Search this blog

Moral education serves at least five purposes, according to J. Budziszewski:

  1. It reinforces what we know, because the mere fact that we know something is wrong is not enough to keep us from doing it.
  2. It elicits what we know, because we know many things without knowing that we know them.
  3. It guards what we know, because although deep conscience cannot err, surface conscience can err in all too many ways.
  4. It builds upon what we know, because only the most general and basic matters of right and wrong are known to us immediately, and second knowledge must be added to first.
  5. Finally, it confronts us about what we know, because sometimes we need to be told “You know better.”

—J. Budziszewski, What We Can’t Not Know: A Guide, rev. ed. (Ignatius Press, 2011) p. 124 [my emphasis and formatting].

View Comments


5 thoughts on “5 Purposes of Moral Education”

  1. I like number 2: it elicits what we know. Too often I find myself leaving things unsaid because I know that others know them… particularly in a preaching context. But this reminder remedies that mistake. Time to begin eliciting!

    1. I agree. Worst preaching I ever received was ‘never tell people what they already know’. I think we need to hear again and again what the Story is and how we should then live in light of it.

      1. * I meant to say ‘worst preaching advice…’

  2. Gary says:

    #3 states: “deep conscience cannot err”. Really? I guess i’d need a better definition of “deep” conscience, but I’ll stick to Scripture as my source of Truth and what is or is not error, thank you very much!

Comments are closed.

Search this blog


Justin Taylor photo

Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

Justin Taylor's Books