How Can Anyone Judge What is Morally Right or Wrong?
In a recent quite interesting debate on the forums I was asked 'And what moral authority do you have to determine good and evil?'. The forum topic in question can be found if you visit http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/7848 .
I found this a question that has preyed on my mind, not least of which because I feel that surely what is 'Good and Evil', seems to me should pretty much based on common sense and a conscience. I can't help wondering if everyone feels the same as I do, which is that surely it doesn't take a spiritual leader or a genius to work out the accepted standard for good and evil, right and wrong and acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
To explain my feelings on this I have an immediate list that springs to mind of what every human being should realise is good or evil without much debate. If anyone doubts the sense in these lists then I seriously doubt their sanity, and find it odd that even a so called Christian on the above forum topic had to ask me what moral authority I had to determine good and evil. My immediate thought was, 'Well, I have a brain and a conscience for a start, plus I don't simply blindly follow the words of some religious nut who tells me to do something in the name of the appropriate God whose wishes they profess to be passing on'. Strangely enough I don't think this comment would have been welcomed if I had chosen to voice it in a further post, so I have chosen to write this hub instead and get a more general opinion.
My lists of good and evil, right and wrong, appropriate behaviour and inappropriate behaviour, as I see it basically are as follows:
Good, Appropriate, Moral and Correct Behaviour in my Humble Opinion.
1) Quite a few of the 10 commandments although I am far from a Bible Basher.
2) Being kind to animals.
3) Looking after and respecting the planet and the creatures that reside on it, to the best of your individual abilities.
4) Looking after those less fortunate than yourselves, be it family, friends, neighbours or strangers.
5) Not hurting or being cruel to children.
6) Not bullying weaker people than yourself.
7) Not committing murder, (as in the 10 commandments).
8) Not stealing (except in such circumstances as to save lives).
9) Not having affairs with people who already have partners, (much as in 10 commandments also).
10) Defending others when you feel they are in the right and need moral support, or are incapable of arguing their valid case intelligently enough to make their point.
11) Ensuring animals or the products from animals we eat are treated as humanely and naturally as possible before they, or their products, reach our dinner plate.
Evil, Inappropriate, Immoral and Incorrect Behaviour also in my Humble Opinion.
1) Committing murder, unless you do it as an act of mercy for a dying relative or friend who is having a slow and painful death and asks you to help them die.
2) Being cruel to animals.
3) Being cruel to children.
5) Bitching against others, be it at work or in a neighbourhood, especially if you know it might cause another emotional pain if they found out what you had said about them.
6) Stealing (except in occasions where it might feed a starving person or family).
7) Ignoring the needs of others because you 'have better things to do'.
8) Infidelity, as you always have the option of ending your relationship first if it isn't working, or insisting the person you are interested in ends theirs before you get involved with them.
9) Destroying wildlife habitats without thought for how many species will die out or the effect on the environment. It simply isn't good enough to say such people 'need to make a living' ,as these very actions will ultimately destroy their means of making a living, and then not only will it be too late for the planet and the species destroyed, but these people will still have to find a new way to make a living, so they may as well start doing it now before the damage is done beyond repair.
10) Having a war in the name of religion, especially when no religious book I know of suggests doing this, only the living spiritual leaders of the day use this as a means of calling their followers to kill in the name of their God.
11) Happily eating animals or their products that we know have not had a natural life, or have been cruelly killed, e.g. Veal Calves, Machine Culled Chickens, Battery Hen's Eggs, intensively farmed animals of any variety etc.
These are Just the Basics
Now these are just the basics in my mind, but what is so hard about this that people feel a need to say that we have no right to judge what is 'Good or Evil'. I watch programmes on TV every day that illustrate to me categorically what is good and evil, and I don't need to be a genius to know what feels right or wrong. Surely knowing what is moral or immoral is all part of having a conscience, and not based on blindly going along with what some religion tells you, often misquoted, appropriately interpreted and frequently twisted to suit the requirements of the speaker involved.
I try my best to live the kind of life that allows me to sleep easily at night, knowing I have lived another day in a way that I feel any decent God would approve of. I rescue creatures of all shapes and sizes wherever possible, (mainly from my cats, but also whenever I come across any animal in distress), I try to ensure our fishing lake is surrounded by the most wildlife friendly habitat possible and refuse to allow any shooting of animals on our land. I help others wherever and whenever I can, even if it means going short myself. This makes me feel good about myself, and if anyone can tell me that a God does not approve of this as it is not' Good' by his standards, then I want no part of such a God, and I doubt many would.
So to summarise briefly, I don't think there is anything wrong with being able to say we can judge what is 'Good or Evil', of course we can! God gave us free will apparently, and I am guessing this was a test to see if we could develop enough intelligence to work out for ourselves what 'Good and Evil Behaviour' consisted of, without needing to be spoon fed the common sense required to work it out.
What are your thoughts this, as I would hope to find I am not alone in this train of thought?