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How do we decide what is truly right or wrong?

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posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:12 PM
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This is a bit of a random thought I had not too long ago so I decided to make a thread about seeing as ATS seems like a perfect place to discuss such subject’s

This is something it seems that we don’t usually think about (or I don’t in all honesty) In fact it is something that we seem to just know and do, But why and how can we know what is right and what is wrong??

I mean take governmental laws for example, a government gives it’s laws out to its people, then those people abide by those laws thinking they are right and then they pass those right and wrong laws onto their children etc.

But if that particular law that was passed down in the first place was wrong, then that would mean we are striving to do the right thing’s for the completely wrong reasons meaning that what we are doing would surely be wrong wouldn’t it?

Or for example what if we thought something was right because our parents passed it down to us, but others thought it was morally wrong, or what about the things that was right and wrong in the past which today could be wrong and right and so forth?

So just exactly does a person know what is truly right and wrong? How does a single neutral person decide what would possibly be right or wrong??




posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:16 PM
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S & F


How do we decide what is truly right or wrong ?

And do our decisions re: same stand the test of time ?

Do our ideas of what is right, what is wrong, change as we gain experience and years ?

I've made some whopping mistakes, although at the time, I truly believed I was doing/saying/advising 'the right thing'

Makes me cringe now just to think about some of those mistakes



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:22 PM
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reply to post by Rising Against
 


Stealing is wrong, but, if a man steals a loaf of bread to feed his hungry children because he has no job or money, then it is right, in my opinion.

Depending on circumstances and situations will lead a person to decide what is right or wrong at the time.

If somebody tried to harm me or my own physically, I'd kill them in a heartbeat if given the opportunity to do so.

Does this answer your question?



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:29 PM
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reply to post by Blanca Rose
 



Does this answer your question?


No, Thanj you for your post, But I think it's slightly more complex than a simple post to be honest.

But I do sort of agree with you in that our views on what is right and what is wrong not only change but change rapidly and day to day.

But how do we decipher what is wrong at any moment, or how do we decide if a specific action could be good or bad etc.


[edit on 21-2-2010 by Rising Against]



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:33 PM
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I sort of started a thread with evil explained and there good and wrong/evil are one.

But truth is a whole other thing .
I guess you can accept cold hard evidence what by anybody can be repeated and the results stay the same, it's the truth.

For all other truth I'm afraid you can only trust on your own human insights to walk around the biggest lies.

[edit on 21/2/10 by Sinter Klaas]



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:37 PM
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We can know what is true by the Bible.

Also, truth stands on its own.

Our conscience also guides us into what is true or not true.

Also, Nature reveals what is true. It is what it is. There are laws of nature that are observed, and give us a bearing on truth.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:38 PM
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Originally posted by Rising Against
reply to post by Blanca Rose
 



Does this answer your question?


No, Thanj you for your post, But I think it's slightly more complex than a simple post to be honest.

But I do sort of agree with you in that our views on what is right and what is wrong not only change but change rapidly and day to day.

But how do we decipher what is wrong at any moment, or how do we decide if a specific action could be good or bad etc.


[edit on 21-2-2010 by Rising Against]



Sometimes we follow the instructions we received as children, from parents, teachers, religious instruction, society, etc

At other times, we don't think about it at all, most likely. Instead, what is 'right' is emblazoned in our mind and we act on it in confidence that this is the 'right' thing to do, say, report, conceal ... whatever

Other times we agonise over it, weighing the pros and cons. Or we seek advice

The confusions, delays, hesitancies arise, most probably, because whilst 'right' and 'wrong' may be ideals, absolutes -- in reality, almost every issue is a shade of grey

'What shall I do? I want to do the right thing '

Response: ' just go with what you feel '


So there are times when we unhesitatingly decide what is right, what is wrong

At other times, we say (silently, or to others aloud) ' I'd rather not commit myself ', or ' I'd rather not be involved'

Many times, I've acted in the utmost belief that what I was about to do or say was 'right'

now, years along, I accept that in many instances I was wrong



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:43 PM
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What if there is no right and wrong. What if that's the mistake? Think about it for a second. Nothing is right, and nothing is wrong. There is only left or right, your decision. You take left, there are positive and negative results and you are left with another decision. You take right and the same occurs. Only the variables are different, the results. So we learn from the results of our decision and then make our choices again based on previous results.

