Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Universal Nature of Morality

We all take morality for granted. It is something that everyone assumes to be universally true. We treat it as an absolute. All societies have laws protecting human life, all have rules governing marriage and family relationships, all condemn stealing and all encourage doing good to others. This universal moral sense is a telling landmark in our search for certainty.

Some societies enforce morality strictly, while others are lax on one or more points. But within every society there are people who resist the imposition of morality on their behavior in an extreme manner. Examples include Hitler during the holocaust and the political figure-heads that accepted the killing of female babies in some Asian countries.

Usually these aberrations are short-lived, as elements within or outside a society will become outraged enough to rise up and stop the aberrant behavior. Some societies strongly emphasize some parts of the moral code while virtually ignoring others. But despite the variations and distortions, the same basic sense of morality appears wherever humans live together.

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