The meaning of morality

By Imran Siddiquee

In Nate Burdick’s Sept. 5 letter, “Religious Morality is Real” it was stated that God’s “moral system,” as seen in Christianity, is “completely conceivable and logical.” Now while it may be very conceivable, universal morality of any kind is not logical, simply because it sets up a model of living that is impossible to achieve.

For starters, it doesn’t make much sense for anyone to tell anyone else what is right and wrong. Each individual is too unique and has too much unique life experience for there to be a universal set of rules for right and wrong. Furthermore, these systems are based on one ideal, when in reality the followers of different faiths are entirely different from each other.

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No one can ever be Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, etc., because not only are these men (none are women) prophets and even gods, but they form the practical model for these religions. Even Jesus, who is considered a god, supposedly appeared in the form of a man, thus offering an example of how man should live. For thousands of years people have lived their lives attempting to follow the rules of others whom they believe they can never be, that in itself seems logically problematic. There is only one set of Ten Commandments, for all the billions of people who have walked this earth.

But this isn’t just a logically fallible system, it’s also a very harmful one. By setting up one universal ideal, you invite your followers to doubt themselves when they fail to achieve it. In fact, the majority of religion is based on promoting guilt as an inspiration for reform. And even if that works for some people, in the bigger picture it has drastically damaged people’s perceptions of themselves. Religions have built a society around self-pity, self-hatred and fear of failing.

Not to say they aren’t models, but we find true inspiration in each other, in the achievements of other human beings.