Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Morality is one of the most difficult topics to discuss in this world. Everyone has different definitions and conceptions on what is good, what is ethical, and what is right. Professions, politics, religions, education, philosophy and others all had trouble in dealing with morality. And there are many questions regarding morality, when moral or immoral, or when is it right or wrong. Of course basic good and bad can be easily seen, but what of the complicated moral issues?

An argument on morality I don’t agree on is “the majority gives the definition on what is right and moral.” Example, if the majority believes that murdering is right and moral, it is so. I find this argument flawed. I don’t believe that morality is an issue of democracy.

Another topic on morality is “the end does not justify the means.” This argument I agree, but I believe the statement is not always true. I believe that sometimes to achieve a greater good, we have to bend the rules a little, because it is the only way. In order to get peace, we have to fight a war. I would explain more later.

I also think that not everything lawful is moral, though I agree we should submit to the law and the government. First example, if it is legal to set your neighbor’s house on fire then it is not an immoral thing? I don’t buy it. Second, you might be on the side of the law but in the eyes of God you are not. Example was when a man came to Abraham Lincoln for a case. The man had a claim on some money or property that can bring ruin to a widow and her children. Honest Abe turned down the case because although the case was technically sound with the law, the morality of the action was the same as stealing from someone.

“If it is against your conscience, then it is wrong.” I agree with this one. Our conscience is heaven sent, helping us in our moral decisions. But sometimes, our conscience does not work. Many of us can fight our conscience. Many even have no conscience when they do immoral things. Disregarding and numbing our conscience is no hard thing, thus our conscience is unreliable sometimes.

Stealing is a bad thing. It is immoral. But is stealing always a bad thing? I don’t know. In the case of Robin Hood, I can’t seem to help but to sympathize with him. Rob the tyrannical greedy rich and give to the oppressed poor. “The end does not justify the means”? What should had he done then? I can’t find another alternative for RH. What “good” thing could he have done rather than steal when Prince John’s government itself is the one that oppressed the poor? Let the poor die in harsh poverty imposed to them rather than steal? To do what is good, he used the unlawful means of stealing.

“Thou shall not kill.” This commandment confused me a long time. What about the professions that requires to kill like soldiers and police officers? Are they then immoral? I finally learned that “kill” means in the proper translation is murder. Killing with intention, malice, hatred and twisted pleasure is wrong. But killing without malicious emotion, through noble and dutiful responsibility and self-defense, I find nothing wrong. But another case study worth pondering is this: What if there is a man who is infested with a virus that could infect the whole world and bring humanity into extinction. Killing him would save the word. But he does not want to be killed, does he runs. Is hunting him down and killing him moral?

Lying is also a sin. But what if you lie, not to destroy, give glory to yourself, or hide your sin, but for love of others and to protect them? I believe that lying with noble purpose is not much wrong. In Little Men, Dan had to lie by admitting a sin he did not commit to protect Nat from false accusations. In the Bible, Rahab had to lie to protect Joshua’s spies. A lie is still a lie, but I can’t help thinking that a noble lie is not really wrong. A story of Corrie Ten Boom’s sister was really amusing. The Ten Boom family hides Jews from the Nazis. And some of the Ten Boom boys were hunted by the Gestapo. They hid under the table, and when the Gestapo asked where were the boys, Corrie Ten Boom’s sister, who cannot lie, said they were hiding under the table. The Gestapo did not believe her and instead went away laughing thinking it was hysterical. A good example that God, when according to His will, never forsake those who tell the truth. But an incident happened again that could have saved the lives of several Jews if she lied, but again she told the truth. This time it did not went well. Or what about in a case where giving a lie can be constructive instead of destructive? That giving a lie may build someone to perform a job well and telling the truth would ruin his performance. Or when the government has to lie to protection of the country and National Security? These questions may make you think when is lying not a sin, or still think that a lie is still a lie; “the end does not justify the means.”

I both agree and disagree with “the end does not justify the means”. Scenario: The only chance a husband can save his wife from certain death is to take her to the hospital fast. The only way to get to the hospital fast is to steal a car. The husband stole the car and took his wife to the hospital. Because of his action, the wife was saved. In a way, his motive justified his act, but – I repeat – but not entirely, he still broke the law and should suffer the consequence the law imposed. As far as saving the life is concerned, what he did was good. Now looking at another viewpoint, stealing the car was bad. It was a sacrifice. He was willing to do a bad thing and suffer for the consequence of the action so that he can do a good. Doing a “wrong thing”, if it is the only way, for a good purpose is a noble thing but it is still up to justice if a punishment should be imposed. Analyzing it, it gets complicated. Unfair? Probably. That’s why I both agree and disagree.

Hot topics on debates on subjects like English and Filipino during my high school years were euthanasia, abortion and divorce. The counterarguments on divorce make sense more than the arguments for it. They should have thought carefully before going into the risk of not up for it “till death do us part”. Abortion? Hmmm. To save the woman from death, it is the only way. But for other reasons? I’m against it. This is no game, why have you got pregnant in the first place? How about because it’s a product of rape? I don’t think it is moral to do another sin in response to a sin (rather keep the baby or sent him or her on adoption). And Euthanasia… I was given the title best debater two times in two debates when I was on the side of the affirmative. What if the person can only live because of the machines? Technically, he is alive. But he is already dead in other senses. It’s not good to waste resources on a corpse made alive by machines when these resources can be used to others who have a chance to live. Too much pain and suffering? If the patient is suffering into sure death and asks to be cut off, shouldn’t we oblige? We are being selfish if we allow the patient to die a painful, inhuman and terrible death. The patient is the one suffering. Those that don’t allow the patient to die a painless death are selfish because they don’t have the strength to let go, to grieve, not because they care for the person. Yes, it is probably suicide. I frown on selfish and cowardly suicides (like suicide bombing of terrorists and killing oneself because of disgrace, problems and cowardice). But this is another complicated case of morality; however, what is clear to me is to let the patient decide for himself.

Again, I say, morality is a very difficult subject. We know right or wrong, but the details of right or wrong we are mostly confused. Thus, there are many times we don’t know what to do. In cases like this, I believe the best thing to do is consult God. Pray, fast if necessary, to have God’s will be revealed and what should we do. Our conscience fails, but God doesn’t. Asking Him for guidance in questions and decisions of morality is the best way. It pays to be close to Him and listen to Him.

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