What I'm trying to say is there is no right and wrong. Only learning. Trial & Error. Both decision have negative and positive results, sometimes we only choose to focus on one or the other, but they both exist. And based on our own decision to react to those negative or positive aspects of a result, we make our next decision.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:45 PM
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Originally posted by Rising Against

But how do we decipher what is wrong at any moment, or how do we decide if a specific action could be good or bad etc.


True life does not come with an instruction book. Moment to moment we live, and decide what to do or not to do.

Basically it's trial and error. Like a child sticking their hand on a hot stove, they learn not to do it again. Like a child who shares a toy, they learn they gain a playmate in the process, and will do it again.

Morals, and what you learn based on your upbringing also help in moment to moment descisions.

Most of us, in our descision making processes are a product of our environments. People who grew up being abused likely turn out to be abusers themselves. People who grow up in loving households learn to love and be loved.

I believe there is no set answer to your question, and I look forward to other answers you will get.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:52 PM
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It's called morality. That's how you differentiate between what is truly right or wrong.

But morality in itself is a human creation. So, I'd say that our conscience determines what we believe to be right or wrong. According to Finnis, the author of "The Fundamentals of Ethics", we have a moral responsibility to follow our conscience - even if our conscience is wrong.

I agree that we must follow our conscience, even if the possibility exists that one's conscience is tainted. If everyone followed their conscience, I'm sure the world would be a much better place. The problem is with those who ignore their conscience: those who feel that something they are doing is wrong, but they ignore their intuition - those are the truly evil people.

Although, maybe I just think that because I'm an intuitionist when it comes to ethics. I don't think we can ever truly know moral facts. There are facts, and then there are moral facts. Within intuitionism, both the facts and the moral facts are separate items, whereas in the other option: being definism, moral facts are included as facts in general.

And... I'm starting to ramble. I guess in discussing morality, I would recommend Frankena's Ethics, Adler's The Time of our Lives, and Finnis' The Fundamentals of Ethics. Although out of all those books, Adler is the only one that was relatively enjoyable to read. Frankena and Finnis... drone on and on too much. Haha.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 12:54 PM
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Ok, here's one, taken from real life:

A large charity organisation. It receives thousands of items per day, freely given by members of the public in the belief they are assisting the less fortunate (and to make them feel a little virtuous and less guilty than they'd feel if they simply dumped the items in the trash)

The charity organisation sells these items. And the charity organisation pays its staff

Hundreds of people purchase items daily. Some of the items (furniture, electrical goods, for example) are priced in the several hundred dollar range

One of the counter-staff at the charity org. is very popular. She is very friendly and not unattractive. She's always smiling and helpful

However, some customers have noticed that this friendly woman repeatedly provides them receipts which understate the marked price of items by $10, or $20 or $30. So, if the item is priced at say $99, the receipt will show perhaps $69.

The customers pay the marked price. But that price is not reflected in the receipts

Now, mistakes do happen, sure. But the same mistake occurring several times to a particular customer, despite that months or weeks may pass between visits to the charity-shop ?

Is it more likely that the friendly woman behind the counter is stealing ? What other explanation is there ?

What would be the 'right' thing to do ? Anonymously inform the charity-shop admin of what appears to be going on ? Or ignore it ?



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:07 PM
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Originally posted by Dock9


What would be the 'right' thing to do ? Anonymously inform the charity-shop admin of what appears to be going on ? Or ignore it ?


I would bring it to the admin attention as myself, not anonymously. Some charitable organizations hire ex-convicts, drug addicts, etc..... If this happens repeatedly, obviously this person has not been rehabilitated.

Just because this person is good looking, smiles and is helpful, doesn't mean they shouldn't be treated like any other criminal that is pocketing cash.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:13 PM
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Originally posted by Just the Truth
We can know what is true by the Bible.


So then, every word in the book is true, is that what you are saying? I will give you some time to recant, before posting a lot of inconsistencies in the bible.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:18 PM
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Right an wrong in a way, is personal opinion based.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:19 PM
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There is no right or wrong at all, these are concepts created by us humans.

Sure they help to make sure we can function as a society and I have no doubt they have helped us humans along but if we did not invent right or wrong it would not exsist.

