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St.George's avatar

How do you define "morally wrong?"?

Asked by St.George (5852points) April 17th, 2008

When people don’t like something they might say, “That’s morally wrong,” but is it? Doesn’t it depend on perspective? Is there a universal “morally wrong?”

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15 Answers

MrKnowItAll's avatar

See “Bush Presidency”

eambos's avatar

Anything that goes against your beleifs would be morally wrong.

acebamboo77's avatar

@MrknowitAll- great answer
I dont think there is a “universal” moral law. I think its all relative to not only religion, but politics, and traditions of culture.

nikipedia's avatar

Universal morals? No. But something can be morally wrong within a certain context. If we as a society agree that murder is morally wrong, that’s wrong for our society. It might not be wrong for a different society, where murder is just something you do on Friday nights.

Breefield's avatar

This is something I’ve been thinking about lately. I’m agnostic and my dad is Christian. He always is like “well, my morals are based on he bible, what are yours based on?” Then tries to tell me my morals are just relative to society and what everyone else things is right.

Eh, I’ll get back to you on this on.

wildflower's avatar

There is no universal ethic or moral right or wrong. It’s individual as well as cultural. Essentially we all have a set of values or morals, what we believe to be right or wrong and when something goes against our morals, but not necessarily against laws, rules or regulations that are universal and apply to all, we consider them morally wrong.

Spargett's avatar

That’s something that’s only relevant to a subjective perpective.

Disney usually vilifies animals that have to kill to eat in their stories. Do you think that its morally wrong?

boffin's avatar

Right is right, even if everyone says it’s wrong….
Wrong is wrong, even if everyone says it’s right…

Breefield's avatar

Exactly @boffin Everyone’s rights and wrongs are relative to that person. So when a psychopath molests children, but he thinks it’s “right” is that really right?

scubydoo's avatar

it’s something that has soo many different points of view. much as wildflower stated “no universal ethic or moral right or wrong”. i would of stated the same but unfortunately i’m late to the discussion as usual… geez does everyone up here have an iphone , lol… seems i get to put my 2 cents in always late.. story of my life i guess..

St.George's avatar

Is there a difference then, between wrong and morally wrong? Morally wrong seems like it should be worse, but isn’t wrong just wrong? I think people tend to use “morally” when they have a strong emotional reaction to the wrongness.

Mtl_zack's avatar

just because the moedern western society says its right or wrong, doesnt make it right or wrong. you have to look through the other side of the window. some americans think “an eye for an eye”, other cultures might think, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. disney also plays a huge role in all this right or wrong business. they set up values for the american people and because disney is so popular and so many kids watch it, its like brainwashing the kids a set of rules they have to obey. if someone steals in a disney movie, they get punished, but what if they needed the bread in order to survive. it might seem right to the person who is trying to survive.

just a side note, i am EXTREMELY culturally relevant, not to boast, but my family and friends always say that im too apologetic. i am jewish, and all my family thinks that the muslims are terrorizing the jews, but i see things from a totally different perspective at times. its kind of hard for me to let my feelings about certain issues out because everyone around me will judge it as “wrong”.

its hard to live in such a biased world, but there is no such thing as an unbiased world.

Mtl_zack's avatar

a few more things…

isues change with time. from 2000 B.C., to around the 1950s, it was a norm to hate jews. however, now the world thinks that it is morally wrong to hate jews. why all of a sudden its different? same thing goes for slavery. from 1492-the civil war, slavery was a good thing, but now it represents something evil.

the united nations is full of crap. its a bunch of powerful countries that want to look good towards their citizens and other countries. they sign the universal declaration of human rights, but really its just a white old man whos signing it, representing many cultures living in their country. some of these cultures might hate article 16, which says that both people in a marriage must consent. however, the indians have been practicing arrangemed marriages for centuries, and this is destroying their culture. this act also criticises itself in article 9: ” No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”. this document is one of the most arbitray documents that humankind has ever made, and it critisices people for being using arbitrary judgement. i mean, that is just plain hipocricity (is that a word? i meant to be a hypocrite).

and by the way, on the main site of the un, it states “we the people”. this is the american law, not a world law. it shows how much america has an impact on the u.n.

Poser's avatar

It’s a slippery slope to claim that there is no universal morality. Ironically, it is often the same type of people who tout the universal similarities between people across races and cultures. If we are all the same under our skin, why aren’t our ethics all the same?

Certainly, different cultures have vastly different ideas of morality. However, I think that, overall, the basics are always the same. For a culture to survive, there must be a basic understanding among its people that they shouldn’t kill indiscriminately, they should tell the truth, and they should work to protect the children of their society. Of course all cultures have those who violate these basic agreements; they are called murderers, liars, pedophiles and perverts. But all societies also have exceptions to these rules: executions, wars, etc. These exceptions shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of moral standards.

The problem with claiming that there is no universal morality is that you open a door to hell (figuratively at least; literally to some), where anything goes, so long as one can convince enough of the population that something is not morally wrong. I think all humans, on a base level, believe in an individual’s right to life, liberty and property. This is universal.

knnhpr's avatar

Poser, great answer. Best one here. And a great topic too. Sad truth is, relative morality is no morality. Morality is a means for the alleviation of humankind’s own self-inflicted suffering. It cannot be relative or false, because human suffering is not relative or false. Sure, life is experienced subjectively, but what constitutes a successfully functioning group of living beings is most certainly objective in nature. Sure, different cultures hold different mores, but that is because some societies are simply immoral to a greater or lesser extent (not excluding our own). It is, after all, with far greater ease that a nation, group, or collective acts unfavorably than do private individuals. And what is immorality? Simply this: actions, words, or thoughts, independently or as part of a conditioned personal disposition which directly or indirectly cause human suffering.

As far as wars go, they are not immoral if they are just, in that they are done primarily in self defense. A nation with good morals should not allow a decadent people to conquer them and impose their wrong ways upon them. And as with capital punishments, a society should offer proper consequences for those who cause the suffering of innocent others. Although I cannot openly support executions, a society must handle its crime in the most effective way possible in order to actually uphold justice and peace. My only disappointment for the United States is our openness to sexual immorality, because we reason that it causes harm to no consensual person. But this is a falsity.

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