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Morals I: The Good, The Bad, The Undecided

This article is about respect and how we can approach others better with respect. We have to lay all aside and respect one another's differences and freedoms. Let us stop encroaching upon the freedom of choice and allow others to be who they want to be.

We write to a diverse audience here. So sometimes when discussing morality, it is easy to speak from a one-sided understanding of morals and ethics; good and bad, etc. But whether Atheist, Muslim, Eastern Religions, Judeo-Christian based religion, or other besides what I have named, we all have some sort of moral code written into our day-to-day interactions and how we lead our families. Regardless of the point of view that we hold, we must respect all others.

Psychology Today Staff Article states, "Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg established his stages of moral development in 1958. This framework has led to current research into moral psychology. Kohlberg's work addresses the process of how we think of right and wrong and is based on Jean Piaget's theory of moral judgment for children. His stages include pre-conventional, conventional, post-conventional, and what we learn in one stage is integrated into the subsequent stages. The pre-conventional stage is driven by obedience and punishment; the conventional stage is when we accept societal views on rights and wrongs; the post-conventional stage is more abstract: Your right and wrong is not my right and wrong."

I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about monitoring what our children watch. Obviously, we all agree that parents should be able to monitor what their children watch or experience through the medium of the internet and that our kids learn much from the entertainment sources that internet apps and TV programs have to offer. If we consider the learning curve of 3 stages of learning morality above, Then it is important that we recognize, this means within the social construct of America, and many other countries, there is the Right, and the Wrong, but also the Indifferent... We may not agree on what is right and what is wrong, but we want our children to learn about the boundaries between those two points on the moral, ethical continuum. We certainly don't want our kids learning the indifferent way of doing things first.

What is considered indifferent? Well, we will not all agree where those boundaries lie either. As I said in my previous article, it is our responsibility to protect our own children from media that may expose them to psychological harm which could drastically affect their mental growth. I understand that the implications of this position will vary among parenting styles and religious backgrounds, but I come back to my previous statement - we all need to learn to respect one another. That doesn't mean that we will all agree with one another, or even appreciate the same things, but we cannot continue attempting to silence every group when we don't like what they believe.

Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Bernard Gert wrote Definitions of Morality for Stanford Encyclopedia, he says, "One way of understanding the notion of endorsement is as advocacy. Advocating a code is a second or third-personal matter, since one advocates a code to others. Moreover, it is consistent with advocating a code, that one does not plan on following that code oneself. Just as asserting something one believes to be false still counts as asserting it, hypocritical advocacy of a code still counts as advocacy of that code. When endorsement is understood as advocacy, it can be used in definitions of morality, in the descriptive sense, as long as it is the morality of a group or society. And advocacy can also be used as an interpretation of endorsement when providing a definition of morality in the normative sense."

All peoples have belief systems and religion. Webster defines religion as "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith." If you believe in something and you hold to that belief with ardor and faith, then you have a religion. Maybe science is your religion, maybe person's in power, or politicians hold your highest stake of belief. Regardless of what it is, you have that belief and it is your own personal religion. The great thing is that you have that FREEDOM!

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Here's a formulated narrative to consider when you are questioning someone else's beliefs or when others are questioning your beliefs:

If a group, or an individual, believes that they shouldn't eat pork because they are Jewish or Muslim, is it ethically justifiable for anyone to try and force them to accept that pork is centric to Western culinary culture and that it is something that is good to eat? One party believes that everyone should be allowed to choose what kind of food they eat. Those who are not eating pork might seem ridiculous to this party. But to the other party, this is a highly valued tradition and religious foundation of belief system, rights, and culture.

So, then do we begin labeling their neighbors, friends, family members and coworkers, who support their beliefs, as "haters" of the other party?

If we're not careful we will get caught in a loop of non-sense. You believe what you believe, I believe what I believe. This is how a species survives. Let's be civil with one another and hold this world together with RESPECT.

Thank you for reading!

Ramzi Elassadi

The Editor



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