Morality issue with young generations”
What is morality, after all?
Morality is generally understood as a set of principles that allows us to understand and distinguish what is right from what is wrong. Moral standards therefore show us which behaviors are right and virtuous, so that morality in the broad sense can be defined as "a moral code of conduct whose relevance is fundamental to social interactions".
Some codes of conduct are universal, while others refer to the traditions of a community, and therefore change in their historical path, and vary according to the context.
The termmoral, in Latin: moralis, deriving from mos, moris(costume), was coined by Marco Tullio Ciceroneas loan word of the ancient Greek ἠθικός (etikòs), derivative of ἦθος (etos, costume).
Morality cannot be just a formal "respect for the rules". Respect is a necessary condition, but not sufficient. If there are only the rules, at most we will have a correct action and, often, a substitute for morality, moralism. Moral is something else. Moral is the action in which one sees at work a man who loves and recognizes the value of reality and truth.
Differences between secular and religious morality
In the field of morals there are two fundamental currents: the secular and the religious current.
In the religious sphere we find the legitimacy and efficacy of the moral norm as coming from God.
The secular morality, in a political and social sense, denotes the claim, by an individual or a collective entity, of decision-making autonomy with respect to any ideological, moral or religious conditioning coming from outside. It is based on the independence of reason from any dogmatism and therefore enhances debate, confrontation and openness, freedom of personal choices.
Religion plays very important role in the society, and codifies social behavior, morality, and political thought. In this context, one of the issues that needs much attention is the possibility of exploitation of the role and the influence of religion and religious differences to foster violence, prejudices and discrimination.
The Relationship between Religion and Morality
Religions have always played a significant role as moral guides, instructing their faithful in the models of what is right and what is wrong. A familiar expression of this role can be seen in the great codes of conduct established by so many historical religious traditions, ranging from the Ten Commandments in the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians, to the Five Precepts of Buddhism. The fact that teachings from deeply separated traditions contain so many similar principles demonstrates a fundamental correspondence in the understanding of religion.
Basicallyreligions teach altruism, through means ranging from religious stories to examples of saints, and they encourage people to put their neighbor's interests on the same level as their own’s.
How should society inspire values, norms and attitudes? In traditional societies and throughout history, religious teachings at home, in places of worship and at school have formed the basis for moral education. Religious literature, folk tales and a collection of secular works convey the desired values.
Religion has always played an important role in encouraging reflection. Many people find that contemplation, prayer, and meditation are invaluable resources of rejuvenation and inspiration in the effort to lead a moral life.
The world in which we live, more and more inclined towards an uncertain future, more and more focused on appearing rather than on being, where rules and values seem to have vanished, and where a present is hanging in the balance between a time when rules and values dictated the daily living, allowing and guaranteeing appropriate but also polite and courteous behaviors, respectful of time and generations, and an uncertain future, in which the speed of new discoveries is not like a code of conduct that allows new generations to know and adapt to the current life. We are therefore witnessing more and more often the phenomenon of bullying, which is nowadays due to new technologies, and especiallycyber-bullying, where attacks are perpetrated through the use of the network, which guarantees a certain anonymity, but which creates an echo hardly eradicable; we also witness episodes of baby gangs who, without rules, if not collective violence, are targeting more fragile guys their own age, only by virtue of power and violence given by the group to which they belong.
Behaviors that draw from the rampant superficiality, which allows those who apply them to use rules of behavior and turn them to their own use and consumption. And again, boys who have no respect for families, where hierarchies seem to no longer count. Boys in disarray who live without the support of families, often committed to work and therefore unwilling or unable to grant and share valuable time for the education of their children. The same children of technology, of the digital age, who have lost the sense of human contact to become estranged behind a fatuous virtual reality. Often more in the realities of big cities rather than in small communities, where there is still the pleasure of sharing time, respect and education.
Are the moral and ethical values of young people deteriorating?
Yes, according to 67% of the boys interviewed in an extended research, against a small 33% who still believe in moral and ethical values.It is not uncommon for a girl of 18/19 or younger to have many sexual partners, often even partners that share the same friendship group. Most of young boys regularly take drugs, are alcohol addicted, sleep with people that only met a few hours earlier, totally unprotected, hence exposing to more risks. Especially during the weekends, when it all seems possible and free from any rule. This is not sure to happen because young generations actively decide to do wrong, or whether it has simply become “the norm”, following a fast-and-furious demeanor. Also, the mental make-up of young people nowadays is all over the place, as a lot of young people suffer from depression, confusion, and conflicting emotions. Society has become fickle and shallow, where quick fixes and quick thrills seem to be all the rage, instead of appreciating longevity and hard work, which will have lasting positive results and looking into life from a deeper perspective. Moreover, it is an assumed behavior for young boys to idolize celebrities, care more about how they appear to others and less about doing the right thing. Religion has become less important, because the “unaffiliated population” wants what it wants. It wants the churches to change a thousand-year long theology to adapt to new “needs”, where abortion is more accepted, and gay marriage is more accepted as well, because the younger generations want the Church to change to match their changing, and more liberal ideology.
It seems as though the moral and ethical values of young people seem to be deteriorating. It seems as though they are caring less about morals and ethical values, and are instead focusing on themselves in order to promote their own agendas, and the agendas do not focus on morals and values. Definitely, the younger generations seem to represent crumbling morality.
It seems an almost past concept of fashion, a category that should not be taken into too much consideration, basically a legacy of the past. Nonetheless morality pervades today more than in the past every aspect of life, and perhaps it will do so even more visibly, as humanity is faced with immense themes such as cloning, genetically modified organisms, hunger, the protection of the planet, the differences between the poor and the rich in the world.
Defining what is right and what is wrong, opportune and inconvenient, in other words, has never been so relevant.
Article contributed by Sonia Russo