My last blog and the public response lead me to an overarching question about our interpersonal relationships: should we judge and/or question the actions of our friends and family on moral grounds?
Part of me says no, that I should care about them regardless of their opinions/actions, that it is not my responsibility nor role to lecture them on morality. I mean, discussing ethics is in general a touchy subject, and to argue someone's individual choices on moral grounds even more so. Ethics aren't always clear cut, and it's a sticky situation when one tries to decide absolutely ethical and unethical behavior for others. Besides, the last thing I want to do is define moral standards for someone else, or threaten to revoke my friendship if they have a differing opinion.
Yet the other part of me knows that we often regret our decisions after we've thought about them more, that living up to our moral ideals is difficult and not always clearly defined, and that sometimes one needs that outside voice to see the big picture. I have mixed feelings toward religious Christian circles and the roles they play in defining appropriate behavior for others. Yet there's something admirable about a group that legitimately cares about whether an individual's actions are moral and just. It's my understanding that by committing to such a group, you gain a network that will actively make sure your actions reflect the ethical and religious code you believe in. Granted this may be abused to preach religious ethics to those who don't seek that kind of feedback, or to quash differing biblical interpretations, but outside of that abuse, it's an interesting idea. An external conscience to help you strive to be a better person is, at least in theory, a nice thing to have.
I guess my question is actually two-fold: should we internally judge our friends/family based on the morality of their actions, and if we do, should we share these judgements with those being judged?