Something which I was taught at university was the importance of taking a stance on certain ethics. It was the brilliant Professor Harvey Shapiro who taught us this, and not only did he discuss the importance of making a stance, he also showed us how to go about making a decision. No matter if it is abortion or faith, understanding where you stand on certain ethical debates makes a big difference. This is important because it can influence the way in which you vote, it will influence the conversation you have with friends and it will also influence how you educate your children.
Here is how to weight up where you stand.
You will have a certain instinct when a topic is raised, and whilst it is important that you pay attention to it, it is also necessary to not assume that this is definitely the way that you feel. Our instincts are borne from what we have been shown throughout our lives, what we have read, what we have been taught and what others think. And so even though it is good to have an impulse around what you believe, it is not necessary the true belief that you have, and that is why you should continue to explore the theme.
Exploration of Two Sides
The reason why you cannot depend solely on your instincts is that you need to take advice and facts from both sides of an argument. In doing so you have to try your best to remain neutral and if you completely believe in your instincts then you are going to find it difficult to read conflicting information, with an open mind. The key to getting to the bottom of how you truly feel about an ethical issue is that you focus on all angles, putting yourself in varying frames of mind. It is only once you have seen all opinions and counter arguments that you are able to reach a conclusive decision.
Discussing With Others
Whilst this is always something which you will end up making a decision on by yourself, there is absolutely nothing wrong getting some input from others. If you are chatting with someone who’s views you respect then you may find that they have identified different issues which you haven’t. In speaking with someone else, you can challenge their ideas and they can challenge yours. This is not to say that they will prove you wrong, but they will inspire and motivate you to have credible arguments backing up your beliefs.
Ultimately, making a decision on important ethical questions is critical to who we are, and how we operate. Our code of ethics is what will guide us, it is what will give us a strong foundation from which we make other decisions.
Making ethical choices is not easy, and nor should it be, this is about spending time on making tough decisions, but through this process we will learn a great deal about ourselves.