Tuesday, November 24, 2009

moral soap

OK.  My last post was a little tongue 'n cheek...

However, there is one word that seems to me to be  within the specific domain of religion yet gets bandied about as if everyone knows what it means: agnostics, atheists, christians and liberals alike.  I'm talking about "moral".

"    of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong"

However, if you don't have preconceived system of "right" and "wrong" how can you use the word "moral"?  It's like wet soap, the tighter your grasp, the more likely it is to evade you.

Muslims know what they mean when they say moral.  So do Christians, Jews, and even Satanists.  But for the word to even be used outside of agreed upon religious contexts seems illogical and even deceiving (that is, in our melting pot culture).

In the general cultural domain, the word we really ought to use is "ethic".

"    the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc."

In our culture, there are only 3 rules:

1. You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn't hurt someone else.

2. Those who are in power over others (i.e. government) must do what achieves the greatest good for the greatest number.

3. Whenever possible, #2 must not have the majority overruling the minority's right to practice #1.

That is our ethic... for better or worse.

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