ON THE ISSUE OF MORALS

Posted: September 28, 2013 in Articles

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

For what does the Soul seekest
If not to choose and be content
But a man slave to his desire
Can not tell between ice and fire
-The Journey of the soul

In 1895, the renowned british poet and playwriter Oscar Wilde was sentenced by a British court to two years of hard labour for the crime of homosexuality. Homosexuality in the Victorian age was a very serious offence. 118 years later British parliament legalised Gay Marriage. Now this has led me to ask: “what has changed in 118 years.” Has the very essence of right and wrong altered within this period. Is True Morals depended on time, or is it another victim of Human civilisation?

Morality according to the BBC English Dictionary (1992) is defined as the belief that some behaviour is right and acceptable and that other behaviour is wrong. The idea of morality is as old as reason and much older than religion. For from the former, spring the constituents of what is and what is not moral, and thus laid the foundation for the later.
As the evolution of man continues, and as modernism and technology keep on accelerating the exchange of different cultures and beliefs, the confines of morality are continuously being reworked and redefined. What were immoral, illogical and abnormal few decades ago are now being viciously presented as normal and acceptable, while ideas and practises formerly accepted as norms are today been criminalised and seen as outrightly outrageous. Hence the question “What is truly Moral?”

Asking “What is Truly Moral” is the same as asking “What is Eternal” or “What is universally the right thing to be do.” This question has plagued philosophers and theologians for millennia, and the answer is ever changing with time and with time zones.
The Religious thinkers will always argue that morality should be judged by the doctrines of Religion, vis a vis by God’s Law alone, or let me add: by some laws that a group of few powerful and organised men has decreed as divine by virtue of they being the few that were (randomly) chosen. But the very flaw in this argument is that there are so many ideas of God. Yet God being God is unchangeable and one, and can not contradict Self, while the religious groups that propounded this laws are numerous like the Children of Abraham, and with sharp differences in beliefs, doctrines and teachings.
An unbiased person judging morality based solely on religious teachings will be forced to conclude that either God is a prankster or confused, or that Man does not understand the voice that calls out in the middle of the night (If you have a house boy named Samuel, you will understand what I mean)

Some have argued that Morality is a State thing, and that the constitution of the state should have the final say in all matters. What the parliament has decreed as law, and what the justice system of the state interprets from it, is right and should be followed to the letter. This group I fear the most, for I believe that the voice of the State is not always the voice of the people, and in extension it is not always the voice of God. What is right is never subject to amendment, it is right because it is the truth, and Truth endures eternally. So too is what is wrong.
This school of thought is the most dynamic, ever changing with change in government. The danger of this State doctrine is that the opposition; those who lost out on power are hardly accounted for (and in democracy, the opposition can be as high as 49%), and second in the case of a tyrant, this may led to court of personality and purge of real and apparent opposition.

The last but not the lest, is those I refer to as the modernist or the individualist. Their moral ideology can be summed up in these lines
“Anything that you do that does not have a negative physical effect on you or on your neighbour or on the animals or on the earth in general is morally right, and even when you do physically hurt yourself or your neighbour, the animal or the earth, and you have a solid inevitable reason for that, or not doing so will bring much more harm to the earth in general, you are still morally right.” This group I am inclined to the most, because I agree that morals should not be by compulsion, else we breed hypocrisy. But my reservation comes from the fact that though the effects of good and evil are mostly physical, the origin of good and evil isn’t. It is usually mentally or psychological (some would say Spiritual, but can they prove it?). A serial killer has to first conceive the idea of killing before he does it. A person who hurts another out of anger has to first endure verbal, mentally or physical abuse, and thus lose hold of himself mentally before he acts out physically. You can’t go about doing good in the world, if you haven’t sat down to plan it out.
Hence morality is not only a physical property, its both natural, psychological and divine. If morality were to be physical alone, then a lot of traditional beliefs will have to be revised. Morality is supposed to make us better and if one does anything good and it does not make one more comfortable physically, then physically speaking, what one had done can not be moral. But since this is not the case, morality then is not solely a physical matter.
The group for the advancement of LGBT right has employed this argument to buttress their point, that their right is not hurting anyone and that it is an individual’s choice or an individual’s human right. They rely heavily on the State to advance their moral theory in the face of Religious and Cultural Opposition, thereby making the State the judge of Morality and in turn elevating the State to a Religion.
I believe that LGBT’s rights do not hurt anyone (for now) but I also believe that it hurts nature’s law, if not scientific laws. This brings me to my own definition of Morality.
Morality is a natural and divine law that separates right from wrong. It requires a conscious act from an individual, and its observation should make a person a better human being. Hence, anything that you do or do not do that does not have a negative physical or mental effect on you or on your neighbour or on the animals or on the earth or the eternal laws of Nature in general is morally right, and even when you do physically or mentally hurt yourself or your neighbour, the animal or the earth or go against the law of Nature, and you have a solid inevitable reason for that, or not doing so will bring much more harm to the earth or to Nature in general, you are still morally right.

