As the father of six children, I frequently am asked this very deep question as it relates to moral values “who says it’s wrong?” This profound question can be applied to virtually every behavior whenever we think of the concept of “good” versus “evil”. When I grew up many years ago, the parental retort was typically a very simple “I did”, strongly stated from both Mothers and Fathers. And that was the end of the discussion.
In today’s more complex world though, when children or adults ask that question, we have a much more complicated answer than “I did”. The reality is we have changed in our society to a point where we question the very foundations of our moral codes; of right and wrong. We created for better or worse the notion of moral relativism which leads to each of us making our own moral judgments based on the relative situation in which we find ourselves.
Years ago, as I was building my financial career, I had very good friend who worked for First Chicago Bank. He and I both lived in downtown Chicago and as a result, we spent countless nights meeting after work, walking to the various bars and restaurants and frequently talking about issues other than finance. One of our discussion topics was morals and how they had evolved in our society. We frequently talked about this issue and we began to relate morals in the context of an individual’s “moral box”. The idea simply is that each of us has a moral box of our own specific size; some are larger, some are smaller. Within the confines of this “box”, we find our moral limits. Ok, that put a visual on how each of us differs, but wait, there’s more to this.
The ultimate question is one of “where do moral laws come from and on what basis are they the rule of law”. Moral law and its’ incorporation into our laws goes as far back as the 10 Commandments, and the Code of Hammurabi. However, in today’s culture, where we question what seems to be the foundation of everything, the question is on what do you base your moral ethic? I have opened up that I am a bible believing Christian and thus my development of moral dogma comes from the texts of the bible. This does lead me to more questions though as a “Christian” as I seek to understand the notion of moral law even in light of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when we have moral questions, I use the Bible as the foundation of my answers. This is my path, and for those who would question me about things moral, I have a foundation here and therefore I am predictable as to my moral beliefs. Now, with that said, I would tell you that I am not as “black and white” as others, and I believe there are interpretive issues with some of the moral laws contained within scripture. Thus, even though I claim to have a basis for my moral judgments, it’s not always as clear as even I would like it to be.
One of the questions that I believe needs to be discussed as we attempt to have pluralism in our religious views and our society as a whole is “from where does a person receive their moral code?” On the extreme of this is the atheist, it must be concluded that there is no firm or absolute moral code and that all morals are subjective and to be taken in context with societal values as a whole. On the other end is the ultra-orthodox church, and that can be either Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, that holds to a very strict interpretation of their faith. An example of that is Sharia Law where recently in Afghanistan; a young couple was stoned because they committed adultery. But either way, on both sides, we have to have some defined method to establish our societies moral codes, otherwise, we move toward anarchy and division which is not a path desirable to most.
The Steve Beaman Group is about helping people travel on the Five Paths To a Transformed Life. Part of that is this spiritual path, and a part of that is understanding our own foundations. Where do we really stand, and where are we really headed. This issue of moral development is but one of the important topics you and I will discuss as we continue our journey’s.
I’m Steve Beaman and thanks for listening.
Steve Beaman is the Author of "Happiness & Prosperity in the 21st Century: The Five Paths To a Transformed Life". He has authored over 100 articles relating to the Five Paths including articles on Financial Prosperity, Emotional Wellness, Physical Health, Intellectual fulfillment, and Spiritual Security. He enjoyed a highly successful career in Economics and Finance prior to establishing The Steve Beaman Group. The "SBG" is an organization dedicated to helping people on their journey of life.