Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Good Book or The Good Book?

One small word distinguishes one book from another. THE good book refers to the iconoclastic book that differentiates between gods and God. So many words have been written about that book, that men have either come to doubt its authenticity or have chosen to venerate a specific version as holier than any other. Scolding men for their double mindedness, the greatest teacher, the Christ, told them that by their traditions they made the law of God of none effect. If something as meaningful as the rules of life can be so easily disregarded, it should not seem strange that man can disregard the meaning of life itself in his conceit.

The subject of ethics—the moral principles which normally govern a culture—has become as effective as a political cartoon. Moral choices that run counter to popular demands and the courage to stand up for principles have become increasingly rare. From the individual who chooses to live beyond his means, the stars and athletes who choose to live in sordidness, the CEOs and politicians who feel that they are above the law, to the lawless criminals who rape and ravage our society, these have lost the sense of social conscience that guides our national character. When the subject of ethics is tossed into the arena of the media, no one can conclusively determine where to stand. Does a man have the right to go into overwhelming indebtedness? Does a woman have the right to a litter of children? Does a killer deserve to die after a gruesome murder? Does a politician deserve a different set of standards than the ordinary citizen?

Nothing sells better than a disturbing story or one that can be considered controversial. Such is the reason for most of the so-called ‘news’ brought to the American public by its entire media. The negative construct is so complex that the media simplify each separate disaster and dastardly deed. Eventually, social sanction is given so that tax evasion is acceptable; ‘death with dignity’ (euthanasia) has value; and psychotic parenting becomes the norm.

No people as diverse as those of our nation are going to accept willingly one standard set of rules for life and living. Morality cannot be legislated or regulated no matter how much we might try. What little we can do has to come from individuals who accept responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. America has always been an individualistic nation. But the whole is still made up of its parts. We must choose the better part of ethical existence--no matter which book we choose to read.

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