Who are you?

What determines how you live your life? Many just sort of let life happen, taking things as they come, a series of reactions to what life deals them. But is that the best way to live? I think we can determine our life’s path by the choices we make.

Reason and Morality are siblings; or perhaps it might be better illustrated by saying that morality is a reasoned response, and therefore you can’t be moral without being a reasoning being. They hint at something uncreated, not a result of chaotic, senseless processes, but of a higher, rational and moral source, because they are not an effect of some cause. In fact moral choice (for instance, to love an enemy or forgive someone who has hurt us) often run exactly opposite to our natural reactions.

Some Christian apologists have written strong arguments supporting the existence of God based on these realities, and it really does make sense – the best kind of sense. I am a believer largely because the concept of a rational, moral God simply scratches the most itches. The universe makes sense. And of course these are things that set us apart from the animal kingdom. Whereas animals simply react, people can reason and make moral choices. We can be proactive; nature is exclusively reactive.

If we do away with reason and moral truth, we are left with our emotions.  Emotions are something we share with the animal kingdom, and are reactive rather than proactive in essence. We don’t make feelings; they happen to us.  We feel a certain way because of what is happening around us; but as a motivator, emotions are dangerous: they are variable, unpredictable, and can be manipulated.

In a democracy, the direction of government is determined by the will of the people. But what happens when those people are ill-informed (and it’s impossible to be adequately informed about all the issues we face these days) or worse yet, are subjected to the spin doctors? Politicians and their hirelings play on our fears and hopes to get us to vote them into power. Advertising agencies spend millions of dollars trying to make us feel we must have the latest toy. We become more the product of our environment and influences than ourselves; what I consider my “tastes” are often the result of somebody else telling me what is cool and fashionable.

The best defense against such ploys is to have a solid belief in a moral framework that determines how all these other inputs are evaluated.  When you hold high values, you can’t be spun or manipulated as easily. And this moral construct has an Author, One who yearns for relationship with us. As we give ourselves to Him, we become more truly ourselves.

We live in the world of Enron, of the Subprime crisis and banking scandals, of spin doctors and opinion polls. If more folks approached politics and finance on the basis of ethics instead of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the present day, I think we’d be in a lot better shape.

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