Shades of Gray?

Sorry if you’re into Twilight fan-fic but that’s not what this post is about.  I’m thinking more of how I now see the world and morality.  Previously I saw everything in black and white, right or wrong with no middle ground in between.  I had what I thought was a users guide to how life worked.  Any question I had I could just open this magical book and the answer would be there…somewhere.

Looking back I did what I think a lot of Christians do when looking to the Bible for answers.  Take the verse they found, manipulated it to fit their situation and said “ah ha! The bible does have all the answers!” I now know this was simply confirmation bias.  But I’m getting on to a whole other post all together with that.

With my guide in hand I had all the morals I would ever need right in hand 24/7.  I didn’t have to think about these kind of things for myself.  There was a long time when I didn’t even really read this book.  I took the pastor’s word for it.  I was happy to live this way for a long time.  As I grew older I began to actually read this book.  I found things that seemed…wrong to me.  I read through the lovely book of Leviticus aka the book of the law.  It talked about stoning people to death for what seemed the simplest of things.  Even giving rules on how to treat your slaves.  If there are laws on how you are supposed to treat your slaves did that mean having slaves was ok?  I wasn’t down with that.  Not to mention the rituals that were involved for things you had no control over.    Women aren’t to be touched for a week during their period.  What the hell is that about? And there were even rules for having a wet dream.  Like seriously?  That’s not even a thought crime because you have no control of that.  It just happens.  And that’s enough for you to remove yourself from the community.

I was on the leadership team of my church during this time.  We had a routine team meeting and the topic of homosexuality came up.  Someone asked about homosexuals serving in ministry and the decision was that they could server but couldn’t lead a ministry, nor could they sing on the worship team or be the lead teacher in a Sunday school room.  I left that meeting sick to my stomach.  I began question this book.  If it was to be my moral code, why would I feel so sick about what it had to say?

I now see the world much differently.  Morals don’t come from a book written in the bronze age.  It’s certainly harder to just say what’s right and what’s wrong, but shouldn’t it be?  I don’t think we can paint broad strokes on every issue.  Sure there are issues that we can say are 100% wrong like murder, rape but I think somethings can be more middle ground.  Given the old predicament of lieing to a Nazi to save the Jewish family you’re hiding becomes easier though.  You absolutely lie!  But when following the holy book you’re put in a pickle because you’re not supposed to lie and you’re supposed to obey your government.

I look at it now more with a lens of empathy.  How do I want to be treated on the opposite situation.  How can I treat everyone fairly?

How do you get your morals?

1 thought on “Shades of Gray?”

  1. Morals are tough, and I think being an atheist makes it tricky to say what molds them. Although most of my own are reasoned out according to how I would like to be treated, I think some are so visceral that they are rooted in how my brain was wired. Biologically and socially.

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