Morality

Well I missed writing yesterday. I had  a good excuse though. Went on a mini road trip with my friend Murry who has just returned from the another hemisphere! Anyway. Morality.

I consider it an evil though often a necessary one.

What I mean by morality is a system of rules defining what is a good or bad action in any situation.

Like Edmond Burke’s idea of prejudice I believe morality is necessary in that if we were to consider each action we take deeply we would probably end up getting stuck in bed taking hours to consider which side we should get out of…

My problem is with people’s desire to use the generic rules for everything without exception. For example it is always wrong to kill someone or have sex outside of marriage.

I accept that someone through consideration might decide that for a general rule they will decide not to kill people but I think that if they then refuse ever to consider that it might be the loving thing to do then they are giving up their responsibility to love.

In particular I believe static moral system removes the need to perceive people as people. If you believe that it is always bad to have sex out side of a certain kind of relationship you never have to consider the unique needs and joys of the actual people involved. This static moral system removes the need to see people.

I think we are not nearly good enough at seeing people and I think this domination of static moral codes is a big part of that. It fits in well with the cookie cutter economy we live within…

I think the major point of Jesus healing on the Sabbath was that when we stay connected, in a loving way, with the real needs of the world around us then we will find ourselves breaking the accepted mores of our culture and even the general rules that we have for our own behaviour.

The rules must serve the good of the world not the other way around.

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3 Responses to “Morality”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    That’s a great last paragraph – implications of Jesus’ Sabbath healing. It’s a scary thing in practice to love without absolute moral rules to fall back on when the going gets tough. Some people say that Jesus could heal on the Sabbath, let prostitutes touch him, that kind of thing, because he was god – he knew what he was doing, he still had a moral framework in mind, it was just slightly different from ours. But I wonder if maybe not, maybe like us, he was lost in the dark, relying only on god – a dim light ahead – to guide him – rather than falling back on a moral code to keep him safe.

  2. Heather Says:

    So true!

    I came across an interesting interview today with NT Wright, where he was saying that following Jesus isn’t about following a morality code. However, the point I found interesting was that he also said it wasn’t about following your spontaneous heart instincts either (not that you said it was, but it seems like an obvious alternative to a rulebook). Instead, he talks about character formation – reminding me of Richard Foster at TSCF conference (in 1995, I think) talking about soaking yourself in the gospel so that you can move in the free rhythms of grace. The regular discipline of coming to God transforming you so you can find the loving, just, Godly thing to do coming more and more naturally over time.

    The NT Wright thing is here if you’re interested:

    http://www.readthespirit.com/explore/2010/3/9/637-bishop-nt-tom-wright-interview-on-true-characterafter-yo.html

    @Charlotte I’m interested in your musings, too. I find it hard to think of Jesus as “lost in the dark, relying only on god – a dim light ahead…”. Jesus was fully God, as well as fully man, so I don’t see how he could of been in the dark. I think he did have a ‘moral framework’ in mind. It’s one we have access to, two, although it’s not necessarily the one we reach for first. It’s “love God with all that you have and are, love people with all that you have and are”. All the other ‘rules’ are trying to flesh out what that means, but they aren’t the real rules and are very open to being wrong in particular circumstances.

    –Heather

  3. Charlotte Says:

    Thanks, the NT Wright thing was helpful, because yeah it can get messy just following your heart!

    With the Jesus lost in the dark thing, I just watched The Passion at Easter again, and so I was thinking of that scene when he’s praying in the garden at Gethsemene. If he really knew fully what was going on, what was going to happen, rather than letting god guide him, one little step at a time, I don’t think he would have been able to pray and ask god genuinely ‘take this cup from me’, but in the end ‘your will be done’. I guess i was just getting at, maybe we focus more on the godliness of jesus rather than the man-ness because its less disconcerting. But i remember watching that scene, thinking wow, maybe jesus experienced some of that pain too, of trying to follow god, but not fully knowing what was going on. And that for me was reasurring – jesus entering into our humanness.

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