Sometimes it’s so easy to label people when we see them make huge mistakes, such as news headline worthy gaffe by public servants, broadcast personalities and politicians. When politicians steal on the national coffer, or a well-known celebrity does strings of marriages, we have a ready criticism to throw right away.
But have we looked lately at the mirror, and subject our life into strict scrutiny as well? Can we ourselves survive our own set of moral standards we lay for other people?
Are we strictly following our own set or moral rules, and can say to anyone watching… “I am a morally upright person”.
Has our life been sailing smoothly, or we also have our shares of struggles that we can say we were never exempted from choosing between right and wrong in sometimes extremely awkward situations — especially when no one seems to be looking.
Are we able to comply to the commands of our own religious beliefs, and not for a single moment stumble, especially when going through tough times?
People do not necessarily lose their faith in God just because they unconsciously live a life of selective morality.
Nevertheless, the question is … how do our morals endure in our everyday life, when we are faced with various temptations?
Is faith in God the reason for a person’s morality or it is his survival instinct that keenly guides him into it?
A person may be guided with a moral standard that was ingrained to him as a child at home and through his formal education. However, when he is challenged by situations that seem to be coming from different directions, and he has only two hands to accept it or counter it — he will consciously loosen his moral standpoint on things so he can accomplish what needs to be done.
That is when selective morality occurs.
Sometimes he also does it to help other people, like for instance a news story in the US about a police officer who caught a mother stealing eggs in the grocery so she could feed her children. Instead of arresting her, he gave her some groceries to help her, and did not file a case against her.
Selective morality only occurs in democratic countries because; people tend to be more lax and treat people with greater compassion because human life is far more important than upholding airtight moral laws that already borders in human perfection.
There is no severe punishment for every little offense, such as dressing up as we please, or venting out on social media.
Morally challenging situations may not necessarily be big compromises, but when it does present itself, we sometimes choose an action, which goes well with our situation, or immediately accomplishes our goal. And so we set aside our own personal moral standards and practice selective morality.
In addition, most of the time, our emotions dictate us which action to take, because when we feel good about it, or that decision releases us from stress, we already deem it as a qualified solution.
On the other hand, subjects as life changing as premarital sex, divorce, abortion, death penalty, homosexuality, and same-sex marriage stem from how much people are exposed to the issue.
These issues are the most divisive topics as far as morality is concerned, because it is very personal in nature.
If we are personally experiencing it, or we have a friend, family member, or knows someone close to us who are experiencing one of these things, our take on the issue changes considerably.
In most instances, upbringing, training, or religious beliefs will take a back seat, so people can embrace their loved ones who choose to go the other way.
The moral standpoint and emotional connection of an individual are strongly linked together. He will only practice which is closest to his heart. If it frees him from mental burden and emotional distress – he will decide it to be a morally correct undertaking, although he knows by his fundamental understanding that it is still wrong. He will always take the side of someone he loves.
People may believe in God, and have a personal and special way of linking to God, which may be a yearly penance, a deep devotion or a personal sacrifice. It is still their personal consequence in life, which will gear them towards selecting a moral action — which is convenient to them, or which gives them immediate and better results.
Like for example, piousness in times of religious activity for some will not stop people from taking on vices such as heavy drinking, cursing, or getting into eyebrow-raising relationships such as having mistresses or being one.
They would choose only those that are easy, those that do not require much sacrifice and would not hinder their personal happiness. After all, they feel at peace knowing they have other means to balance somehow their morality and faith by indulging in an intense religious activity to wash out the guilt of their previous actions.
After all, we are just humans with limitations, strongly bonded with our fleshly desires and every one of us is guilty of that desire. Therefore, no one can say, “I am a better believer” or “I have a better showing of my faith”, because practically speaking, even in our daily lives, little things such as cheating on your time card, lying to your boss on why you were absent, or cheating on exams are already a stain in your morality. Although it may appear tiny and does not involve a big amount of cash and everyone seems to be doing it — it is still LYING AND STEALING.
We know we are practicing selective morality if we hear that inner voice. We may not take action about it — but watch yourself and you will always catch yourself apologizing about it and making prolonged explanations even if you are not being asked. Because deep inside you know you are crossing your moral boundary — you know which is right and which is wrong when there is some sort of a little nudge inside of you, which one day you will have to listen to.
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