I believe that our world is populated by dishonorable people and tempered by a few people of honor.
Jewish tradition holds that the world will continue to exist as long as at least one righteous person is alive. This tradition also holds that, at times, one such person has saved the world. I could not believe in G-d if it weren’t for this tradition. And I do believe in G-d. Not a passive G-d, but one who is proactive and involved in our daily lives. The G-d I look to will only act through an honorable person and since there are very few such people G-d cannot act as frequently or effectively as I wish.
I do believe in choice and this choice can be viewed as the decision between actions guided by honor or otherwise.
Honor, in my belief, is not determined by moral code or a set of simple does and don’ts. I believe that societies most honorable people were viewed by their contemporaries as people of low moral character. Those who spoke against programs, slavery, or mistreatment of indigenous people were all considered immoral by the concurrent majority. I believe that the definition of morality is fleeting and normally defined by the unprincipled majority.
I believe that honor is rooted in our true motivation. When our actions are limited to prevent harm to others and motivated to protect liberty, we approach honor.
I believe that people of honor seldom picture themselves in this light. People of honor usually see life as a complex event with more grays than clarity of issue. People of honor seldom can discreetly describe morality, but can easily determine when people are wronged.
Those who fought for the rights of others often were not comfortable with group they defended. These people of honor, fought not through love of their neighbor, but for a sense of justice. I believe that if you do me no harm I have no right to determine your path. I truly believe that this is the basis of honor. Treat others not with acceptance but with tolerance.
Honor forms the basis of my patriotism. I am patriotic, not because this country was founded by the religious majority, but in spite this fact. I believe that an ethical few tempered the debate, allowing honorable people of the future to improve our collective lot. I believe that if it were not for this small minority, we would still have slavery, women would still not vote, and children would be treated as possessions. These were all firmly held convictions when this country was founded. It was the ethical few that ensured the ambiguous language that allowed future generations to alter the direction of the majority within the original constitution.
I believe that because honor is the motivation of the minority, change comes slowly and then only during crisis.
I believe that the world would be a better place if we, the people, spent more time in front of the mirror rather than the microscope. Am I harmed or merely annoyed? How does this hinder me from my pursuits? Can I look away, turn the channel, set the article down, or close my door?
I believe that the moral choices made by others do not block my path. In fact, I believe that throughout history choices that were cloaked in morality were the most damaging.
This is my belief. That we the people are a diverse community made of many different moralities and that our survival depends on our ability to tolerate this blend. I ultimately believe our success depends on how few judgements we make rather than how well we enforce any particular code.
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