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Should not intelligent, reasonable men of good will be able to agree on all things that matter?

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to
  one who is striking at the root."
- Henry David Thoreau
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"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." - The sentiment
known as the Golden Rule, reiterated many times down through history.

Ethics and Morality
Updated: 11/15/2020

The premise

The physical world works via laws that are inviolate, where what works is always in accordance with physical law. The spiritual world works by principles, where what is ethical is always contingent upon the context and situation.

Ethics and morality are related and affect each other but are NOT the same thing. Few issues are as confused as the difference between morality and ethics! Morality is concerned with the increase or decrease in our morale, and ethics is concerned with what is good, beneficial, uplifting versus hurtful, harmful or dangerous to others. Of course, in this noisy, confused world they have been conflated or amalgamated, and the difference has been blurred. The difference between the two can be said to be in the direction they are pointing. What is moral is that which increases our morale while being ethical. This dictates that legalism is actually immoral.

God's revelation has nothing whatever to do with
morality.  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.
- Jacques
Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity, Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, p. 69.

Of course, Ellul is referring to the traditional yet false and arbitrary "morality".

One of the issues, if not the key issue, is which one should we be more focused on, be more concerned with? The quick and easy, "traditional" answer according to the definitions above would be "ethics". Think of others before you think of yourself! But of course, this is wrong headed because it violates the spirit of inspiration and enlightened self interest.

"You cannot love others unless you first love yourself!"

Enlightened Self Interest

The best, highest and purest form of motivation comes within the context of enlightened self interest. This is where ethics and morality lose any tension and fuse into a two-sided reality. When you know who you truly are, you know that being unethical will ultimately reduce or limit your own morale. The person you HAVE to live with is yourself! The key word, of course, is ENLIGHTENED!

Besides the conflation of these two different aspects, there seems to be two additional major problems that confront us in sorting these issues out. The first is, of course, that we do not live in an ideal world, with ideal parents, ideal values, training and thinking, and therefore it is unreasonable to expect perfect behavior. The second problem is that we are awash in artificial, arbitrary fiat, false "moral" instruction that comes to us from the legalistic faction of the various religions. And then, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave!"

Morality is the best of all devices for    
leading mankind by the nose.

Of course, Nietzsche is referring to the traditional yet false and arbitrary "morality".

The Role of Influence

American schools are awash in moral instruction–on sex, multiculturalism, environmental awareness and so on–and basically none of it works. Sex ed doesn't change behavior. Birth control education doesn't produce measurable results. The fact is, schools are ineffectual when it comes to values education. You can put an adult in front of a classroom or an assembly, and that adult can emit words, but don't expect much impact. - The New York Times, Sunday, July 01, 2007

The article then presses on by explaining why it doesn't work, but doesn't really address what DOES work, which is actually the more important issue.

Shouldn't it be rather obvious that solid, wholesome, rewarding relationships have the most influence, because we don't want to lose respect and rupture such an important aspect of our lives? When those persons with which we have such relationships model and expect good ethics, then isn't that the MOST powerful influence?

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