Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Don’t take the shortcut

Here’s a fun subject—morality.

I’ve been thinking about what makes something moral or not. It’s very tough to tell sometimes, since it seems to very much depend on conditions.

For example, driving through an intersection is fine if the light is green, but wrong if the light is red. The drive-through doesn’t have any moral weight on it in and of itself. It’s the external conditions of red/green that give it a moral value.

Taking a piece of candy at a store is okay if it’s in a dish by the cash register, but not okay if it’s on the shelf and marked for sale. Picking a flower is okay if you’re out walking in a field, but not okay if you’re at an outdoor mall.

So what about the *big* moral questions? Do the same rules apply? I think so.

Lying to your spouse feels okay to most if it’s about their appearance or their success. Even if you think they don’t look that great right now, or if you think they did just screw up at work, you’ll instead say the opposite in order to be encouraging. Some would call that diplomacy rather than lying. However, lying to your spouse about where you were last night doesn’t cut it. And lying under oath is never okay, as a recent president found out.

To me, then, it’s the conditions surrounding the moral choice that have to be examined.

So now I’ll leap to a big subject, which for some reason has a lot of us confused—sex. It seems like such a big deal, but to be honest, I think it falls in the same category. Sex in and of itself has no moral weight on it. It’s the surrounding conditions that make it right or wrong.

Of course, there’s not a lot of agreement about the surrounding conditions. However, I think we’re on the right track if we’re actively trying to elevate those conditions. For myself personally, I’m looking at marriage as the proper condition for me to have sex again. I want to put the time in to get to know someone, to let the love and trust deepen, to make the commitment, before I indulge the physical side. Anything else would be a shortcut.

So it occurred to me as I was thinking about all this yesterday that another definition of “sin” could be “taking a shortcut.” Sin could be thought of as taking the enjoyment or benefit before we’ve earned it. The enjoyment or benefit isn’t evil in and of itself, it’s our own timing about when we partake of it that makes it strengthening or detrimental to our spiritual progress. We need to wait for the light to turn green.

I’m just reasoning this out in my rambling kind of way. Would love to know your thoughts.

p.s., It’s a well-known fact about bloggers that they LOVE to have people comment on their blogs. So feel free to do so any time!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 6/21/2006 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sin could be thought of as taking the enjoyment or benefit before we’ve earned it."

When I read that I immediately thought of FOOD! Eating is okay, but doing it before my body has "earned" it -- using the previous meal as fuel, I suppose --would be gluttony.

By the way, just want to again say how much I enjoy your daily essays. You are SO creative and have such a lively thought.


At 6/21/2006 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Brittany said...

I thought today's blog was really interesting. Perhaps you can help me reason how the "short-cut" explination fits in with a moral dilemma that I'm working on. I am taking a trip to Europe this fall going all over to contries like France. This is where I have my issue. France is known for their wine and I am really interested in seeing what all the hype is about. I am of legal drinking age in the US so it wouldn't be like I was cheating US laws by drinking in a country that allows it at a younger age. So what is my dilemma really you ask? I know MBE teaches that drinking is not a good idea because it messes with your mental defenses. I would like to respect that. But I'm still curious. I have always had pride in the moral standards that I have maintained for myself because I'm a Christian Scientist (ie no drugs, alcohol, sex, etc). Would it be against my moral standards that I have set for myself as a Christian Scientist to go, say, to go to a wine tasting show in France? Is that a short-cut? You mentioned that you have to "earn" sex, how would that apply to drinking? Can you ever earn drinking? Help!

At 6/21/2006 03:45:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

great question, Brittany! I think I'll put it on the blog tomorrow and see what everyone else says.



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