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Where did the “good morality” go and how are your ethics?
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 01/28/2019

Moral compass

Let me first begin by saying that the existence of a “good morality” is rotting in our society at a hastened pace that will find us all in deep trouble sooner than later. Nowadays, it is becoming much harder to find someone with a morally good heart, mind, and soul. Don’t misunderstand me when I say this. It will vary where you live, work or play. The rules are applied differently in many cases based on a culture, group or religion’s consciousness and codes.

To keep the term simple and easily understood, I shall define morality as a set of standards, behavioral or physical, to determine the difference between right and wrong. In addition to behavior or actions, it sets an expected level of what is proper and acceptable as well as what is improper and unacceptable.

Sounds simple enough but in given cultures, groups and religions there are still standards that are determined to be good or bad but that are in conflict of one group to the other. In other words, what is good or bad in one’s eye or mind, can be contrary to the beliefs and expectations of others.

The most common question asked is, “what does it take to be a morally good person”? speaking from a universal perspective, it becomes very confusing from the start. Most of us are raised through the influences of the Bible and understand and accept the fact that we are all subject to sin and sinful conduct. How we perceive the importance of following the “golden rule” is basically the roots of our mannerism.

We have and will continue to be, far short from perfect, and have sinned as well as fallen short of the glory of the scriptures. Sinfulness is falling or failing to give in to the temptation of wrongdoings. Using the Ten Commandments as a template for good moral behavior, we can read and understand the words “‘thou shall not steal.”

Although the moral code is more than ten rules, we must accept the fact that many of us rarely follow these ten rules as it stands. We have become creatures of political correctness and see or perceive the word steal to mean to take something from someone else. On the other hand, if you remain a practical and sensible person, you could understand that stealing is more than taking property or materialistic things from people without their permission or consent. It may also include taking their time, their emotional investments in life and so on.

Can someone or even myself, still be morally good despite the fact we (I) cannot keep up with following the moral compass code 24/7 of our lives? Is it a matter of tolerance or intolerance that makes the difference?

Can a man or woman be sinful, yet still morally good? We know and accept the fact that we are sinful, and we know and practice the fact that we are imperfect so where does it start and end? Do these imperfections disallow you to drift from being morally good or can a person stay morally good though imperfect?

One could say that a condition of such a situation is whether or not, the person tries his or her very best to follow and quest the standards of good that they know and that to do so with all their strength is good enough to remain morally good. In other words, is having the free will and being able to choose what is good or better sufficient to be morally good. To the opposing view if you are able to choose what is bad for you, does that corrupt your morally good? In all reality, what is good for some, is bad for others as their value systems are much different growing up.

I could use the logic or reasoning that man is born imperfect but not immoral and if his or her choice is to be better morally, through minimized thoughts and actions, then he or she chooses to be morally good. Free will is used discretionary and for the good of the situation based on the guidance of his or her conscience or moral compass.

Morality is refined based on how man uses free will. How a person decides and acts based on the standards of goodness, while deferring bad or evil thoughts, intentions, speech or actions, and then seeks help to overcome temptations, he may not be perfect all the time, but he is trying to pursue perfect goodness most of the time. If this person spends most of his or her life manifesting goodness, then it may be reasonable to claim him or her to be a morally good person.

Taking into considerations of standards across some cultures, groups, and religions, we can commonly accept a concept of the common good and morally bad standards. It’s what we call ‘universal morals” that include love, peace, the value of life, justice, and other good deeds such as charity and kindness.

In this same concept, we see the deeds that cause violations of such moral standards to be a twisted version of morality that is evil in nature. An example of a twisted evil standard is when a code, tradition or custom engage an act that is zealously believed to be “morally right” according to their beliefs but at the end of the day, the morally right know in truth that such practice or standard is evil in nature. Thus, this is a fallacy or a lie they choose to live rather than choose the path of goodness.

If we allow these evilly twisted standards to exist and flourish what will be the face of the morally good? Will there be more immorality or wickedness than goodness? To what extent do these values change our lives, civilization or world values? What are the consequences of such immoral acts justified by the application of codes, customs or traditions to alter the goodness of these acts?

Watching the consciousness of the erosion of the good moral values or standards that we once embraced and used to clarify what is good and sound judgment and what is bad and poor judgment has come upon us. As a civilization, a culture, group or religion, we must decide what are permissible acts against what is unacceptable behavior. It is true that the entertainment sector, the movies, and televisions, as well as social media, has shifted our moral compass to some degree but how far you allow it to be extended is your responsibility.

For your own perspective on this matter, you have to ask yourself, are your standards of morality? Is yours the face of a ‘morally good person’ or has your ethics and standards been altered or corrupted in finding itself inverted in dramatic new values given for the future?

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:


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