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Moral or Less

There is a weird idea currently running through contemporary society. Perhaps you've heard it. There seems to be this idea that all ideas and morals are equal. The thinking basically goes that well, you make up your morals and beliefs as you go along, and so do I, so why are yours better than mine?

Let’s analyze the moral issue for a moment. Let’s say we have a guy named Craig. One day Craig’s mom asks him to clean his room. So Craig quickly goes and tidies up his room. As he does, he doesn't complain or whine. Now Craig has a friend Bob. Bob’s mom asks him to clean his room. So Bob goes and gets his baseball bat and begins to beat his mother senseless. Hmmmmmmm... Are these really equally valid responses to the situation? Are they both moral?

We know that this is ridiculous. So why are we willing to believe that all systems are equal? The truth is, how do we know what is and isn't moral? Most of us just go with the flow. Whatever society tells us is moral is OK. Thirty years ago alternative lifestyles were considered clearly immoral and today contemporary society considers disapproval of those lifestyles immoral. Does morality change with time? And if it does, doesn't that just show that in 20-30 years people are going to look back at us and think about how backwards and immoral we were? There really is no way to define morality in this system and therefore people invent the idea that all morals are equal. (They themselves, however, only believe it when what you do doesn't affect them or their moral feelings.)

Let’s go even further. Some folks like to admit it and say, "you're right, morals change, but whatever society decides is right at that time is moral." Really? Is that so? I guess then we have to consider the Nazis to be moral. After all, their society decided that it was good to be rid of Jews.

In truth I think this isn't the issue. We all know that there has to be some way to determine what is right or wrong. We can't just go with whatever strikes our fancy at any moment. Morality is a standard. If a standard is changable, then it is not a standard.

Can you imagine going shopping for car tires, only to find that depending on the day you go, the measurements are different? It would be an exercise in futility. Actually finding tires to fit your wheel could happen only by fortunate accident. If morality is changable, then it is only a fortunate accident when an action you or I considers abominable is viewed by the rest of the world as such, for that day, at least.

Fortunately for us, G-d gave us a moral system called the Torah that has revolutionized the world. The morality of every nation has its source there. We just have to realize that its wisdom is above us, and stick to it.

Send your feedback to Rabbi Daniel Freitag and Project Genesis

Some Responses....(maybe you'll see yours up here!)
---Derec
I found your article on "Moral or Less" to be excellent. Everything said is very true, and it just shows how torah really does work in modern day society. There can be uncertainty about any other moral, but not with torah. It's great, I really enjoyed the article. Thanks.
---Mike
Well done.
In my youth this is the issue I struggled with (as a teenager). I figured if G-d did not exist that I was free to do whatever I wanted to do. However, if G-d did exist it was my responsibility to seek G-d out and follow the rules. Sounds sort of simplistic but it certainly worked for me. I concluded, thankfully, that G-d did exist and my journey some years back led me to Judaism.

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Copyright © 2000 by Rabbi Daniel Freitag and Project Genesis, Inc.

 






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