What is morality?

What is morality? What is the moral life? We are so used to thinking of morality solely in sexual terms, that we miss the full, deep, broad meaning of morality.  Of course it includes sexual responsibility and obedience to our Creator’s standard of sexual fidelity.  But it is much more than that.  Morality is the concern for the respect of another’s life, well-being, flourishing.  When we injure others, steal what belongs to them, or cause them to fear or be insecure, on the one hand. Or, negatively, when we simply fail to help others when they are in distress and we have the resources and capacity to help.  When we fail to teach others and show them how to flourish, we are acting in an immoral way.  And these inner compulsions regarding attitudes and behaviors toward others are universal.  No society is without them.  This is what the philosopher Emanuel Kant called “the moral imperative.”  It separates human from the beast. It serves to verify one aspect of being created in God’s image, so it is a strong point in Christian Apologetics, the discipline that points to the reality of God and the supernatural dimension.  Morality also calls the Christian to faithfulness in leading others into the Christian way of life.  It demonstrates, as do many other data, the superiority of Christianity and its perfect “fit” in our universal society.  And morality illustrates Paul’s words in Romans 1:19-20, “…what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what he has made, so that people are without excuse.”


Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor

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