Morality: cultural or universal?

We are all subject to the influences of our culture and are brainwashed to think there is no other way to success than to follow in our parent’s footsteps.  It does not matter if you come from a well-to-do family or are raised in poverty; we are all a product of our culture.  But we need to ask ourselves if that is a good thing.  Is it best to follow the footsteps of the ones that went before us or should we make our own way and go against the every pushing tides of tradition?

Before I provide my opinion to that question, I have another query for you pertaining to morality and ethics.  Are the roots of ethics and morality cultural specific or is it a one-size-fits-all moral system?  It is the age old question that asks if we formed into a specific moral stance by our culture or by a universal standard of ethics.  Great philosophers have had many debates about this one issue alone.  Terms like ethical relativism was created to define the instance where morals are set by the culture we live in.  If you agree with ethical relativism, then you think that the morals can evolve overtime.  Many of the current moral disputes today are about the change in our moral perception.  What used to be considered very wrong has now become a cultural norm.  It would seem that the line is very clear and divides those who agree with ethical relativism and those who believe in universal moral principles.  Moral universalism is a belief that a certain code of ethics applies to all no matter what cultural sway there is.

It seems to be apparent that major “deadly sins” are considered wrong in most cultures.  This tells me that there is some sort of level of moral universalism.  However, has I am growing up and becoming more aware of the shift in what is socially acceptable, I can see how ethics and morals are also relative and subject to cultural influences.  

When there are natural disasters that occur, like the horrible hurricanes that recently hit the greater Houston area back in 2007, you can always tell who provide the trustworthy services founded in solid moral principles.  For example, when a natural disaster hits it is amazing how many “best in class” roofing companies pop up out of nowhere desperate for property repair.  I would say that during that disastrous time, I did a lot of research on different roofing companies. A Sugar Land  roofing contractor appeared to be one of the few that promised top quality roofing and according the customer responses deliver great roofing repairs.  

But what exactly causes some people to be dishonest?  It is obvious that honesty and quality are highly esteemed in all cultures, meaning it is a universal ethical topic.  What is it within the human race that goes against the highly valued characteristic like honesty?  To answer all of these questions and provide my opinion, I think ethics and morality is a little bit of both; universal and relative.  

Thank you for stopping by!  Until we meet again, take it easy.

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