I have an idea for a basic definition of morality. I haven’t worked it out entirely, so I’m open to modifications where need be. It seems quite accurate though. The question comes down to “What makes a thing moral?” This is the conclusion that I have come up with.
Morality is treating a thing as it is.
Aristotle, for instance, spoke of justice as treating equals equally and unequals unequally. What does that mean? It means to treat them as they are. I had a friend up last night who brought his wife and in discussing morality said “It’s moral if you treat your wife as a lady, which she is, and not as a dog, which she is not.”
This is why the concept of what is is so important. Are we going to treat the poor as they are? Are we going to treat the person who has been raped as they are? Are we going to treat the sinner as they are? Remember that each of these first is a person created in the image of God. It is then what they have had happen in life or what is done to them that comes into play.
This is also how I believe things happen in the Trinity. Each person of the Trinity treats each other person in the Trinity as they are. I believe that we can find our whole base of ethics in Trinitarian relationships. Trinitarian relationships are based first on who each person is. This is simply saying God has had an eternal relationship of love within himself.
This means we treat the world as it is also. We treat the planet as if it is our home for now. We treat our animals for the way they were meant to be treated. We don’t treat either of these as more or less. To love them too much would lead to pantheism. To love them too little I believe would lead to atheism.
Look at each thing in your life. What is it? Respond accordingly. Is the person near you a person? Then treat them as such. Of course, what they do will have some variance in that. You are justified in locking up a child molester for instance because he is a child molester and society needs to be protected. You are not justified in locking up someone who has not violated the law though.
Treating things as they are. It is the way of morality, and if it is moral, we should be doing it.