As growing worldwide trends show an increase in immoral behaviors, it becomes increasingly urgent for leaders of faith communities to talk seriously about issues of morality and ethics. Ideally, these discussions will lead to the creation and adoption of a universal moral code to help curb these disturbing trends.
Obviously differences in cultural, religious and social values would make such a code difficult to formulate, but a common definition of morality and ethics might allow people of different faiths to cooperate more productively.
It is difficult to create a common definition of morality because every society, culture and religion in the world today differs in its interpretation of the word. But the fact is that today’s global society is on the verge of losing its moral strength and social fabric.
Morality is most commonly interpreted as a complex system of general principles and particular judgments based on cultural, religious and philosophical concepts and beliefs. Cultures and groups regulate and generalize these concepts, thus regulating behavior.
The state of morality in the world today is difficult to judge accurately due to the vast amount of information that would have to be collected and analyzed for a comprehensive analysis.
The interpretation of morality and ethics varies from one society to another, but there are basic universal values. For example, the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – is present in the teachings of nearly every major faith. It is incorporated into the teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism.
The majority of every society, irrespective of that society’s religious traditions or philosophies, agrees that certain values, such as honesty and respect for human life, are essential for the survival of the social system. These universal values can be found in the Ten Commandments, the Bible, the Quran, and have been present in the laws of almost of every society since the creation of Hammurabi’s first code of law.
Although there are many universally accepted moral values, each culture and faith differs on specific social norms. For example, sexual freedom is a widely accepted norm in the Western Hemisphere, while in the Muslim world it is still culturally and religiously forbidden as set down in religious texts. Studies show that the region has a very low frequency of HIV/AIDS infections, with only 0.3% of adult prevalence. (MORE)