Morality, or when to do absolutely nothing

Posted on by The Free Listener and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

People like to point out that bullying is not about the victim, it’s about the bully. That’s mostly true. The bullying was about Karen Klein to the extent she was picked as the target (for a reason). The rest of it, though, was on the kids.

Likewise, our response to the kids is not about the kids, it’s about us, mostly. Our response is about the kids to the extent that they were chosen as worth of comment (for a reason). Beyond that, our response is on us.

I’ve heard talk of giving these “evil” kids what they “deserve” and “what they had coming to them.” Yet, we have the power. There’s nothing written in the stars about who deserves what. It’s just us and our morality, and apparently our morality is vindictive and angry.

There are alternative moralities we can use. Morality can be loving, or even freeing. At one point in John’s gospel, Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” Jesus leaves the rhetorical question implied, After you’re done with this woman here, will you give yourself what you “deserve?”

And lest we forget, after the accusers leave, the passage doesn’t end with Jesus stoning the woman by himself. He lets her go. Neither the witnesses (Jesus and the accusers) nor the sinner (the prostitute) were irrevocably bound to the sin. The passage ends with forgiveness, or in the most literal terms, nothing. 

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8 Responses to Morality, or when to do absolutely nothing

  1. Guy Fox says:

    Good post. Here’s the nugget: our response to the kids is not about the kids, it’s about us, mostly. Our response is about the kids to the extent that they were chosen as worth of comment (for a reason). Beyond that, our response is on us.

    Thought experiment: the bullying is going on in prison, you’re present, and the kids are big, scary ‘other’ convicts (‘other’ can mean black/latino gang members, neo-nazis, beefed up homosexuals, well-armed rednecks or whatever is scary and different from you). You can still ‘comment’ on the situation, but your ‘comment’ is going to have real consequences, and you’re no longer protected by your remoteness or your conventional superiority (i.e. nobody gives you extra cred because you’re an adult and they’re kids). Who deserves what, and what would you risk to make sure they get it?

    If there’s a big difference between how you’d react in the YouTube comments and how you’d react in the thought experiment, take a few minutes and have a think.

  2. Minerva says:

    That’s because morality is also on the side of the heaviest artillery.

  3. Anna says:

    Well, okay. He also tells her to “go, and sin no more”.

  4. Pingback: Forgiveness | The Westward Expansion

  5. johnnycoconut says:

    The comments on this post are better than the post itself. They save it.

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