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Personal Moral Code: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:03 What Is a Personal Moral Code?
  • 0:31 Examples of Moral Codes
  • 2:28 The Universal Moral Code
  • 3:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Everyone has a personal moral code: The rules they personally live by and believe to be morally right and sound. Each moral code is different and may not actually be legally sound, but according to the person's values, it is moral.

What Is a Personal Moral Code?

A personal moral code is a set of rules that we create for ourselves to live by. Most of us do not put the words down on paper, but we all still have them. However, since everyone in humanity is unique, so are the moral codes. Just think, the moral code of a military professional versus that of an artist; or the code of a teenager versus an elderly man's. They may have several rules that are similar, but what they place importance on will influence their moral code.

Examples of Moral Codes

So where does one begin to create their own guidelines to live by? And what are good examples of standard moral codes today? People come from varied backgrounds, educations, and countries, which all influence their personal life choices.

Where some people may have, 'be faithful to your spouse,' there are many that do not hold to this because they think it's unnecessary. Another good example is the moral code of seeking help when you're sick. However, there is a religion, Christian Scientists, that do not believe in going to the doctor. This just emphasizes that moral codes can vary depending on the belief systems of the people creating them.

Most moral codes are set up in outline form, with main ideas and the rules that support it. There are no set rules to follow. It's just based on your beliefs and values. So what are some examples of moral codes?

Family first involves loving and caring for family, defending family, seeking care for family as needed, and placing family above friends and co-workers. Take care of yourself might include rules like do not drink, do not smoke, do not do drugs, keep yourself safe, and do not take risks. Being good to others might include be honest, give to charity, live as a good example for others, and raise children to be helpful to society.

Now if we take this code above, you can expound forever upon the original rules listed, but when creating a moral code it's important to have supporting rules. As you can see above, there is a 'defend family' code, but there's nothing listed stating: do no harm to others. So, without this supporting rule, if defending your family means 'and hurt another in the process,' then it's perfectly within the morality of that person to do so.

There may be times rules within the code contradict. What if you have to put yourself in harms way for work because you are in the military or a police officer? Than your code should reflect this, because sometimes you cannot do good for society and still keep yourself safe from harm.

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