Morality is a very touchy subject for lots of people. I’d sometimes like to say that morals are very cut and dried but it’s not that easy. I think morals have a lot of gray areas.
Take something as simple as lying. Lying is bad right? But what if the reason you tell the lie is to save someone’s feelings? You don’t want to outright hurt someone so would you always tell the truth if you knew doing so would intentionally hurt someone? I know we’ve all done it before. Don’t lie! Someone (your friend, sibling, significant other) asks you how their new haircut looks. You really don’t like it and think it looks horrible. Do you SAY “It looks horrible!” or do you say “You look great!” or “I love it!”? Or maybe you say something a little subtler
like “It looks fine.” Or “It’s okay”. Either way it’s a lie BUT it’s a lie to spare their feelings so does that make it right? Does the fact that you’re sparing feeling right the wrong? Does a white lie make it any less a lie than a boldfaced lie? I know I’m guilty of that moral gray area.
Say you go shopping with your BFF and they try on an outfit that is totally wrong for them. Are you gonna say “Maybe you should try another outfit?” or are you gonna come right out and say “It makes your a$$ look like the side of a barn!” which might be more accurate but the previous answer might spare your friends feelings. Is avoiding the truth or purposely omitting facts the same thing?
What about theft? We all know if you take something that doesn’t belong to you it’s stealing. What if you “borrow” office supplies from work? I mean, that’s not really stealing… or IS it? Did your boss really tell you that you could take that pen or those Postit notes? Or did you think it was just implied? I mean, everybody does it, right? Okay, say you don’t take office supplies from work. What about taking time that doesn’t belong to you? Say your boss isn’t at work and you take an extra five or ten minutes for lunch or leave a few minutes early. I mean, that’s not stealing or IS IT? You are getting paid for time you’re not working. Or how about those times you are “at work” but checking your personal email? Isn’t that really stealing from your employer? Or reading someone’s blog when you should be working (I see you! Get back to work!)? These are all things that I’m sure most of us have been guilty of at one time or another but most of us never think of it as cheating or stealing…another moral gray area.
I could go right out on a limb (a very thin and shaky limb I might add) and could say I think abortion is wrong. I could say I think its murder. If that’s my humble opinion then I have a right to it. BUT…. If someone were raped and that rape resulted in a pregnancy am I gonna sit there on my high horse and tell an already broken woman that she can’t erase what would be a permanent reminder to her of what happened to her? I might not be able to personally think I could ever agree to an abortion (not that it’s a relevant point since I’m past that age) but that doesn’t give me the right to tell another woman that she can’t. It’s their choice. To me it’s another gray area of morality. It’s not like it’s someone that’s out there sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry and using abortion as a form of birth control. BUT… it’s still abortion. Does that make it okay? Does that mean there is an exception to morality?
What about fidelity? Does the fact that you’re married make it any different than if you’re just in a committed relationship? What if your spouse is a terrible spouse and treats you badly or beats you or even cheats on you first? Does that make it okay for you to seek companionship elsewhere or retaliate? Or let’s go WAY out on that already shaky limb… say by some long stretch of the imagination that you thought your significant other or spouse was deceased and you then had a relationship with someone else or maybe even married someone else and then found out your spouse was still alive? Would the fact that you thought they were deceased absolve you of the fact that even though unintentional, you still were guilty of infidelity? Or worse polygamy? You didn’t mean to do it… but you still did.
And what about murder? If you went out with a handgun and shot someone you would absolutely be guilty of murder. If you got behind the wheel of a vehicle, say after you’d had a drink or two and accidentally ran over someone and killed them I think most people would still say you were guilty of, at the very least, manslaughter (which still means you killed someone). But what if through an accident, maybe a deer ran out in front of you and you swerved and caused an accident and killed someone or even if someone walked out in front of you and you hit them and killed them; would you still be guilty of murder? Most courts of law would not hold you accountable (I wouldn’t think) BUT… you still took another person’s life. Worse yet, say someone were trying to kill you and somehow you overpowered them and killed them but it was completely in self-defense. Again, I don’t think any court would convict you of murder but you still took a person’s life so are you really guilty?
There are so many scenarios in so many areas in which we could talk until the cows come home in which we could convict or absolve each other but I don’t think that’s really our place. I think morality is full of gray areas and I think all of us, whether we like to admit it or not, live in those gray areas. I have met many fine and upstanding people in my life whose morals no one would question but I bet every single one of them in some aspect of their lives has “committed a sin” in some respect or other. I don’t think anything in life is black or white. I think there is always “wiggle room” and most of us have wiggled in some area whether we want to admit or not, even to ourselves.
This totally confusing and ambiguous post has been brought to you by Sprite’s Keeper and The Spin Cycle. Don’t blame me… it’s all Jen’s fault! Would you like to put your two cent’s worth in on morals? Hope on over to Sprite’s Keeper and spin away!