Say I wanted to kill a man there is no law against it there is no concept at all that what I am doing is evil it would not be wrong, so it would just be an action.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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reply to post by Dock9
 


We decide by following the status-quo. Laws of society change with so much time to suit their survivability. We have brains which able us to determine if this law is right or wrong for us. If it is right we leave it, if it is wrong than we implement a change to suit our lives better.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:54 PM
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Originally posted by Blanca Rose
reply to post by Rising Against
 


Stealing is wrong, but, if a man steals a loaf of bread to feed his hungry children because he has no job or money, then it is right, in my opinion.


And if everyone did that whom was hungry, then soon the breadmaker would go hungry due to all the theft...who would he steal from then since he cannot afford to make bread anymore.

Right and wrong...I think this can be summed up simply.

Whatever is done to continue the existance of our species is right, anything that tries to purposefully destablise our species (typically murder) is wrong...anything else is a judgement call.

Oddly enough, while procreation is good, overprocreation is damaging in the long run. Its not a responsibility to breed, just to make sure that those bred have max chance of survival...this is the most basic answer for right/wrong there can be...and again, anything else is simply social issues typically measured on a grayscale.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by Rising Against
So just exactly does a person know what is truly right and wrong? How does a single neutral person decide what would possibly be right or wrong??


Morals are the 'status quo' of what is right and wrong.

When there are no morals, we have virtue.

Judges work by morals.

Justices work by virtue.

With judges, they decide to take the right or wrong path.

With justices, they are usually faced with decisions where there is two rights or two wrongs, or and right/wrong, and they may decides to let both win or neither win. Justices act more like a transistor than a judge. "What goes around comes around."

[edit on 21-2-2010 by dzonatas]



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 01:59 PM
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What courage to post such an awesome question, and to boldly approach such a daunting topic. *bow*

I ask myself a series of expository questions.

For actions/decisions:

What is the purpose? Who will it benefit? Would it be right or wrong for anyone else? Why? Is it practical? Legal? Necessary? Able to produce many good results?

For rules/laws:

How did the law begin? What was the purpose and time? Is there a way to know the full extent of this rule or law? Does it honor the welfare of mankind? Is it really a rule or law, or a custom/tradition?

This is where personal honor comes in, for me. Underpinning this is a respect for the flexibility and yet firmness of the laws of the Bible.

Unlike most of our self-conceived (control of others and their money) laws, the Biblical laws of Yahweh cover all people, all times, confer dignity, make penalties self-regulated to a great extent, and cover everyday life without going into mind-numbing detail. Rather, the laws in the current text show God's insight and understanding of common human lives across the vast span of history, and His reminders of how easily wrongdoing can creep in. He blames the enemy and shows us how to avoid those traps, which are often based on a series of compromises, a little at a time.

The greatest difference, however, that eventually struck me as I studied histories of cultures and the Bible, as well, is the similarities between "higher" cultures and the laws of the Bible. I do not refer to the books of cultural traditions and practices like the Talmud, as significant as it may or may not be. I refer to the depth and breadth of the law as it protects and guides man forward.

Biblical law allows for naturalization; the many different scenarios for rape; guidelines on healthy food consumption (spiritual aspects are included in all of God's laws) and what to do if no "clean" foods are available; tithing and how and when to tithe; including the right to keep the tithe and spend it on one OWN household, for pleasure and thanksgiving and joy.

It's not what is often publicly proclaimed, and that's why I am very suspicious of mainstream preachers and churches. They don't teach the law or respect for it, which would naturally develop as people applied it to their lives, and saw how applicable and thorough and fair it really is.

The leadership just never gets around to the awesome legal library that is contained within the Old Testament.

Hammurabi's code is nearly identical to the legal and social laws of the Hebrew Torah. That's how good it really is. Our code is based on Hammurabi's and is a standard in the world today. Look it up, I encourage you! Fascinating stuff, really, and gives one a new perspective.

However, the ability to discern right from wrong is a process like any other, just much more important than most.

Training people not to read the oldest and best legal code, the one that is specifically designed to HELP humans?

That's blasphemy. And molesting their kids while stealing their money? Teaching their teens to yell and scream and rebel during "youth revivals"?
Also not the most effective training in doing good, or learning to identify and accomplish effective actions for good.

My view.



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 02:07 PM
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You have to decide for yourself, what "right" and "wrong"...."good" and "evil" are.

No one can tell you. No one can teach you.

But the trick is this:

It's not about knowing what is right and wrong. It's not about what true evil is, or the golden good.

What it's all about, is accepting what other people believe- while still holding firm to your own beliefs.



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