The Oxford Dictionary defines the word moral as “A lesson that can be derived from a story or experience, or Standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong” (Oxford University Press [online] 2019). When this is mixed with religion does having faith really determine if you have more morals that someone who doesn’t? A practising Christian would argue that the moral code as defined by the Christian Bible teaches them the difference between what is morally right and wrong. Whereas non-religious people would argue that morals are something you learn or are taught by different people through life skills.
Within the Christian faith, it is taught about the importance of moral code. This teaches them about two important things, loving God and loving people. Through life a Christian makes many sacraments showing their loyalty and trust in God. Following the Christian faith gives you a set moral values and beliefs which are followed through every day. This makes you a ‘good’ Christian. From birth you are taught what is right and what is wrong, but does this actually put pressure on them as a human being to be perfect in an non idealistic world. “We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.” (1 John 5:18).
This is a set of morals and values that were developed over hundreds of thousands of years ago, before technology, conflict and an overall change in society. Something that is deemed morally wrong in past tense compared to something from today’s generation could be completely contradictive to the current society of Christians. In today’s society there is a sense of worry involved as people do not want to let their family, priest or most importantly God down. With current mental health problems arising in this generation it is understandable why many Christians feel this way. They almost feel like if they are not good they are automatically sinners and will live with that guilt even once apologised for. Things from childhood can make adults act out in an aggressive manner towards others, this is when people start to believe this is normal behaviour. Is it the parents fault that the child has been subjected to traumatic experiences or is it then the child’s fault that they think their rights are wrong and wrongs are rights? Are religious people who have been jailed for their crimes still more moral than non-religious people? If they are taught the real differences between right and wrong, then are they expected to not make mistakes so bad they are imprisoned. Following this belief shows how people are subjected to not really have freedom of thought as they are told from a very young age that certain things are right and certain things are wrong.
Richard Dawkins is an English ethologist, biologist and author. He believes morality has no ties to religion what so ever, and he states that “we clearly do not get our moral compass from religion”. (Richard Dawkins, 2015). A moral compass is someone’s ability to distinguish the difference between what is right and wrong.
Up until the 2000s slavery was a normal thing that wasn’t frowned upon and although it was banned in a lot of counties it still happens today with a different outlook. Years ago slavery was just something that happened, but as society changes the moral compass moves when people start to realise that is it actually wrong to do such things and stop it. As the years pass and generations move on, people start to develop their own moral ideas of what is right and wrong which has nothing to do with religion. If the moral compass had anything to do with religion we would still be murdering people for crimes, they did not commit and inequality between men and women would still be an ongoing issue. The moral compass is how generations and societies move on from old beliefs and start to develop their own ways of living the way they believe is right to do. They start to realise and create their own pathways which is a group or individual thing that doesn’t have any connection to religion. Believing in the moral compass gives people more diverse thoughts and allows them think more freely. However, it can be said that this can allow more people to have ‘evil’ thoughts and actions without the consequence of disappointment.
There will always be strong arguments for each side as it is a very controversial subject of conversation. Personally, as someone been raised a Christian and has been subjected to all the sacraments in the religion. I still strongly believe an atheists point of view and I would consider myself an atheist. I have been confronted by many mental health and other challenging problems throughout my life which has made me question how moral our society actually is and will one-day religion be a thing of the past?
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Oxford University Press, online 2019 [accessed 30.01.2019] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/moral
1 John 5:18 Biblia.com, online 2019 [accessed 30.01.2019]
gotquestions.org, online 2019 [accessed 30.01.2019]
Daniel C. Dennett, online 2012 [accessed 30.01.2019]
Richard Dawkins interview, online audio 2015 [accessed 30.01.19]
Psychology Today, Gregg Henriques Ph.D., 2012 [accessed 31.01.2019]
The Boy Who Was Always Alone
Am I a failure? I mean, he has everything. Why does he feel this way? These questions haunted me for days on end. He`s my little boy. Barely a teenager. I knew these years would be tuff, but not as hard as they are now. It`s like his room is his home, his safe place. I sit and try not to imagine what is going through his head but sometimes I can’t help it.
