By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo
Morality is all about the goodness or badness of an act or what is right and wrong in our thoughts, words and deeds. The word morality seems to be a turn-off to most people because it refers to a set of rules or commandments, and rules seem to restrict our freedom. There are two very common mistakes here. First, morality is not merely a set of rules. Second, rules don’t suppress freedom.
The essence of morality is not a set of rules but a way of life, and it should not be a turn-off because it is the way of love, it is the way of Christ and His saints. Morality is a not a turn-off because it makes us deeply happy as well as those around us happy. On the other hand, living a morally wrong life makes us unhappy and others unhappy. Would you want to live with a thief, or with a criminal or would you rather live with a nice, good, loving and holy person?
Of course, morality has rules. But their purpose is to define and direct the way of life we are supposed to live, in the same way as a road map guides us to our destination. Road maps give directions. The road map alone is not what makes us excited, but the trip or the journey. The rules of a good life are not what makes us happy but the good life itself, which is the product of the rules. The good life is a life of love. It is not boring because it is a drama. It is a love story, and also a war story, a battle of good against evil, of love against selfishness or lovelessness. The rules are the directions for this great drama. Moral rules are battle plans for the great war.
Living our life is like traveling. Our destination depends on which roads we choose. Different roads lead to different destinations. That is as true as our moral choices. Every choice makes a difference. In fact, each choice has consequences to other people’s lives much like a stone thrown into a pool that makes ripples. It produces an effect on every part of the pond.
Rules do not suppress freedom. Only bad rules threaten freedom, like rules of a tyrant or rules in a communist country. Good rules are necessary for freedom. This is true of everything in life: music, math or sports. If you don’t follow the rules of music, you don’t make music, just noise. If you don’t follow the rules of math, you will not be able to solve math problems. If you don’t play the rules of basketball, you are not playing the game and you will not enjoy it.
Life without moral rules is not more free; it’s less free. It’s chaos. If rules don’t rule, then power rules. If righteousness doesn’t rule, then might rules and bullies win. The strong takes advantage of the weak. Just look at communism. To see what life is like without rules, watch untrained babies or animals fighting. True morality is the way to freedom: freedom from tyrants and bullies, freedom from chaos and misery.
If God invented human beings, then His rules for human life are the right rules. If you want to know the right rules for operating a machine, ask the inventor of the machine. If you want to know the right rules of understanding a textbook, ask the author of the textbook. If you want to know the rules of human life, ask the Author and Inventor of human life. The Author has the “author-ity”. God’s rules or the Ten Commandments are not freedom restraining but life- flourishing.