Defining Morality

Dictionary.com defines morality as “conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.” If you talked to someone on the street, you might get a different answer to the question of “what is morality.” Socrates’ in the book The Best Things in Life believes that morality is all about getting to the good end. This, however, is not true morality, and neither are the things that our culture believes. So, what is true morality?

In the book The Best Things in Life, we see that Socrates believes the good life is all about getting to the good end. This shows us how Socrates approaches morality. He believes that the pleasures we have in life are not necessarily always good. He believes that many of the pleasures we have in this life are just a means to the end. We cannot treat the means to the end as the actual good end.  Things like having money, going to school, and owning a house are all simply means to the end. This approach fails in conveying true morality because it doesn’t involve God, who, really, is the only point in life. Nevertheless, using good things to get to the good end is, according to Socrates, what it means  to have a good life.

Our culture believes that the pleasures we have in this world are all that matters in life. People today mainly care about having money and having lots of pointless things. This is what our culture believes about morality, and this is not what life is meant to be about. It fails in conveying morality because we are not meant to be pointless wanderers who are constantly searching for something that will not fill us up. We must seek the Lord in all we do. This picture of morality looks a bit like Socrates’ picture. This fails in conveying true morality because people are trying to find their pleasure in something that will not last. They try to live their lives without God. Some people even waste their lives trying to become famous.  This is why some people in our culture are hopelessly lost. These people do not think that having a relationship with God is worth anything in life. Because our culture believes that pleasures are the meaning of life, our culture is extremely lost.

Christians know all that matters in life is having a relationship with God and sharing the gospel. We know that pleasures will not last us. This proves that Socrates approach falls short of conveying true morality because it does not include Jesus. Since this is all that matters in life, morality does not truly exist without God. All of these things will fade away in heaven. Matthew 6:19-21 states, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The Lord is all we need in life, and we are called to live for Him. We must trust in the Lord and not lean on our own understanding in this world. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We, as Christians understand that we must trust in the Lord and live for Him. This is the only thing that truly matters in life.

True morality, I have determined, is living for Christ and following the Bible. Socrates fails in determining this because he never includes Christ. The dictionary might be able to define morality, but true morality can only come from living a life for the Lord.

 

Kreeft, Peter. Best Things in Life. Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1984. Print.

New International Version. Zondervan, gen. ed. Michigan: Zondervan, 2006.

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