruistic behavior to forget to actually do altruistic acts. No matter where one is in the organization, a deed of kindness counts.
(b) Hire staff who have a record of prosocial action. The criterion of prosocial action is not usually used in hiring professors, teachers, engineers, doctors, business executives, government employees, or hospital staff. It is used more often, but not systematically enough, in hiring clergy, social workers, and in engaging volunteers. Make prosocial action a part of the resumé that candidates must submit to apply for a job and, if it is not a part thereof, ask. (Note: I have never been part of an academic search, even in a department of religion or school of theology, where this was so. My own curriculum vitae, which is quite long, does not include my prosocial activities and commitments, nor have I been asked to add them.)
(c) Evaluate and promote using prosocial activity as one of the criteria. Prosocial action is not usually used in evaluating and promoting professors, teachers, engineers, doctors, business executives, government employees, or hospital staff. It is used more often, but not systematically enough, in evaluating and promoting clergy, social workers, and in engaging volunteers. Rewards do not always work; however, process establishes norms. By making it known that prosocial action is approved and used in professional assessment, prosocial action acquires the sanction of the hierarchy and becomes a norm.
(d) Acknowledge heroes and heroines. Set up a publicity mechanism which will highlight the activity of those who do perform prosocial acts. Recognition, too, sets norms and standards, as well as reinforces the impulse to do good.
(4) Develop syllabi and curricula in prosocial action. There are texts and methods which inculcate prosocial value-concepts and actions. Identify the questions. Prepare the materials. Find the teachers. Teach the texts. There is no other way.
(a) Find the texts in Judaism, Christianity, and other world religions, as well as in the secular tradition and in American and European civilization. Find the material in the media, on the internet, anywhere it is available.
(b) Be sure to use the applied learning methods: study-buddies (small units that prepare and work together), field observation of prosocial organizations, and project-oriented tasks.
(c) Provide a full-time person to encourage and supervise the program in prosocial education and action.
(5) Be intentional about what you are doing. It is so easy to let matters slide, to drift into complacency. These recommendations demand a great deal of effort. Indeed, doing good requires much energy, thought, questioning, and care. Still, consciousness is what renders us human. Intentionality is what makes us a part of humanity. Especially in doing good, we must be conscious, intentional.
Traditional religious and secular moral education has not been a great success. Perhaps, by paying more attention to the processes at work when we educate and then educating for social process, those of us -- Christian, Jewish, and others -- who share the burdens of life in the post-shoah world and who join in assuming the task of religious and secular moral education toward a better world in the fullest sense of interfaith and intercultural dialogue, will be able to accomplish the age-old goal of educating a generation of human beings who are capable of resisting evil and of doing good.
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