On personal experience and social contex Essay

As the saying goes: “no one is an island, entire of himself. ” Since our coming to this world all of us have had interactions first with our families and then with our own society. Family, the first school, serves as a shaper of everyone’s moral sensibilities. Though intellectual influence is preserved for schools, they themselves have their own moral influence. “As our lives are irreducibly social,” (Birch and Rasmussen, 85) the interactions that we have among our society also contribute for the kind of personality that we are.

Based on the assigned readings and the writer’s personal experience, this paper briefly deals with the place of moral issues in social life, the role of personal experience in responding to the moral issues of one’s own society, and the religious influences on public affairs. Every society has its own moral values and ethical perspectives, which are exclusively based on its traditions, for in general “ethics does not exist without tradition. ” (FCTW, 376). Also moral issues exist amidst private and public engagement, institutional patterns and social configurations (Birch and Rasmussen, 85).

In every society there is a moral standard that enables the members of the society to redress social evils like gambling, adultery, sexual assault etc. Based on the moral vision of the society norms are set up, and so every member of that society is expected to comply with these norms. The transgressors of the norms would be labeled as “deviants. ” Of course in diverse societies people who have different moral values live together. In this case, as Cahill says, ethics develops strategies that should be mentioned among them (FCTW, 371).

The personal interactions that individuals keep with others have their own impact on their attitudes towards moral values. Hence, the interactions are consequential, as they may bring forth either good or ill results (Birch and Rasmussen, 91). For example, teenagers who lacked sound upbringing in their childhood and had had contacts with morally perverted individuals would be insolent, and could not contribute for the general good of their society. Also those who were morally and emotionally abused in their childhood cannot be good parents when they grow up, as they have not ever experienced the privilege of having good parents (McKay, 28).

To add one more, as narrated by Eleanor Brass, a child who has undergone mistreatments, when he/she grew up would act oddly in his/her relations with the members of his/her society. Conversely, the person who came from morally disciplined background would be an asset to his/her society. In sum, based on their own experience people act differently, and have a varied understanding of moral issues like sexual orientation, marriage, euthanasia et al. Religious traditions play a significant role in the broader moral issues of a given society (FCTW, 372).

As Hauerwas infers, despite the philosophical doubt, there is an assumption among many that religion is closely related to morality, and strong interdependence exists between religion and morality (FCTW, 131). Such a fact, however, should not be suspected, since any religious tradition has its own moral values that greatly contribute to the norms of any society, exerting their own influence. This is mainly true in societies whose cultural traits are integrated with religious values, though the moral influence of religions over cultures like the Western ones may not be strong.

But as morality, which is the essence of every religion, cannot be wholly discarded by any society, wherever there is a good social order, the moral effects of religions is paramount. In other words, as Cahill purports “a certain religious tradition has something to contribute to a general moral policy of any society together with political and philosophical values” (FCTW, 373). In my opinion, among the religions of the world, Christianity has the most influential moral contribution. Its precepts are harmonious to any kind of society, and Christianity has no socially destructive order like the Jihad of Islam.

The church provides her members with moral guidance for their right living and conduct. Also the church is morally exemplary in her relationships with other members of its society. For instance, as stated in one of today’s case studies, the United Church of Canada has offered her apology for the individuals who were physically, morally and sexually abused in the school to which the church is affiliated (Daye, 12). It is obvious that non-Christians like Mathema Ghandi were deeply touched by the moral virtues of Christianity stated in the Sermon on the Mount.

Thus, Christianity is so morally influential to the extent that “a Christian social order makes bad men do good things. ” (Birch and Rasmussen, 91). From my personal experience, I ponder that the moral significance of Christianity can be seen in the practical life of the Christians themselves. As Christians are the followers of Christ, the Prince of peace, they are able to live peacefully in every society, leading their Christ-like lives. Even they are ordered to do so: ” if it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Rom 12: 18) {NRSV}.

Love” is the prominent virtue that Christians learn from their Lord Christ. His love is perfect, unconditional and sacrificial. We read in the Bible that while we were the enemies of God, He reconciled Himself to us sending His beloved Son (Rom 5:10). Also the Son loved us in a kind of love no one can have greater than that (Jn 15: 13). As an expression of His unfathomable love, He prayed for those who crucified him (Lk 23:34). I think, any Christian is supposed to imitate Christ, bringing such kind of love to his/her society.

Displaying a special kind of patience, strange to the world where people use others for their ends, Christians love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. They do not resist an evil act replying evilly; rather they overcome it by the work of love. Moreover, they contribute for the good of their society, and also they are reliable enough in undertaking their responsibilities. Briefly for me, to be a Christian in the strictest sense means to be a good citizen. A genuine Christian, as an activist can immensely contribute to his country in general, and to his society as a social reformer in particular.