Archive for November, 2010
Most humans have an innate sense of morality, but where did that idea of fundamental right and wrong come from? In this article I am going to explore the roots of Morality, and how it has come to be a universal standard amongst humans.
First let me define what I think absolute moral laws are. They are actions that when imposed upon another human, would be defined by you as wrong IF that same action was imposed upon you….for example: any human on the planet would judge themselves being tortured for fun – WRONG – that is what I consider an absolute moral law. There are some who have tried to devalue and diminish others humanity in order to view them as less than equal, so the idea of morality does not apply to them, but this is clearly an act of manipulation to take advantage of the weaker mental or physical condition of others and has nothing to do with innate morality.
The roots of morality probably originated with ancient tribal communities, and the sense of each member of the tribe (family) being an equal member of that tribe. In all likelihood this tribal morality would not have applied to other tribes, since in many cases the other tribes would have been seen as a threat to their survival, thus not equal to themselves. As small tribal communities grew into larger groups those same moral laws would apply to all citizens of equal standing in the community. The larger groups eventually grew into civilizations which encompassed a whole race of people whose leaders wrote codes of law applicable to all within their authority.
Different civilizations continued to spread out farther and farther, each always being defined as a particular race of people whose moral laws only applied to those of equal standing amongst their own people in their civilization, barring those such as slaves and foreigners (and sometimes women) from equal standing as humans.
Many great philosophers such as Confucius sought to apply moral laws equally to all of humanity, but those ideas were slow in spreading much beyond the boundaries of their own country. What it seems gave global equality was the Prime Directive of Christ which stated that the Gospel was to be spread into all the world with the declaration that there is neither Jew nor Greek, Male or Female in the Kingdom of God. This concept of all of humanity being equal regardless of race or gender was something that had never been conceived of up to that point….now it was that decree, by one who claimed Godhood that catapulted that concept to the whole human race. The followers of Christ (first from the Jewish race), in turn dropped their belief of exclusivity and went forth into the world declaring all mankind to be created equal. This equality is the premise upon which America was founded: “All men are created equal” (even though it took almost 200 years for that statement to be fully implemented for slaves and women).
What started with the moral laws of individual tribal communities, having no foundation in God per-say was catapulted to global prominence amongst all peoples through the message of Christ. And even though the message of equality for all was greatly distorted by many who called themselves Christians….nevertheless it found its way to be the guiding truth upon which America was founded. So, even if we don’t need the Bible to convey to us our Moral Laws, it can be clearly seen that the pivotal point of the Prime Directive of taking the Good News of human equality to the whole world, spread the idea of Moral Laws from the tribal community to the global community.