Is Your Moral Compass Guiding You?
What does it take to be a morally good person? Over the centuries, thought leaders and our scriptures have offered a variety of answers to this question. ‘Morality’ simply can be defined in terms of respect for and our obligation to others. Where and how do we learn to be moral?
Whatever the case, the prominence of bigotry in the world today shows that we have not done a good enough job following our collective moral compass as a species. The solution, as the ancient wisdom from religions reminds us, is to always be mindful of our own thoughts and actions, checking them against our inner sense of right and wrong, and to always strive to do better in the future. This is how we recalibrate our moral compass.
“The moral virtues grow through education, deliberate acts, and perseverance in struggle. Divine grace purifies and elevates them.”
—Catechism, Christian text
“Should a person do good, let him do it again and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for blissful is the accumulation of good.”
“The Gita has become for us a spiritual reference book. I am aware that we ever fail to act in perfect accord with the teaching. The failure is not due to want of effort, but is in spite of it. Even through the failures we seem to see rays of hope.”
—Mahatma Gandhi, acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation
“Do not make God a pretext, when you swear by Him, to avoid doing good, being righteous and making peace between people. God is all hearing and all knowing.”
—The Quran (2:224), Islamic text
“The Master said, ‘It is these things that cause me concern: failure to cultivate virtue, failure to go more deeply into what I have learned, inability, when I am told what is right, to move to where it is, and inability to reform myself when I have defects.’”
—The Analects (7:3), Confucian text