Sunday, September 09, 2007

Morals and ethics

I'm currently watching a new show on BBC one - "The Big Question" - a Kilroyesque show hosted by Nicky Campbell.

The big question today is supposed to be about the recent news that 83% of people in Britain who believe that the country is in moral decline - and this show is supposed to be discussing that and what part, if any, religion plays in supporting moral standards.

The disappointing thing is that the show has quickly - very quickly - descended into a discussion about ethics rather than morals. What should we do about embryo research, how this effects people suffering from incurable illnesses, etc.

I'm a Christian and therefore make no excuses for my belief that the decline of Christianity in this country is directly related to the increase of immorality, but I'm happy to discuss that with anyone - but not if the stock response is to swerve the debate on to issues of ethics.

The moral decline of Britain is obvious and the correlation with the decline of Christianity is a stark reality. Whether this is related or coincidental is something worth discussing, but only if the issues are going to be addressed and not if the discussion is going to degenerate into something else entirely.

Morality is about how we behave, how we dress, how we speak, how we interact with others, how we treat other people, their property and their community. Ethics, although similar, are far more objective and are the fundamental principles of right and wrong and, therefore, the basis for legislation.

I realise it is a thin and somewhat blurred dividing line between ethics and morals, but it is an important one - and one that the BBC should understand.

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