Monday, August 13, 2007

Most of us wouldn't walk up to a car, break the window, and rip out the stereo. We wouldn't even consider it, or if we did we certainly wouldn't admit it, because we perceive such theft as wrong, unacceptable, immoral, bad, etc. Even those who would steal a car stereo, do so with an understanding that it is generally frowned upon and maybe even with the knowledge it is wrong in some sense. The criminal, however, balances the wrongness of the act against other considerations and decides that on balance the act is justified. The criminal is at least a step or two ahead of the rest of us, at least in terms of approach to the problem. The criminal is not adhering to a hard and fast rule, but balancing many considerations. He or she may not balance these considerations in the way the rest of us would, or in the way the rest of us would like him or her to, but at least he or she is using the right process. The criminal recognizes, at least subconsciously, the importance of context and nuance, and thus is light years ahead of the Christian moral absolutist who would never smoke, drink, marry someone of the same sex, or abort their baby under any circumstances. Both the criminal and the Christian are, through their actions, answering questions about what is right or wrong and why; about what is moral.
From now on, this blog will investigate morality. What is it? Where does it come from? Where should it come from? If it is a product of negotiation, how should that negotiation be conducted and by whom? And on and on. Rather than directly tackling these questions, I will start, in future entries, to look at real life situations with an eye to questions of morality. These discussions should pave the way for future mind numbingly boring definitional monologues. For now, I will depart with the following question which I will keep in the forefront of my mind as I write my entries in the upcoming days. What is the source of moral rules? Is it the bible? Is it the Constitution? Is it the mass of local, state, federal, and international laws? Is it contemporaneous consensus?

No comments: