Responsibility



Responsibility A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star. -Ambrose Bierce


Our current culture is marked by its lack of moral compass. It contains people of radically different faiths. Secular culture has abandoned the project of morality as a society-wide enterprise. Instead, morality has become a private and moral choice. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks describes morality as humans attempt to construct a common life on the basis of shared codes, conventions and convictions.


Our secular culture tends to under emphasize responsibility, creating a strange contradiction. We have almost unlimited freedom to choose. But, when things go wrong, it is rarely our fault. There is always something or someone else to blame; poverty, discrimination, a difficult childhood, education, the media, government, big business (James Wilson, Moral Judgement)


"Free will is bestowed on every human being. If one desires to turn toward the good way and be righteous, he has the power to do so. If one wishes to turn toward the evil ways and be wicked, he is at liberty to do so … Every human being may become righteous like Moses our teacher, or wicked like Jeroboam; wise or foolish, merciful or cruel, niggardly or generous, and so with all other qualities … This doctrine is an important principle, the pillar of the Law and the commandments, as it is said, 'See I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil, and again it is written, " Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse.' This means that the power is in your hands, and whatever a man desires to do among the things that human beings do, he can do, whether they are good or evil " - Maimonides


Each of us is responsible for what we do. It also means that we are capable of recognizing and acknowledging our mistakes and choosing to act differently in the future.


"In the last resort, man should not ask, 'What is the meaning of my life?' but should realize that he himself is being questioned. Life is putting its problems on him, and it is up to him to respond to these questions by being responsible; he can only answer to life by answering for his life. Life is a task. The religious man differs from the apparently irreligious man only by experiencing his existence not simply as a task, but as a mission. This means that he is also aware of the taskmaster, the source of his mission. For thousands of years that source has been called God." -Viktor Frankl Man's Search for Meaning


God's first question to humankind, "Where are you?" Gen 3:9

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