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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 600)...

    I'm a senior at a Catholic highschool (a particularly uncomfortable situation since reading many of the Ishmael books), and in my religion class we have been discussing multiculturalism vs. objectivity. My teacher argues that without God or objective truth then anything is morally permissable and therefore Nazi Germany etc would have to be considered just fine. I replied that in tribal culture that there is/was no salvationist religions and therefore there are/were no "thou shalt not.." laws, and they live/lived much more in peace with themselves and the world than our culture does. My teacher refuses to believe this, so I decided to research it and see what I could find. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can find resources that describe tribal law as constructive as opposed to oppressive (thou shalt not...)?

    ...and the response:

    I've never come across a book specifically examining this matter. (If I had, it would be on my recommended list.) I was able to reach this understanding only by reading many anthropological accounts of tribal life. The example given in The Story of B is based on an account given in I, the Aboriginal, by Waipuldanya, an Australian aboriginal, with Douglas Lockwood. It's long out of print, but you can find copies available in the out-of-print section at Barnes & Noble online. I wish I could provide enough ammunition for you to use to change your teacher's mind, but I frankly doubt that even reading all my books would accomplish that. To be honest, I myself wouldn't argue with her (or him); I've never known anyone's mind to be changed by argument.


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