Ethics is the universal law & Moral is social law. It is time to clear the confusion!
Morals are social laws or agreements among the members of any particular society. Morals are not universal and hence differ from place to place and time to time and group to group. What is moral in India is not so in other societies or countries. Morals vary even within India in different locations & societies. Morals are made specifically for sustaining “social order” within the group or among the groups of people for maintaining stability and to avoid disruptions – as it deals mainly with emotional issues connected with human relations within and without the families, groups and populations.
Lusting mentally for another married woman or man is immoral – but not illegal – till some unpleasant action is precipitated.
Some morals are adopted into the legal systems in order to create a just society – but all morals are not necessarily legal and vice versa. Commercial morality is very different from the social morality and do not agree altogether with one another. A company killing another company in competition is not immoral nor illegal in the commercial world. But in social order, one person killing another is immoral & also illegal. “Sati” is considered as the highest moral standard in some societies but it is totally illegal and more particularly, totally “inhuman”.
Morals are professed & adopted by various religions in accordance with their own perceptions of what is needed in that society. Hence morals of each religion differs with the other. Eg. Polygamy is moral & legal in Islam but not in Hinduism.
Equivalent of Ethics is “Dharma” in Sanskrit – which is about being “Totally Human“.
Dharma = Ethics = The greatest good for the largest number of people and their symbiotics.
Dharma is “The way something essentially ought to be – for the good of all, for all times and at all places”.
Polluting the atmosphere (air & water) may not be immoral but it is unethical.
Destruction of forests may be commercially not immoral, may not even be illegal – but certainly unethical.
Cruelty to animals may not be illegal nor immoral – but certainly unethical.
Bad treatment of women & children may not be immoral nor illegal – but certainly unethical.
In short, anything that harms the living beings and it’s symbiotics either now or in future, directly or indirectly is unethical.
Thus, ethics is the universal principle for ensuring survival of all on this planet earth.
Ethics & Morals are not synonyms – but vary in their deep inner meaning vastly – as described above.
Ethics is pro-survival thought, speech & action fully aligned towards enhancing the survival of humanity & symbiotics.
“Morals” are just a small and particular part of “Ethics”. There are morals in the world which are unethical. Hence Ethics should prevail over morals and not the other way round, to have a sustained universal peace & harmony in the world!