Today I will go off on a slightly religious tangent, so feel free to ignore this post. What defines what is good and what is evil? These two concepts are a little blurred because their definitions have been not been consistent through culture, time and space. Do we feel a sense of right or wrong as something we learn or something born with? The idea of being born with a conscience rather than learning one through society may be an indication of a higher power at work in this world. The idea that we gain our conscience from lessons learned through childhood and through external sources alone does not work for me because we come up with the irreducible problem of where our external teacher got their conscience from. We are social creatures but when we do something wrong we know it inherently. This may be because we know we are doing something that others may dislike. However, empathy or conformity may also be the reasons for this.
In empathy, we may have been mistreated by others before in a similar situation and now know that us treating them the same way will make them feel how we felt. There is a sense of guilt when we mistreat someone sometimes if we have not justified our actions in some way. Does any person consciously commit an act of evil? They may realize they are doing something that others will see as wrong but they will justify it to themselves. A conman knowingly cheating people may justify it by deciding that he is doing it because he needs money. A man cheating on his wife may justify by deciding that he is not getting what he wants from his wife. Nobody doing wrong does it just because they want to do evil.
Conformity is another case. We grow up in a society and have herd mentality that makes us want to belong to our surrounding group. We learn some of our morals from society. However, our individual decisions can be changed when we are made aware of majority decisions in a group that we are part of. This is especially true for decisions where we don’t have strong personal consensus on. There have been experiments done to test this. This shows that our morality can be changed by wanting to conform to what our group thinks. Science would have us believe that this causal factor means that we have no free will in our moral choices and that all moral choices are based on some cause/effect. This concept is not explained by infinite regression and what caused the first cause.
Anyhow, I think morality is based on at least 3 factors, possibly more: innate, empathy and conformity. And I’m not sure about innate because I don’t KNOW there is a God to place that in us even though I believe there is. Scientists would have have us believe innate morality is in our genes through evolution. However, I do’t think that explains altruistic situations where one is willing to sacrifice themselves for others. Today’s post had nothing to do with epilepsy but relates to spirituality which is a topic close to my heart. Please share your opinions with me.