In my article for the Fort Morgan Times this week I discuss a better way to measure virtue than so-called “family values”.
In our culture we extol “family values” as if loving your own mother were the height of virtue, but the truth is that affection and loyalty for the people who are close to us is just about the lowest bar possible of ethical behavior. Loving family and friends is what should go without saying. There’s plenty of self-interest in being kind to our friends and family: these are the people who are likely going to be around to pull us out of the fire. When we need help moving, if we need bailed out of debt or jail, if we are lonely and want companionship, our friends and family are the people we will call on. Part of the reason we’re kind to friends and family is because they will hopefully reciprocate.
The principle of reciprocity is behind a lot of the noble things we do. It’s not so much virtue that guides us to be polite to our employer as it is our need of a job. This is why Jesus said that real love isn’t being kind to those who are kind to you, but blessing even those who curse you. Another way to think of this is to look at how you treat people who are more vulnerable than you; people who have no power over you or who can’t pay you back in any significant way…
Jesus goes farther than me, of course. He says you have to hate your mother and father in order to be a good person. Click through for the rest.