There was an interesting product available in the medieval world, called an indulgence. It was an official document marketed by the church that gave an individual permission to do wrong without it being held against him/her. If someone had a wild craving or compulsion, he/she could lay down some cash and then go do what he wanted with a certificate promising him/her a clear conscience.
A fellow named, Martin Luther, thought that giving people prior permission to do wrong wasn’t good for society. So he protested, broke up the church, and helped end the practice of selling indulgences.
However, nowadays, in the 21st Century, indulgences are back, and this time they are not for sale; they are free for all. So if anyone wants to indulge in immoral behavior all he/she has to do is surrender his/her conscience to society’s pervasive, permissive influences. Here are the keys to 21st Century indulgences:
* Public approval of immoral behavior. It is socially uncouth to disapprove of someone’s behavior, no matter how offensive it may be. To consider particular behaviors to be immoral, nowadays, is usually labeled as judging.
* Freedom from individual responsibility for our behaviors. Our wrongful behaviors are now often blamed on the influence of society. It is not our fault that we do what we do, but it is because of our parents, our problems, our genetics, the media, politicians, etc.
* The idea of situational ethics. Behaviors that have been considered immoral for millennia by most of the world’s cultures are in the 21st Century pronounced as hunky dory.
So here we are, morally back in the medieval world. Hey, wasn’t that called the Dark Ages? Martin Luther, where are you?