Where does our sense of right and wrong come from?
In life, we all have to make decisions, whether they are right decisions or wrong decisions
depends on the circumstances, time, place and even your frame of mind and emotion at
that moment. However, there are many basic notions of what is right versus what is wrong.
This basic understanding of what right and wrong is common across all cultures, race and
religion. This enables us to understand each other’s action and reaction which in turn helps
us co-exist with each other on a very basic level. When people commit a wrong thing that is
clearly against the rules of a group or society they belong to, then there will be
consequences of the law as defined by the group/society. But why do people make wrong
decisions or for that matter, make the right decision? This essay will assess the reasons of
where our sense of right and wrong come from.
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.”
― Augustine of Hippo
Some people would argue that religion has a significant part to play in where our moral
sense comes from. Religion is a belief that tells us a set of rules to follow and commit to like
the 10 commandments in Judaism or the teachings of Confucius. If the religion tells us to
help the needy and do charity as it is the right thing to do as a follower of that religion, that
teaching will reflect on us, on our decisions and actions. If the religion says that stealing is
totally wrong, the follower of the religion may not do it. If a person follows his religion
faithfully and follows its laws, the person will change his/her way of life to what his religion
expects of him. This turn will unconsciously affect his sense of right from wrong. Different
religions can have a slightly different sense of righteousness but in the end the basis is the
Media encompasses widely the TV, radio, movies, newspapers, magazines, internet, social
networks. All these are sources that affect hugely on what is seen as acceptable or not
which then influences our own personal outlook on what is right or wrong. People who are
tuned in to shows which are bad will be influenced by what they see and hear and slowly
but surely, will be affected in their sense of judgement as to what is morally right or wrong.
On the other hand, the same media, if it imparts values like honesty, caring, sharing and
family and society unity through its various form of media, will have an effect on its
readers/viewers to share those same moral qualities. This will affect how they see and judge
right decisions from wrong ones.
The environment and the surroundings of a person plays a great deal of importance to the
way one lives. Whether one lives in a country run by a democratic government or a
communist one will challenge the person’s sense of right and wrong. For example, North
Korea is the only country run by strict communism in these day and time. Their citizens are
not allowed to travel and t...