Morality is concerned with what promotes human well-being and what prevents suffering. – Stephen Darwall
This week has been all out morality, where we get our moral values from and how this affects our behaviour.
Firstly, morality is quite a touchy subject, for me too, and I’ve been challenged to really dig deep into where my morality comes from and how it affects how I act or ‘should act’. This week I’ve been listening/watching many videos which challenge the existence of a God who who developed a moral code for us. It’s been interesting to hear what atheists believe about morality and I can understand that viewpoint but I disagree with it. I’m not going to try argue my case and prove other viewpoints wrong, I’m simply going to write my thoughts about morality. I believe morality and God go hand in hand, so I’ve had to write this post on primarily that.
1. What I believe about morality:
I come from an interesting background, which has given me a real challenge when dealing with morality. I grew up in a broken home, with a mother trying to work as much as she could to bring up 3 girls. I did not get enough quality time with my mom because she was too busy working, so I spent a lot of my time with my grandparents. My gran has a very skew view on morality and she tried to instil racism, unforgiveness, hate, jealousy, and such things. I grew up a very confused child, and all the negative peer pressure didn’t help either. My mom is a strong Christian, and she has always tried to bring us up in a Christian environment, but I never understood it, until I moved away from home to study in Cape Town.
That is where I became a Christian and I challenged myself to redefine my morality a few years ago, and I’m still on that journey. I found out that I believe in something which is called the divine command theory– that morality comes from God. If God doesn’t exist then everything is permitted. There cannot be a ‘wrong’ if there is no ‘right’ to compare it to. That is why I believe that God exists, and it is morally wrong to violate God’s commands. I also think that God’s commands were put in place to promote our well being and prevent us from suffering. Saint Augustine argued that to achieve happiness, humans must love objects that are worthy of human love in the correct manner; this requires humans to love God, which then allows them to correctly love everything else. Augustine’s ethics proposed that the act of loving God enables humans to properly orient their loves, leading to human happiness and fulfilment.
2. How it affects my behaviour:
I believe that human behaviour is determined by our beliefs, and if our behaviour wavers from our belief, we need to redefine it. I know full well that we all do wrong things, and therefore we are not in the position to judge others as we do not have that authority. So, my behaviour or thinking towards a patient is this: “I will not judge you and I have a moral obligation to you because God loves each person the same, and I would like to promote well being and prevent human suffering” with that said, this allows me to treat patients that have done or do things that I do not believe are right. I have a moral obligation to treat each patient to the best of my ability. This is no easy task as I am sometimes challenged by my conflicted judgements. It is a life long journey to be a moral person, so far I have enjoyed the journey, I have been challenged immensely and learned many great things because of it. But, I still have so much to learn.
In conclusion, my desire is to live in a way that promotes positive societal change and the well-being of all and prevents human suffering. I believe I can do this, however small the change, by the everyday choices I make. 🙂