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The Question Of Morality – By Akasha

31 January 2004 No Comment

We often hear the older generation say, ” In my day this never would have happened” They cite a variety of reasons why such “immoral “behavior did not (they claim) exist then. Many assert that in the past people feared the law, or that they had a greater deal of respect for their elders. Some even go as far as claiming that the belief in God and God’s wrath was the reason why many things not only didn’t occur but why they were not even thought of!

This causes one to ask very pertinent questions. What is it then that “keeps us in check”? What is it that prevents us from acting in a certain way; a way that is regarded as immoral? Are these rules that govern our behavior unassailable? Who decided how an entire society should behave and what are the consequences of such beliefs and control mechanisms?

Morality is defined as ‘principles concerning right and wrong (Heinemann English dictionary. 1988). So now we are forced to ask ourselves another question; is there ever a time when an action that is wrong can be considered right? Or conversely can a wrong action ever be regarded as right? 

Let’s take the issue of murder as an example. A battered wife murders her husband and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. First we are taught that murder is wrong. However, in this case surely it is not wrong at all. Why then punish her for a justifiable action? Take the decision regarding blood donation as another example. It is a known fact that heterosexuals transmit the majority HIV Aids virus. Yet, a homosexual male is not allowed to donate blood at all. The problem of contraception and condoms serves as another relevant example. In order to stem the tide of the Aids epidemic in Africa, many churches claim that abstinence is preferred while at the same time actively propagating that condoms are not really that effective. When one views this situation one has to agree that abstinence is preferred and has its place, yet the reality is another matter altogether. And the reality is that the majority of people are indulging in unprotected sex. In this instance the right message is wrong in places when regarded in its totality. Again we have to question why these messages on how we should behave exist.

Culture has a great deal to answer for. It is our respective cultures that facilitate certain life changes and cycles. All these prepare us for what we are to expect from the scary world out there. However, what is of greater relevance is that we are conditioned to behave in an acceptable manner. The process of encultralisation ensures that a degree of similarity exists in order to make life more predictable. And seeing that things are now stable, polarities – right and wrong, Capitalism and communism, up and down big and small, black and white- now make sense. Polarities by themselves cannot be wrong or right -only our perception that makes them so. A murder in one society might be regarded as right, whilst in another it is regarded as wrong. The only thing that differentiates the two is the thought process involved. Can one ever be absolutely right or absolutely wrong?

On many occasions the Bible has been cited as the definitive source of our moral code.  This is very ironic, especially when one considers that it was the Bible (or the Western interpretation of it) that legitimized the enslaving of between 10 and 28 million Africans!

Centuries ago it was regarded as immoral that any Christian’s body should be cremated. It was also Western interpretation of the Bible that has resulted in the mass repression of Humanity’s sexuality, the consequences of this being sexual deviation. Yet, in society’s others viewed, as “primitive” or “pagan” sexual deviation did not exist at all. The reason being that sex was never a thought of in a negative manner. It was simply regarded as an enjoyable method of celebrating life and producing children. Their thoughts on sexuality are what was the cause for an almost non-existent rape statistic. When one juxtaposes that with the Western statistic, one realizes that something is wrong.

Governments have been perfecting the process of legislating and legitimizing morality for centuries. It is in their interest to do so. And many millions have died or been slaughtered for reasons that at one time where regarded as “moral” or “right”. The ANC activists when planting bombs in South Africa were at one time considered terrorists. Yet now, they are viewed as “Freedom fighters”. Governments use propaganda and out-right lies to demonize any faction of society that it views as unacceptable. Not so long ago the Apartheid government of South Africa considered relationships between the races to be immoral. This idea was disseminated in many if not all White churches. And what one does realise is that especially where governments are concerned – there is always an agenda involved. That agenda will dictate what and who is right and who or what is wrong. Today Arabs and the Islamic religion are being demonized and viewed as immoral simply because a few manipulate the religion.

This blatant hypocrisy is even more evident when one comes to the realization that there are different moral codes for different people or institutions. There are multi national corporations that knowingly plunder and pillage entire ecosystems. However, because they are the ones who control the agenda they are never truly held accountable. Not so long ago the church created the belief that no matter what you did you were going to Hell. So in order to go to a better place (Heaven) you had to do as they dictated. This did not go down too well with the rich. So the Church granted reprieve from purgatory to the very rich if they could fill up the Catholic Church’s coffers with silver and gold. This system threatened to diminish the control the Church exerted over its congregation (who were mostly poor) so they introduced the novena candles that could be easily purchased.
Now, even the poor could not complain. And what was great about this system is that either way the Church get stinking rich in the process and can manipulate millions of people also. 

Morality is nothing more than a set of ideas or principles governing our collective behavior; principles that are institutionalized by our respective cultures, governments and religions. If it is perpetuated and projected long enough and hard enough it becomes sacrosanct and regarded as immutable. Theses moral codes are created in fear and exist so that we as humans will willingly stop thinking and adhere to these codes of “acceptable” behavior. This is a very intelligent devise in that we freely hand over our power to others who we were led to believe are more “right” or “moral” than ourselves. When we no longer think for ourselves we endanger who we are. When we allow others to legislate and moralize on our behalf we loose our humanity.

Written by Akasha for Africasgateway.com


Heinemann English Dictionary. 1988. Oxford London,p696

N.D. Walsch. Conversations with God. Hodder & Stoughton .1998

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