Yesterday, the second day of Lent, we considered the seven virtues, those attributes that lead us toward being moral human beings. We also considered the seven deadly sins, those choices that allow us to act without morality.
But what is Morality? Most dictionaries define it as principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong, or good and bad, behavior.
Today, there are many who don’t give a thought to the morality of a situation. And if they do, the word is twisted with statements such as: “Your morality is not my morality.” Or “Don’t impose your morality on me!”
Every human being has within him or her a set of morals, good or evil, to handle the inevitable problems that come with being a person upon on this earth. And that set of morals is expressed in both individual and universal ways.
Individually, do we pose a threat of danger to others? For example, as parents are we showing morality or immorality through our personal actions? Are we greedy, vindictive, angry, selfish? Because children will imitate, no doubt about that!
Are we moral in our dealings with others–spouses, friends co-workers? Do we lie to them, cheat them, or steal from them?
Are we personally moral to ourselves–do we overindulge in our habits or addictions to the point of ruining our health, messing up our minds?
We can decide to follow the path of Morality or Immorality. We have free will. We can choose evil or good.
Our personal choices will affect our actions in more universal ways, too; for example in a group, a school, an institution, a governing council–anywhere group decisions are made. In this capacity, does our group profess, teach, and insist upon destroying the beliefs of other groups as the means to our own ends?
Today, We NEED universal morality more than ever. By that, I mean discriminating between those things which are inherently good or inherently evil. From the ancient Platonist and Stoics until today, long traditions and great thinkers have moral universalism., of what is good and what is bad. Take as an example, The United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Of course, it hasn’t worked very well! But isn’t that a kind of moral universalism? The morality is that every human being has certain rights. The immorality is when those rights are destroyed. So there is, in humanity, a universal morality.
And Universal Morality must be put into action when a country, or terrorist group with the desire, is able to kill vast numbers of people at a time. The only hope for humanity is a moral system that makes it immoral to hurt other people.
But actually, all this begins with each individual’s daily human choices, those that become habit within us, those that affect others. So–which set of choices are we feeding?