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Reader Opinion: Moral compass

We have all heard the term "moral compass," referring to the "true north" that our philosophy or theology relies upon to give us direction and assurance that we are navigating our way through life correctly.

We have all heard the term "moral compass," referring to the "true north" that our philosophy or theology relies upon to give us direction and assurance that we are navigating our way through life correctly.

The problem is that not every philosophy or theology has the same sense of "true north" by which they calibrate their compasses. Even within Christianity there are many definitions of "true north" although they all insist that their directions are set by Jesus and God.

And, of course, there are other religions that often, through our lack of understanding, we are sure are not accurately calibrated to our sense of "true north."

This does not even begin to deal with other non-religious philosophies and world views that have their own versions of "true north" which might be wealth, or power and control, or security.

Following any one of these compasses would get us to very different destinations, each of which would look like success to the followers of that "true north," but might be disaster to those who follow other compasses.

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So we arrive at that relativistic place where "morality" is more about what we see as the ultimate goal rather than some universal and agreed upon goal. The result is that "true north" is defined by those in power at the time and the ramifications become a part of the fabric of that society.

The closest I can come to a solution to this is to hold the health of the human spirit as the "true north" for a compass that might be a guide for a huge majority of the human race.

That accounts for the resilience of democratic ideals, no matter how often these ideals are beaten and battered by those in power whose moral compasses lead only to human damage.

Bob Passi

Baxter

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