Rwandan youth moral crisis vis-à-vis postmodernism

Youth morality versus cultural and religious values …continued from last Sunday The nocturnal visits of Sandra’s among others are warmly hosted, let alone Muvara’s habit of kicking out the teen guests made me skeptical. I always wonder whether our cultural values are the issue. However, the problem is beyond the cultural perceptions.

Youth morality versus cultural and religious values

…continued from last Sunday

The nocturnal visits of Sandra’s among others are warmly hosted, let alone Muvara’s habit of kicking out the teen guests made me skeptical. I always wonder whether our cultural values are the issue. However, the problem is beyond the cultural perceptions.

Apart from the “busyness” of parents who are to a large extent passive - perhaps because of work pressures, most of them no longer have time to sit down with their children and teach them the moral values as argued by Berna.

The youth themselves are pressured in a need to be entertained than the parents can handle.

The atheists argue that unlike the Christian and Islamic beliefs, God cannot be the basis of morality. Nevertheless, if that is so, then what is the basis for morality?

Or, as many protagonists asked, “If not from God, then where?” The Darwinists believe it is from evolution while others disagree.

I sometimes reflect back on the fact that I belong to the generation that knew an era yet untouched by ICT and lodges that shelter the couples of teens with golden-aged gents, let alone calculators, copy machines, cell phones, skyscrapers, etc.... However, the recent articles by Berna Namata as well as Justine Musasirwa of The New Times and Rose Mukagahizi of Imvaho Nshya bemoaned the lack of moral or sexual education for adolescents in Rwanda.

This reminded me of a fact more relevant to our current predicament in the post-modern era, (culture is always in a predicament except in rare moments of apotheosis): that I belong to the last generation to reach adolescence before the onset of the youth culture.

I was in junior high school and wondered at the popularity of cinema houses in Rwanda.

In my perspectives, many young people learn and emulate the worst western cultural values related to “free and safe sex” before marriage and the unusual dressing “to dress to kill or attract the attention of the age mates and of course the golden-aged people especially of the opposite sex”.

I am not saying here that going to the cinema is bad but the “trustworthiness” of the cinema house that one attends remains to question.

I traveled abroad in the last two weeks and my colleague Mugabire witnessed to me that his moral values were destroyed by his fondness to attend the cinema 8 hours a day while he was in high school.  

Motive is a major determinant in sorting out morality. For example, if those Sandras were well aware that not all the girls today go back home at about mid-night, they could have been determined in this case not to do so because it might look morally wrong. 

This is not to say, however, that morality is a subjective matter as some of my colleagues argue.

While considerations like the above example are flexible because they do not infringe on another person, not all cultural interpretations of morality constitute true morality. And by true morality I mean actions that would not violate another person, their property, or anything else connected to them.

Examples of immorality would include lying, cheating, killing, stealing, defacing another’s property, and other similar forms of deviant behavior as were highlighted in the Youth Today survey mentioned above. 

A given culture would undoubtedly influence the interpretation of where the lines are drawn, but morality is an objective reality quite separate from culture as far as I am concerned.

And when I say that a culture “would influence where the lines are drawn,” allow me to clarify. If a four-year-old boy or girl is sexually assaulted, they have not been immoral. However, their innocence is quite a separate matter from the aspect of defilement, which is clearly wrong.

juvenelson@gmail.com

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