This I Believe

Benjamin - 46706, Indiana
Entered on December 4, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: morality

I believe society determines our morals

The term ‘morals’ is no doubt a tricky word and many have spent countless hours trying to decipher the term ‘morals’ and decide where morals come from. I do not even like using the word because of the different connotations each individual has when it is spoken. I believe more in the term ‘consequences’ than ‘morals’. If it were up to me we would not have morals, just consequences. The term ‘morals’ would not exist or be thought of when the subjects of ‘drug usage’,’ pre-marital sex’, or ‘abortion’ are discussed. My response to any of those topics would be to for the individual to consider the consequences before engaging in the act and make your own decision. Morals are often used to judge one another. Morals are invented by the people in power and are used to control those underneath them. Nonetheless, our society has morals, and I believe our society creates them.

I am a college student. In my own college and in colleges across the nation, each campus has their own little society. Our authorities tell us that drugs and alcohol are morally wrong to use, however our college student society has deemed them ok to use and no college student cares if another uses them. Sure we realize the danger they may cause to our body, but does the college society really think it is morally wrong to use them? I would say not many really do. The FCC prohibits swearing in the media, however in colleges, swearing is often used in place of verbs. Again, no one on campus cares if another swears and no student thinks less of you if you do. The reason being is that everyone does it and it is accepted. Popular opinion determines morals.

In certain areas of the country, some behavior is accepted more than in other areas. I grew up in small-town Indiana. The issues of gay marriage and rights for homosexuals are almost non-issues because in rural Indiana they hardly exist and are seen as completely abnormal. However, if I was living out in California or out East they would be commonplace and be more accepted.

Morals are a product of time and place. One hundred and fifty years ago it was morally wrong among Caucasian Americans to think of African-Americans as being equals as slavery was legal. In Biblical times, women were seen as the inferior sex. We have changed our morals since those periods. Now we have a newly-elected African-American president and we also had a woman running for presidency.

I think most people try to hide the fact that our morals change, and try to say that we have moral absolutes and the world is black and white and that there is a definitive right and wrong. I believe that there is an enormous gray area and our morals are constantly evolving. I believe we have changed for the better and will continue to grow as humans.