Essay number twenty one: by The Midnight Writer
As individuals, we begin to develop our sense of morality the day we are born. With good parenting we quickly learn the importance of individual responsibility and common sense. It is unfortunate that we are not all blessed with parents that set a good example. I was! That does not make me superior to anyone else. It just means that others may have to struggle harder than I did in order to find inner peace.
If you have not found inner peace then you need to find the courage to challenge your beliefs. Thomas Jefferson stated in a letter he wrote to his nephew; “Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are serviley crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blind faith.”
Thomas Jefferson was not questioning the existence of God. He was a devout Christian. He was telling his nephew to have the courage to build his faith and morality on common sense rather than blindly accepting the word of others. That is what I try to do and what I recommend to all who seek inner peace.
A religious life built on common sense will supply you with the moral compass needed to guide you through this confusing life. Common sense tells us that it is wrong to murder. Without common sense you get religions that believe it is okay to murder innocent people just because they disagree with you. No one should accept a dogma that teaches violence against those who disagree with you.
Build your beliefs on common sense. There are many things in life that we justify when we know, with close examination, we should not be doing. We know that it is wrong to steal yet we take things that we know we have not earned. We know that it is wrong to lie and yet most people cannot get through a day without lying to someone, especially themselves.
I cannot address morality without addressing sexual behavior. Promiscuity is wrong. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s wrong. Looking at the plethora of negatives associated with promiscuity it is obvious. It is unnecessary for me to list all of the reasons why promiscuity is immoral behavior. I’m sure you can come up with a whole list without my help. Yet, living in a hedonistic society, it is difficult to be honest with yourself and set a positive example. It is wrong to live your life with the attitude that if it feels good, do it. If you can’t see the truth in that then you are lying to yourself in order to justify your actions.
Having a moral code that you believe in is not enough. You have to have the courage to live your life according to that code. Not living according to your beliefs will always produce negative consequences. You can’t escape that darn karma thing no matter how cleaver you may think you are. If you find the courage to live by a moral code, that respects both yourself and others, you will discover that you are on the road to inner peace. There could be no greater reward in your life. There could be no greater gift to offer the world.
I believe that a moral code must have a clear understanding of human rights. Our rights exist on two levels. The rights given to us by God and the rights we possess living in a civil society. I believe that the Ten Commandments give us an understanding of our God given rights. I also believe that civil laws, if they are to be moral laws, should be guided by a clear understanding of our God given rights.