Saturday, September 11, 2010

What is morality?

What is morality? Not any easy question to answer although my old Webster dictionary takes a stab at it and says it is, "conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct." Boy, that tells us a lot.
Injecting the word conformity into the definition doesn't sit well with people who want to be free. It doesn't sit well with people who consider themselves to be artists. While we all agree there are rules that should be followed, the problems start when we decide we don't like some of the rules.
Most, I would hope all, agree people shouldn't go around committing murder, rape or robbery, although we might fudge some of the definitions of those words. But our confusions and problems mount in direct portion to the number of rules we are confronted with. Each religion and all governments have their long, seemingly endless list of rules. Do we really need to follow all the rules to be a moral person?
None of us wants or even can be perfectly moral when we are told we must follow all of the millions of rules, laws, policies or whatever you want to call them.
The way I see it, when confronted with the millions of rules, laws and policies, we can become frustrated to the point where we are tempted to say, "The hell with it. I'm damned. I'm a sinner. I'm a criminal. I am a lousy, immoral person." When that happens all hell can break lose.
So what to do? Sorry. I don't have a silver bullet answer. It would be nice if governments and religions would clean their houses of the far too many laws and rules they seek to impose. It would be nice if they were to recognize that people are human and when you restrict them of their wants and needs, bad things can start to happen. The brain blows a fuse and the person goes crazy.
Realizing governments and religions are not about to change from being the control freaks they are, the best I can suggest is pretty much what Jesus said. Love your neighbor as (you should) love yourself and practice forgiveness towards both yourself and your neighbor.

1 comment:

  1. Comment continued

    Thanks to all who have stopped by and a special thanks to those who commented.
    Looking back at my own post, I would like to add a comment.
    There are some writings in the Old Testament that I believe can shed some light on this subject. In particular, I'm thinking of Adam and Eve who decided to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
    Forget about whether or not this is a true story. True story or not, it points to a major problem we humans have. If you look at the story carefully, you might ask why would they (we) want to know the difference between good and evil - and why wouldn't God want them to know the difference? Maybe because God knew that knowing the difference would only make their lives miserable?
    To jump forward just a bit in the story, the first thing Adam and Eve discover after gaining this precious knowledge is their nudity. Then they run to find a couple of fig leaves to cover their sexual organs when they hear God approaching. If you aren't laughing by now, I think you should be because God doesn't seem to have a problem with their sexual organs being on display. They have a problem and their real problems begin because they are ashamed of what God has created. They are ashamed of being human.
    Jump way forward and the only laws God ever gave are the Ten Commandments as written - not interpreted but as written. It is we who burden ourselves. As we reach for the stars to become something more than human, we dig our own holes and feel more and more dirty about being human. We long to become pure spirits and fail to appreciate existing in the flesh and blood. Yes, being of flesh and blood does mean that we will die. But without flesh and blood, we would never have even been. It's as though we search for what isn't and reject what is - all because we chose to see only darkness and never the light.