Freedom is a good thing, it is the right of every human being and it should be preserved no matter what, but freedom without boundary is not Freedom at all but rather Free Doom. The moral principles that are being propagated today which bases its teachings on individual choice is really disastrous, and if nothing is done about this, it might be the greek gift that destroys the society.
The effects of modernisation know no bounds, as it seeks to reorganise the demography of human rationality. I pity Religion in this regard, especially Christianity, which is the most severely hit by this (seconded only to African Traditional Religion).

In conclusion, I believe that for moral values to be eternal, they must have an element of Religion, State and individual components in it. There must be a noble course, a higher purpose for doing good. There must be a system of physical/psychological reward or punishment for those who abide or break the code. And there must be an conscious act of willingness and choice from the Individual.
If it were to be only Religious, then there will be no room for reason and question, and intimidation, extremism and intolerance will abound. If it were to be only the State, then the “Ogas” at the top and their cohorts can wake up tomorrow and tell us how and how not to breathe. And if it were to be only as the Individual deems it fit, then there will be chaos and selfishness, and there will be no reason to make sacrifice for the good of others when we can cheat, lie, kill, maim and plunder and it will be still okay and acceptable by all. It will be indeed, the survival of the fittest and only the most violent can takest it by force.

Morality is a law, but not a human law that can be altered or amended, it is eternal, and has its rewards and consequences. Morality is an individual stuff in sense that there is always a choice for the individual, he can choose to abide by it or not to. Morality is divine, not in a religious way, but in the sense that it appeals to our human side, our compassionate side to pause and ponder, and to make sacrifice for another.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. LegendaryCJN says:

    My good man,you have revisited an age long debate and argument. I enjoyed reading this, though I find most of your views not really biased, but pin-mouthed, especially your own definition of Morality and Freedom. Arguments or views of this kind is best left on a holistic level. However, my solace came at the conclusion where you stated and I concur, ” that for a(sic) moral value(s)* to
    be eternal,(they*) it must have an(sic) element(s*) of Religion,
    State and individual component in(them*) it.” But when you said that ” There must
    be a noble course, a higher purpose for be a noble course, a higher purpose for be a noble course, a higher purpose for be a noble course, a higher purpose for doing
    good.” I have to chip in that nothing could be more ‘noble’ or ‘purposeful’ than man’s selfishness.
    I’ve always believed α̲̅πϑ have argued vehemently that †ђξ word ‘selfless’ and its derivatives should be wiped out of the dictionary since it has α̲̅πϑ can never be attainable by mortals or immortals.
    A nice read though, but it could still do with a little editing.

    • lyriversity says:

      Thanks my good man, your arguments are always as controversial as they are enlightening.
      I will only chip in a little to what you have written. “No one is perfect except God” but still strive to “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect”

  2. LegendaryCJN says:

    My good man,you have revisited an age long debate and argument. I enjoyed reading this, though I find most of your views not really biased, but pin-mouthed, especially your own definition of Morality and Freedom. Arguments or views of this kind is best left on a holistic level. However, my solace came at the conclusion where you stated and I concur, “that for a(sic) moral value(s)* to
    be eternal, it(they*) must have an(sic) element(s*) of Religion,
    State and individual component in it (them*).” But when you said that, “There must
    be a noble course, a higher purpose for doing
    good.” I have to chip in that nothing could be more ‘noble’ or ‘purposeful’ than man’s selfishness. Even those that claim they are philanthropists, have always done so selfish-ly.
    I’ve always believed α̲̅πϑ have argued vehemently that †ђξ word ‘selfless’ and its derivatives should be wiped out of the dictionary since it has not α̲̅πϑ can never be attainable by mortals or immortals.
    A nice read though, but it could still do with a little editing.
    Well done sir.
    Note: (*) emphasis mine.

  3. Kendzi says:

    Wonderful write man! Doesn’t echo my own view but still superbly done.

    • lyriversity says:

      Thanks Mr Kendzi for reading, we have missed you and your contributions. Please try and read some of our post here, and tell us your take on them.

      NB: we are yet to receive your poem.

  4. kellv says:

    It is a funny thing when you’ve made an essentially religious argument but sidestepped invoking God in the entire piece. I don’t know if it’s genius or fraudulent.

    • lyriversity says:

      Unfortunately God who is one, unchangable and for all has been reworked by man into different, Changable and personal entities. Hence I am forced to ask “Which God are you refering to?”

  5. LegendaryCJN says:

    When you said ₪☺̣̣̥̇ one is perfect except God, are you referring to the anthropomorphic God of the Bible? If yes, then I’d counter you because that God is imperfect. Without being overly religious, and not letting it becloud our objective reasoning, how can perfection beget imperfection? How can something perfect suddenly become imperfect? Is perfection corruptible?
    The questions that perfection raises is unlimited. So I say that perfection is another name for impossibility (most people think they don’t exist).

    • lyriversity says:

      There is a longing in every human heart for something loftier, something higher, purer and perfect. This longing has spured us ahead, made men to do crazy things. It may all be day dreaming and co. But it is better to dream than to spend your life counting down to your grave.

  6. Hmmmmmm voices screaming to be free; thats all i hear…

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