Recently, for some reason, the word “ethical” has been front and foremost in my mind. I think it has a lot to do with the financial crisis our world is in and how often the media uses the word to explain the behavior of companies and their leaders. By this, I mean, the unethical behavior demonstrated by so many of the companies and/or leaders.
So what does the word ethic or ethical mean? It usually has to do with with good and bad and the moral principles used to determine what’s good or bad. One of the problems I see when using the word ethic, is that good and bad seem to be relative. What I mean by that, is one person’s ethics might determine something is good where another person would classify it as bad. I think this can happen when we consider something as bad as what happened to America on 9/11. We, of course, determined that as bad where the perpetrators determined it as good. How do we determine good and bad in world with so many different sets of principles?
We have in our city of St. Louis, a church called the The Ethical Society. I have often gone to their website out of curiosity. From what I read and from the few people that I have known who attend the Ethical Society meetings, it seems to be a very good organization. No pun intended with the word “good” that I used in the previous sentence. :-)
In a recent newspaper advertisement for The Ethical Society Sunday School, there was a list of their core values. As I read them, I thought how good it would be if everyone, no matter what their belief system is, would follow them.
What are those core values, you ask?
Here they are:
- Ethics is my religion.
- Every person is important and unique.
- Every person deserves to be treated fairly and kindly.
- I can learn from everyone.
- I am part of this earth; I cherish it and all the life upon it.
- I learn from the world around me by using senses, mind, and feelings.
- I am a member of the world community, which depends on the cooperation of all people for peace and justice.
- I can learn from the past to build for the future.
- I am free to question.
- I am free to choose what I believe.
- I accept responsibility for my choices and actions.
- I strive to live my values.