December 10, 2007

You Do What’s Right For You – I’ll Do What’s Right For Me

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a common talking point in America today and that is:

  • Basically all religions are the same
  • Everyone should be free to find their own way to God
  • We shouldn't judge people because of their religious beliefs

We want to be a very inclusive society. Therefore, if you don't believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, that's fine. You do what's right for you. And I'll do what's right for me. And in the end, we should just accept each other as we are and not try to push our religion on to anyone else. That's just rude. It's not cool.

So the question I want to ask here is this:

Who decides what is right?

The common answer in America is Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President. And in extension, the American people, by power of democracy, get to decide what ultimately is right and wrong. If you ask most people, that will be the framework they'll give you. We're free to decide what is right for us as long as it falls within the bounds of accepted United States law.

Here's the problem with stopping there. Your assumption of what is right for you is based on how you view the "world" not just your country. And ultimately, if you base your life on "what's right for you and what's right for me" then in order to avoid being exclusive, you have to extend that privilege to everyone in the world, otherwise, you are saying that the United States way is THE WAY.

So by extending your view of "let's all decide our own way" to the entire world, what are your feelings when you read about Muslim women undergoing genital mutilation? Or about most infant females in China being killed to preserve Chinese tradition of elder sons? What are your feelings of Hitler's holocaust? How did you react to 9/11?

Do you get angry? Are you repulsed? Do you feel they should be punished? Is what they are doing wrong? Because, how can you say that killing over 3,000 Americans was wrong? Weren't they just doing what they felt was right?

You might say to me – "Marc that's ridiculous – everyone knows that was wrong!" And I would ask you "By whose standards?" What was the magic moral code out there that told you killing thousands of people is wrong? What book does that come out of? Is it the Bible? Is there some other book titled "Common rules to follow" that we should all be reading to let us know what is right and what is wrong?

Because if you say everyone should be able to determine for themselves what is right for them, then how can you feel outrage or anger regarding the actions of another in any of those circumstances. They're just practicing what you believe. They are doing what's right for them. How dare you be exclusive and tell them that they are wrong! They're doing nothing different than you are.

So now I ask you, and I'll pick up on this more tomorrow, do you see the inherent problems if you follow your worldview to its logical conclusion?

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