It is very easy for us, living in our contemporary society, to discuss ethical issues making use of particular and very specific cases which soften our insights rather than remain at arm’s length with an objective point of view so as to discuss matters avoiding emotional input. It is not because it would be better to eradicate humane attitudes but it is more correct for the common good and for a more long sighted vision, to tackle such delicate situations with an informed mind and conscience so as to reflect justly in the name of Life and not judge on personal stories. Daisaku Ikeda suggests that it is impossible to build one’s own happiness on the unhappiness of others.’ We ought to focus on issues rather than cases and thus manage to overcome emotions in favour of Truth.
For Christopher Hitchens, ‘Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it’ – and this is very true but perhaps Hitchens and many others miss the point. The focal point is that human decency precedes religion because it is derived from God, the omnipotence of love which filtrates decency into our beings.
A very delicate issue in modern day society is when we are faced with mothers risking their lives when in pregnancy. Tackling this issue and letting emotions take over, may lead us to come to conclusions which do not give weight to all issues at stake. ‘Human beings, whether aged or still a foetus, have a right to live’ stated Bishop Mario Grech and this is a starting point which does not excuse us to pity a mother or ignoring a human person simply because we cannot see him or her in the mother’s womb. Killing a foetus with the reason of saving the mother is still considered as direct abortion.
‘… the direct interruption of the generative process already begun and, above all, all direct abortion, even for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children.’ – Humanae Vitae par. 14, Pope Paul VI, 1968
Indirect abortion is the definition which applies only when a professional provides treatment to a mother and as a result of the treatment terminates the pregnancy unintentionally. Even though the medication is the cause of this indirect abortion, the professional is still bound to attempt every ‘ordinary’ procedure in order to save the foetus’ life.
Life is not a bed of roses. There is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but getting there can be quite tough and painful for any human being. Life may be painful as it has thorns but it is roses that bloom on the stem. Life is a combination of love, commitment, wisdom and responsibility. We ought to search for the ‘good life’ which is not a personal commitment but a vow engraved within our human hearts which is our duty to fulfil in a non-egoistic manner.
Max Scheler suggests that in antiquity it was believed that the forces of love in the universe were limited. Therefore they were to be used sparingly, and everyone was to be loved only according to his value. Surely this consideration limits our vision of humanity. All events have a purpose even if we don’t necessarily see it at a first glance. Ethical talk does not stop at what is temporal and visible but takes its course to envisage the common good, the ultimate goal. Developing into a good life is developing a good character. Moral virtues are cultivated through knowledge and habit.
Forming an opinion is not as in a talk show. Forming an opinion is not enough to repeat what one is told but it is essential to come to know and understand truth. Question and explore knowledge because you know that at the end of the journey there is a treasure to be found.