Monday, December 7, 2015

The Moral Continuum

The recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, at the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs and the coordinated attacks in Paris have me thinking once again about morality and the nature of evil.

The way I view morality is as a continuum. Every person's average morality as well as every individual act lies somewhere on that continuum. No one is 100% good or evil all the time (they say even Hitler loved children - at least good Aryan ones) so our average morality falls somewhere on the line.  The key to life is consciously thinking about where everything you do falls on the line.  Killing innocent people? Pretty much at the evil end. Beating your kid? Also pretty bad. Kicking the dog when it is your way? Cheating on your work expense report?  Stealing office supplies from work for your kid? Claiming false tax deductions? Calling in sick when you are not? How about committing perjury or when a lawyer lies in court?

The important thing is that you must reflect on your actions. You must think mindfully.
If you do not think about whether you are acting morally or not, you will likely not.
The most difficult situation for me to understand is when people so delude themselves that they actually believe evil actions are good. Religion has sadly been used more often than anything to justify the killing of innocents. It is highly likely that the perpetrators of the San Bernardino, Colorado Springs and Paris attacks all justified their actions on religious grounds. There is no magic bullet to overcome religious justifications of immoral acts but education along with a culture of tolerance and non-violence would go a long way

But religion isn't the only justification for evil. Hitler certainly did not use it. Nor did Spring, Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly or the others who committed such criminal acts in Spring's divorce of me. For these types of justifications we need just laws and the willingness to equally enforce them.  Fear of getting caught will not stop a religious fanatic but it will stop a criminal, especially a white color one.

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