September 21, 2009

Questions about right and wrong

the article I read on ethics were very enlightening, but my question to you is: Where did “right and “wrong originate? Maybe you answered this question and I did not understand. Are you saying that “God gave us “free Will” to know the difference from right and wrong. Thank you for your time. C.R.

I didn’t really address it. From a Christian (and some other beliefs) view, God is all good, so that which is in conformity with His will is good, and that which is against it is bad. This is not intolerance on God’s part, but because He is the “standard”, desires and actions must be measured by comparison with Him. So “right” and “wrong” are concepts in the mind of Man that have developed as we have examined human actions and motivations (meaning as all rational cultures have examined it). These concepts allow us to more easily describe actions as being consistent with God’s will or against it, although various philosophers would have called it by different names. I don’t mean right and wrong don’t exist, just that the terms we use are limited by language and human reason, so we may sometimes apply them in misleading or incorrect ways.
Of course, the question could be taken differently. Right could be said to originate in God, and wrong to originate in any nature possessing free will that chooses to act apart from God.

Are you saying that “God gave us “free Will” to know the difference from right and wrong.

No, the intellect allows us to know the difference, and the will is what chooses. The intellect informs the will, and the will drives the intellect. The story of the Fall is very important: it was not the desire for knowledge that was the sin, but the desire to act apart from God (disobedience or sin). In the act of disobeying, Man discovered “wrong”, and this discovery was indeed new knowledge. Until that point, there was nothing “wrong” in the world. The story of Pandora’s box is similar in some ways. It wasn’t the curiosity that was the problem, but the desire to act independently from the Good.
I hope this makes sense. I’m not really a philosopher, but I do think about these things a lot. Please write if anything needs more work and I’ll try again.
Thanks again for such good questions!

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