Human beings are the most distinct of all creatures because of one distinguishable ability;
evaluation. On the basis of this one ability humans have conquered the impossible. They evaluate
their surroundings; nature, space, earth and come up with something mesmerizing. Humans can
easily evaluate anything as right or wrong, however it has been observed in most cases that they
try to suppress their own evaluation and analysis under their religious beliefs. Conscience of a
human plays a fundamental role in defining what is right and what is wrong. Human conscience
provides self-feedback for any act done by a person, if the feedback is positive, the act done was
right and if the feedback given by conscience is negative, the act done was wrong.
To believe in something means following a specified idea without its evaluation or
analysis, and without any proof to support its appropriateness. Such an idea can only be a belief
of a person if it is obtained from a highly credible source, which in most religions is a Prophet
sent by God or a trustworthy source, like Holy Books. There are so many religious beliefs and
ethical values spread all over the world and followed by different people. These beliefs and
ethical values subconsciously design the perception and culture of a group of people or a
religion. A member of such group or religion would follow the procedures taught to him without
raising any question regarding its aptness.
There are some acts which can be clearly regarded as immoral or wrong, but some people
deny this fact only because God told them that the act is right. For example, killing someone is
unquestionably wrong, but in some religions, killing someone for some religious reasons is aWhat Defines Right or Wrong 3
norm. People kill others for minor reasons, only because they perceive is to be the right act.
Their perception is developed by religious beliefs and what God has told them.
According to Josh McDowell (1994), people are conditioned by their society since their
childhood. What they see, what they hear, what they observe others do; all these factors get
imprinted in their minds and when they grow up, they deny rationality and put their religious
beliefs forward instead of following logical reasons. These beliefs hinder such people from
clearly understanding the logic and truth behind a religious law or to analyze rationality behind
any course of action advised by the religion.
John Deigh (1995) describes this as the difference between morality and ethics. Morality
is something which is prima facie right or wrong, there is no question in it. A person can easily
evaluate something as moral or immoral. While in ethics, something which is clearly immoral
can also be regarded as ethical in some circumstances. Like, killing someone for going against
religious rules if supposed to be ethical in certain religions, which is completely wrong when we
consider the right for freedom of choice. Ethics are developed by the beliefs prevailing in a
society; therefore it is difficult to go against ethics even if they are immoral.
Therefore, it can be concluded that Right or Wrong is defined by a person’s conscience.
People deny the rationality of an act because of their religious beliefs and their perception. In
order to understand the truth behind a belief, a person must evaluate the object as right or wrong
and he must analyze the self-feedback provided to him by his own conscience.What Defines Right or Wrong 4
Deigh, J. (1995). Ethics vs. morals and morality. Retrieved from
McDowell, J. & Hostetler, B. (1994). Right From Wrong. Dallas, Texas: Word Pub.
Weston, A. (2008). A 21st century ethical toolbox (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.


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