PhotoCredit : Michael Erhardsson
A popular legend says that he walked about in broad daylight with a lantern in a determined but vain search for a virtuous man. His name was Diogenes, a philosopher who lived in Athens in the fourth century B.C.E.
On Moral Values
Moral values are very important, in that they are the building blocks that ensure the stability of the human community. In recent times moral values …. Respect, obedience, honesty, is gradually being phased out and are being replaced with vices like base selfishness, rebellion, pride which have suddenly become fashionable in some parts of the world. I remember, years ago, when I was a very little boy; I used to attend a Christian Kiddies club organized by some caring mothers, who took out time from their busy schedules, to teach kids about moral discipline, appropriate social behavior and most importantly, the Scriptures. I didn’t know then, but those teachings have turned out to be treasures that have proved invaluable, to my life today. But, most unfortunately, today’s adult community is beginning to place less and less importance on investing time in moral instruction of the growing youth. The youth are the future (thanks to the great circle of life) and ensuring fundamental moral discipline is a major determinant of tomorrow.
Where have our values gone ?
Whether that legend (about Diogenes) is accurate, it cannot be confirmed. Still, if Diogenes were alive today, he might be forgiven if he had to use floodlights and search even harder to discover moral individuals. Many seem to reject the belief that people should embrace any fixed ethical values. Time and again the media calls our attention to moral lapses – in private life, in government, in professions, in sports, in the business community, and in other areas. Many of the cherished values of past generations are no longer respected. Established standards are being reevaluated and often rejected. Other values are revered in theory but not in practice.
“The day of shared moral standards is gone”, says religion sociologist Alan Wolfe. He is also quoted as saying: “Never in history has there been more a sense that people can’t rely on traditions and institutions to guide them, morally.” Regarding the last 100 years, the Los Angeles Times notes that the decline of religion and universal moral laws played a major part in a global collapse into violence.
Is it enough, however for us to be guided only by “natural instincts” when we try to decide what is right and what is wrong? As you may have observed, human history is studded with the failures of individuals and groups. This has convinced many that we need direction from a higher source in order to establish the best values by which to live. Many will acknowledge that mankind’s Maker is in the best position to offer such timeless standards. In his book The “Undiscovered Self”, Dr Carl Jung observed: “The individual who is not anchored in God can offer no resistance on his own resources to the physical and moral blandishments of the world”.
That conclusion is in keeping with what an ancient prophet wrote: “To earthling man, his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking, even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Our creator says: “For your own good, I teach you, and I lead you along the right path.” – Isaiah 48:17.
A Reliable Source of Trustworthy Values
The words just quoted are found in the most widely circulated source of moral values – the Holy Scriptures. Millions of people around the world, even non-Christians and nonreligious individuals, have turned to the Scriptures for insight and wisdom. German poet Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe wrote: “For my part, I loved and revered the bible, because I owed almost my whole development in moral culture to it.” Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi is reported to have said: “By all means drink deep of the fountains that are given in the Sermon on the Mount [part of Jesus Christ’s teachings, found in the Bible]….For the teaching of the Sermon was meant for each and every one of us.”
Collective lack of personal values, leads down a one way road to degeneration of the whole societal moral superstructure. Thus, if only we can all let ourselves be guided by moral discipline and define a positive code of conduct, we will, and indeed the human race will be the better for it.
Compiled by Dibia Victor
Excerpts from watch Tower Mag. Jun ’07
About this Article
I wrote this article in 2007 and I remember this was one of the first things I ever put on the internet. Was a real source of pride back then knowing I could access the internet and share my thoughts with the world. I was only just getting familiar with having some form of very weak internet access at home and decided to be creative. 7 years later, I still think the piece is decent and its message timely. I should learn to write more. Great shout out to TIGGlobal for providing the platform and inspiration to write. Original posting can be found here 🙂 with a funny & youthful picture of young me.