My morals come from my parents who received them from their parents and their grandparents and their great-grandparents, ad infinitum. I am fond of saying that each of us is a compilation of all those in our family tree who came before us. Whether or not we profit from the lessons they learned during the course of their lives is up to us. If we take the time to listen, we can avoid many of their mistakes; else we are doomed to repeat them.
My morals come from my Catholic faith which first came to me from my parents. This faith is something I decided to accept for myself when I became old enough to understand it. Part of that faith describes a set of rules for acceptable behavior. Conversely there is another list of things to avoid. The majority of the precepts of both of these are agreed upon by most of modern society. It is when we delve into the specifics that problems often arise between people of differing beliefs.
I admit that I subscribe to beliefs that are, frankly unbelievable to others. I cannot explain all of the doctrines to which I am certain. That is where faith enters into the picture. Whether or not you think it’s crazy that I believe that during the Catholic Mass, bread is transfigured into the actual body of Christ, I am sure that it happens. It doesn’t matter that you believe it. I doesn’t matter what you believe about me for believing it. It does matter that you respect my belief. The same can be said for my belief in God. I can understand why some people deny the existence of a deity. I am honest enough to say that I feel sorry for those who don’t believe, but, nonetheless, I respect their right to unbelief. I also expect them to honor my right to my beliefs. I, furthermore admit to praying for their lack of faith to be extinguished.
Additionally, my morals come from my American heritage. There are statutes that we as Americans hold dear, and I would fight for these rights if our own or another government tried to take them away from me. One of these sacred rights is the right to practice my faith, and my responsibility to allow others to practice theirs, even when I completely disagree with their practices.
Above all things, my morals come from my conscience which has been formed by all of the above but is inherently endowed with a knowledge of what is right and wrong. None of us can be taught about every possible situation that we encounter during the course of our lives, but each of us has a little voice inside us which guides us in times of moral uncertainty. Whether or not we choose to listen to its wisdom is our judgement.
I believe we are all born with a moral compass. It’s our responsibility to learn how to use it.