Thoughts like “is it my fault?” and “does he hate me?”. Id shout on him and if he didn’t respond my heart would sink, my belly would turn and it would eat me up inside until I went to check on him. He hated this. Ace had always been an only child, that’s the way me and his father liked it. His father Jack, was killed in action whilst fighting in Iraq. I sometimes felt that he mourned for him… deeply, sadly. Ace`s mental health always bothered his father, like he didn’t know how to cope… I mean do any of us know how to cope? He would deny that he had any problems and it was just a “phase”. This hurt me and would be the topic of majority of our arguments. I regret them every day. When it came to Ace`s 14th birthday, I knew something wasn’t right. Something was off about him and more than usual. He loves birthdays, but not this year.
A sudden sense of fear came over my body, shivers shot through my spine and a huge weight felt like it was on my shoulder. As I crept upstairs to hear an odd sound coming from Ace`s bedroom… I pushed the door with all my strength but it was locked… I never knew he had a lock on his door. I screamed and shouted his name. I hesitated, took a deep breath and kicked the door so hard I dropped to the floor. With blurred vision, I picked myself up and ran over to Ace, his face was blue and he wasn’t breathing properly or responding to my voice. I grabbed him called 999 and raced him in the car to the hospital. The ride there was torture. I felt useless. I am useless. What did he do to himself? My imagination ran wild and I began to think of different scenarios I mean what was I supposed to think. My baby doesn’t want to live anymore. This life he has he thinks isn’t worth living.
When we finally got there, Ace remained unconscious, they rushed him in and left me behind. The nurse led me into a quiet room, but I think it made me worst. I sat for hours pondering and my thoughts were running miles in my head, I hope those doctors help my Ace. He`s all I have left. My baby Ace. These thoughts consisted of happy, sad, anxious and depressing thoughts. Things like fear of his death, if he will recover, what he is feeling, and what is running through his mind. I wonder if he is actually okay and how long he has felt the way he does. He`s so special and unique. From the day he was born he has been my number one concern, I regret not doing ‘normal’ things with him when he was a kid. Things like swimming, playing at the park, visiting family. I never would do any of them as I just wanted to keep him safe from everything but maybe he should have been kept away from me. He doesn’t tell me anything anymore. Doesn’t he trust me? 3 nurses came towards the room. It was bright, colourful and full of life. It reminded me of the room he was born in, one with little elephant flying and bright colours like orange, yellow and red. It made me sad to think that he lives in a dull grey house with curtains shut just in case someone laughs at him, but that was how he liked it so that’s the way it is and that’s the way I kept it. When he was a baby his room was bright blue, he would have toy cars everywhere and train tracks, he would giggle and play outside in our small fenced off garden.
When they finally opened the door a sudden feel of regret filled my entire body. I feel broken. They all sat around me and told me that he had to be stitched on his right arm and he had to have gas and air. I was told I could go see him. When I got here he was stone cold, and asleep. I sat beside him, holding his hands as a smile creeped onto my face. I love him. We got out of the hospital at around 1am, we went straight home. Ace never let me in his room, even in this incident. I begged him to let me go in because of the circumstances but no, he was determined that I not enter that room. He shut the door and I was locked out yet again, the fear from inside of me was so intense I slouched into the sofa and everything began to spin. Like I was losing control of my own life. I can’t remember anything afterwards as I’m pretty sure I passed out.
I woke up on the floor with a warm sensation on my shoulder, my sight was blurry so I couldn’t see much. A black hoodie top is all I could remember. I hoped it was Ace. Could it have been? I tried to get up but as soon as I did the hoodie vanished, like I wasn’t to know it was there? When I eventually got up on my two feet I climbed up the stairs to Aces room. I contemplated knocking the door but instead I had a sudden urge to walk in and there he was on his bed with a book wearing a black hoodie just like I saw. I smiled and he looked confused, he asked me why I was in his room. I couldn’t even answer because I didn’t know why and I didn’t have a reason why I just wanted to see him and smile. I walked out which then caused him to smile. I’m glad I turned round in time. I whispered I love you and he looked at me as a tear rolled down his cheek. I left him be and he said to me softly. “thank you”. From then on I knew how much my baby was hurting and that he was struggling but I told myself I wouldn’t ever give up on him. Not now, not ever.
I knew he was struggling. He never knew I was. Maybe that was the problem all along, I’m too much in my head and not letting him live to his full potential.
Ace went through a couple darker months with his mental health except this time dinner was ate at the dining table, school was no longer a task but rather a place of learning. His dreams of becoming a phycologist was still in his reach. I just hoped that if my attitude changed it wouldn’t be so bad. I finally seen him laugh today. That was worth all the pain.