Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pondering The Variability Of Morality

I have always been much more reserved than most. Also, I have always been what most people, especially religious, would classify as the more obedient type. Why? Did mom and dad instill this tendency in me? If so, why does this instillation so often fail in others?

On the other hand, why do many with every known setback somehow shake themselves from adversity's grip? Something far beyond anything imaginable is going on behind the scenes. Might God explain this? Possibly, but not very well in my opinion. Why is there such variation in peoples' ways if only one way or a few is considered morally acceptable?

With this then, a person with an “acceptable” nature seems to be the lucky recipient of a transcendent, unconscious compulsion granted by God. Conversely, a person with an “unacceptable” nature seems to be nothing but a slave to a transcendent, unconscious compulsion apart from Him. How does this reflect on God? Seemingly not very well. If He is the ultimate explanation for this disparity, then it seems we can not avoid implicating God for “unacceptable” natures.

I think one of the many reasons I initially “found” God was that it was convenient to who I already was. Not to say I think or thought myself to be perfect by any means, just that I was naturally more the “obedient” type. So in effect, this “obedience” gave me an easy segue into the moral framework that is inherent in most religions. Hence the likely reason I chose Christianity.

Now many will adopt Christianity (or something similar) only because they are so disobedient! In this sense, it encourages and prods them to become better people only upon their having chosen to become better people! What about those that have no compulsion to become better people? Are they likely to turn to a religion or ideology predicated on a high moral standard? Probably not. For if they do, they will likely be ostracized if they do not get their acts together sooner as opposed to later.

So in Christianity (or something similar) there is ultimately a moral standard to embrace at some point. Upon accepting Christianity (or something similar), most will either 1)be moral already, 2)be actively working toward this higher moral standard or 3)be immoral and make no attempt to address their moral bankruptcy. 

These people 3)that are immoral and make no attempt to address their immorality will either stay or leave. If they stay and are “accepted”, they will likely be “accepted” by the congregation just enough so as to make them appear non-judgmental. But will many in the congregation make much of an effort to “fraternize” with these “non-conformists”? No. Many of them will justifiably feel concerned they might be implicated in the behaviors of this immoral bunch. Furthermore, birds of the same feather tend to flock together. So it seems bad people forever destined to be bad are excluded from anything built on a high moral standard. As it should be, in my opinion.

However, I don't see God in this. I see 1)“already” good people, 2)bad people earnestly seeking goodness and last, 3)those that have no compulsion and feel no obligation to better their character. Where might God be in this? Why are the “wretches” seemingly left in the deep end without any “guidance” from God? Free-will? Why do the “other” bad people seek goodness? In the same way, why were the “already” good people “already” good? Free-will might sound pretty tempting if you are one of the bad earnestly seeking goodness or one of the “already” good, but what if you are left in the deep end without any “guidance” from God?

An interesting corollary to point out is how arbitrary explanations become when assessing an individual's behavior. As a very obedient and respectful person, I believe my character stems from myself. I say this with neither pride nor shame, rather just to say that it is what it is. Now it's interesting where many believers in God go with this. "Kurt, you're being arrogant and taking credit for something GOD gave you!" Hmmm..... So apparently God failed to "give" this gift to others? If this is so, what gives anybody the audacity to judge "bad" people ONLY BECAUSE GOD FAILED TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE GIFT OF "GOOD" CHARACTER?

Furthermore, if God is in any way responsible for one's character, WHAT BECOMES OF HIS FREE-WILL?

1 comment:

  1. When we define a person as good or bad we are making that distinction in our own minds however the reasons that we differentiate them in that regard are most likely built on assumptions and norms dictated by culture. That isn't to say that there isn't such a thing as absolute truth; it is just a little arrogant for us to think that we can fully understand it and apply it. A person who is more concerned with the consequences of his or her actions than they are their wants is naturally going to be more obedient. A person who does not worry about such repercussions will on the other hand be more prone to break rules especially if those rules conflict with what that person sees around them. A little yeast works through the whole batch, which is why very few people drive the speed limit on the interstate. As far as God is concerned, He created everything and designed us to do what we do(genetically) It is commonly believed in psychology that a persons genes have a huge impact on the kinds of decisions that they make. Basically he created us to be who we are so to blame him for our choices is to deny our own identity.