Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On Morality

Why is morality a big part of my life? What has made me choose a moral path and given me the desire to follow through with it? Morality is not exactly fun, or even easy, but somehow I've taken it on. What is the driving force? Why does my desire to be good outweigh the natural inclination to be bad? Sure, it's good for society and all that stuff, but on a personal level I'm not always sure that being good is enough of a reward, in and of itself. And am I really even that good? I am often afraid my perceived "goodness" is more a result of good upbringing and a privileged life than serious decisions to be the way I am. Let's face it, my life would be much more difficult if I were leading an immoral sort of life. I would have parents chastising me, friends berating me, and general conflict against me wherever I turned. I'd like to think I'm good because I work at it, but I do think my raw material (or whatever you want to call it) certainly makes my job of being moral a whole lot easier. I haven't had to try so hard, and that worries me. I think God rewards effort and sincere desire more than how "good" you are compared to everyone else.

It is also worth mentioning that doing the right things for the wrong reasons is not a true sort of morality. God wants me to BE virtuous; it is not enough to merely perform acts of virtue. There seems to be a good deal of confusion among the two with Christians today, which is probably why so many are accused (and guilty of) hypocrisy.

I believe morality is a series of choices that make up a lifestyle. Each individual situation or choice is not necessarily inherently black or white. Asking the question "Is this right or wrong?" doesn't get me nearly as far as asking the question "Is this the wise thing for me to do?" The key is to make the wisest choice possible and it will add up to be part of my morality. Rationalizing something by saying "it's not wrong" doesn't exactly make it right. The individual choices I make have a sneaky way of snowballing into situations I suddenly find myself a part of. There are points in my life I've stopped to ask "How in the world did I get here?" without realizing that it was a series of choices - not necessarily wrong choices, but certainly unwise ones. It's a like a really long staircase or something - wise choices are steps up and unwise choices are steps down. It is so easy to stay at the bottom and be happy there because you can't see the top from the bottom. It's not until you start climbing and get closer to the top that you start to feel like you'll never get there because you still have so far to go.