Moral Ladders

Let’s start with some hearsay (as opposed to heresy). Back in Biblical times, near the coming of Christ, the Jews had it all figured out. They had run through the Bible, found every possible sin, and prioritized them. Well, organized them. So they had a nice ordered list about how severe each sin was, top to bottom.

As a side note, in Matthew 22:26, when the lawyer asks Christ what the greatest commandment was, he could have been referring to this “list” and simply testing Christ’s knowledge of the system. True to Christ’s form, he acted instead of reacted, taking control of the situation. But that’s another topic.

So right, Jews had this nice ordered list of sins. This is a natural inclination people have. Is forgetting to brush your teeth worse than murdering some random stranger on the street? Is murdering a random stranger on the street worse than murdering a close family member?

I propose that we all have our own personal order of “sins,” from worst to not-so-bad. I say sins so I don’t have to refer to them as something like “no-nos.” Substitute whatever word you want. Most of us agree on some of the larger landmarks: lying, theft, adultery, murder.

But not everything lines up evenly. For those sexual purists among us, you may find that a sin like fornication slides along the scale for different people. They may be horribly adverse to lying, but see no problem with sex outside of wedlock.

So this is the concept of a moral ladder. Everyone has one, however solidified and pre-decided, or wishy-washy and waffling with the situation.

Let me touch on exceptions. If someone holds a gun to your head and threatens you with death, would you lie to save your life? Would you steal? Would you kill someone else? What if they deserved to be killed? What if they wanted to die? Generally, the higher up on the ladder something is, the more extreme an exception must be for the rung to be stepped on.

Now here’s the problem I had that let me figure all this out.

I have friends and relatives that do or did consider themselves gay. But when I associated with them, it felt awkward and uncomfortable. And I couldn’t figure out why. Normally, my associations with them weren’t enough to force me to deal with the issue, but it eventually reached the point where I needed to figure out why. With a little logic and introspection, I realized I was uncomfortable because I felt like they were obsessed with sex.

Wait, what? Nothing in their behavior indicates something like this. Some of them are quite religious and have the same opinions regarding sexual behavior as I do. Where in the world did such an opinion come from?

If you recall, a while back I talked about Truth. And how people have a tendency to apply their personal truth on a social or universal level, which is a big cause of offending people. Turns out — I was doing just that with my moral ladder. Wanton sexual activity is below the homosexual behavior rung on my ladder, and I was unconsciously applying my personal truth as a social/universal truth. It really had no business being there.

Once I realized this consciously, it stopped being a problem, and things are just dandy.