I started an “Ethics and Education” class the other day. It is pretty philosophical. My problem so far is what is “ethics” and what is “moral” or “morality”? I spent a decent part of the class just looking up these terms in my Merriam Webster app. It appears that these two terms are, at a high level, interchangeable and mean nothing more than a preferred standard of behavior. This immediately begs a few questions. Who is doing the preferring? Presumably this is the largest part of society which may mean nothing more than the noisiest part of society. And then we have to ask what is the source of their standard of behavior? I believe it’s in answering the second question that the can of worms opens. One obvious difficulty could be that your source is your religion and it is simply not a religion that your neighbor shares with you so your morality is different. Then there’s C.S. Lewis’ idea that, at base, all morality’s are the same. That’s a really nice, neat, and tidy idea. I like it, and I do actually agree with it. Of course, there is more than “the base” and it’s when you progress further in your thought, or attempt to apply your theory that things get messy.
More to come. I hope to explore ethics/morality more.
A burden of beauty. This phrase came to me while being overwhelmed at a friend’s dedication to Jesus Christ, and more largely at God’s supreme dedication to man. I sometimes hate reading/knowing these things because they are so costly emotionally. I feel the deepest part of myself being invaded, but is it not also beautiful? I’ll be more specific. When I see my sweet friend speak freely, lovingly, truthfully, and out of true and natural conviction about the best thing in life (God’s love for man), I am forced to look at this blinding beauty. Why does God love me? Why does God love anyone? Why God? A universe without Him is a bit easier, but also unbearably meaningless. So, when someone who commands my respect speaks of the paragon of what it means to be human – to know the source of life, God Himself – my heart is invariably pointed in that direction, my face is pointed towards the sun. And God is not easy. He is demanding. He is perfect. He is partially unknown and thus invariably scary. I prefer to think about cleaning out a vase I just emptied, doing the dishes, warming up the pot roast for dinner, cleaning out my email inbox, reading some Sherlock Holmes, and going to bed. Anything other than God Himself. I guess He wears me out sometimes. A silly thing given that Jesus wanted the “little children to come unto him” and drives His point home by saying that we can only know Him if we can be a child. Well, I can do that! I excel at needing guidance, at requiring another nap (or break), at having 10,000 questions and not always knowing the full ramifications of my own questions or even retaining the ability/energy to wait for the answer. My mother tells me we are all children. Whether or not we know it. I suppose in the Christian ideal, you simply know, and this creates humility.
The Weight of Glory. This is the title of one of C.S. Lewis’ books, and it’s another way of saying what I was saying: a burden of beauty, something which is both “exactly what we would want” but also costly. Why do the best things in life have to be costly?