Sunday, August 28, 2016
MORALITY CAN BE A MATTER OF RELATIVE MORALITY OR SITUATIONAL MORALITY OR ABSOLUTE MORALITY. Philosophers And Ethicists And Atheists And Hypocrites All Believe In Situational and Relative Morality. Absolute morality is too restrictive because this requires things like equality, equity and justice to be upheld as virtues.
Religion defined as the quest for the truth differs from what people in general believe religion to be. Most people appear to view religion as some cultural vestige which is of no relevance to them apart from being the cultural milieu into which they were born—an event they participated in of which they had no say. A person born to Roman Catholic parents, at birth, did have a choice of being Orthodox or Calvinist or Zoroastrian or Islam or Hindu or Buddhist. At least, nobody I have met has made such a claim.
If religion is merely a tradition that one accepts as being one's birthright, then that is really cultural and not true religion, even though many people claim it to be religion.
People throughout the eons have been born into various religious traditions and practiced the cultural aspects of that tradition. They just do not get into the god-thing because they do not believe it necessary. They may be agnostics, or even atheists. Nevertheless, in order for those individuals to be accepted within society, they tow the party line, so to speak.
How does this shape their morality?
Morality can be defined as the standards that are considered acceptable for human behavior within a community. A community can have different codes of behavior which to another community appear horrific. For instance, many communities of the world would consider the practices of cannibals abhorrent. The cannibals would see these practices as perfectly legitimate behavior for strengthening their community, for they only devour the flesh and drink the blood of their perceived enemies.
On a slightly less grotesque note, today, Muslims practicing Sharia Law seeing nothing wrong with beheading and chopping of the hands of infidels who refuse to accept their tradition; or, who as members of their belief system, transgress certain codes of behavior. Pacifists see this behavior as abhorrent and immoral.
Sikhism is a blend of Islam and Hinduism. Yet for a Sikh male to cut his hair or not wear a turban in public is to violate the tradition of Sikhism. This is similar to women having to wear hats in some Christian denominations or many of the practices that are observed still among the Amish in North America. The individuals have no choice but to comply if they are to remain part of the community. These are codes of behavior that really have no bearing on what true morality concerns.
True morality is about relationships between the Creator and humans. Many accept the Golden Rule as adequate to explain morality, because it possesses a universal essence that is found throughout every community, even among cannibals. Even the commandment of Jesus for His disciples to love one another so they might be distinguishable as His disciples is communal—even though it is not necessarily inclusive of those outside the community.
Cultural traditions and expectations shape behavior and morals irrespective of what religious heritage a person may be born into. This applies to the Japanese, Chinese and Sudanese as much as it applies to those who identify as Aborigines, Gypsies and North American Cree.
When we speak of true religion and true morality, this becomes another matter. True religion being the quest for the truth is about seeking, finding and relating to the Source of Life, the Great I AM, the One Who Exists and besides Whom there is no other. This is not a cultural matter, this is an individual quest that comes from a desire to know why we exist. Once established, then morality has to do with the relationship between the Individual and the One Who Lives and within Whom the Universe exists. This need not negate a person's relationship with other people; in fact, one would expect an enhancement within relationships and deeper appreciation for being human once the quest is satisfied.
However, in their quest to know the Infinite Omniscient One, many are duped into accepting the interpretation within the cultural traditions as to who the Almighty Creator God might be and what His expectations are of them. This false religion becomes a means by which those in power are able to manipulate those over whom they rule. Consequently, there is a sovereign (president) or counsel of rulers (politicians) who dictate policy which is reinforced through the propaganda unit of priests (or teachers, psychologists, philosophers, economists) and government officials (judges, military officers, etc).
True religion will affect the morality of a person in such a way that death is no real issue to that person, therefore the person will give selflessly; for what counts is knowing the Creator and communicating the Creator's values to others through one's behavior; which is reflective of the Creator.
People are affected by the ultimate ideal or meaning that they appropriate for themselves, to the extent that this will dictate how they relate to their fellow human beings within the community in which they live and derive their significance; not to mention outsiders. Various quasi-religious beliefs do incorporate ultimate ideals (reincarnation into a higher caste, nirvana, virgins in Heaven ) that will shape a person's morality from that which is seemingly meritorious to that which is immoral. Compare the practice of feeding beggars to obtain merit in the next life with the suicide bombing of heavily populated shopping precincts (stadiums, stations, airports) to obtain virgins in Heaven.
Distorted reality is a product of organized religion utilized for political purposes by the ruling class to control the non-ruling (working/slave) class. On the other side of the coin, reality is what each one has to realize for one's self. In so doing, one has to come to grips with the true form of reality through a personal quest to discover the truth of life. This is religion in its pure form. From this quest, morality that seeks the good of all will emanate, even if it means risking one's life to communicate this truth to others.
In which case, religion shapes moral beliefs in many ways.
Distorted religion turns people into hypocrites or practitioners of rites and rituals (and even sacrificial offerings) hoping for immediate rewards and eternal rewards.
Authentic religion is the quest for the truth. Those who believe they have found the truth will attempt to demonstrate this by engaging their fellow humans and expecting to persuade them of the truth.
Those who have actually found the truth may be rather enigmatic in that they may be provocative in seeking to stimulate the unenlightened, possess integrity, be wise as serpents, declare what is just, right and true with passion, but when taken by force because of their message, found to be as gentle as doves, since they do not want to maim people.
Understanding The Only Words Written By God Puts People Ahead Of The Game