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May 27 2010

On Right And Wrong

My radio asked, as I drove along,
“Is it ever right to do what is wrong?”
It wasn’t odd; it wasn’t strange,
It was The Socrates Exchange.

One caller (I didn’t catch his name)
Began with that most ancient claim,
That biblical morality
Determines “right” for you and me;

The Ten Commandments, he avowed,
Delineate what God’s allowed,
And deep within our hearts we know
What’s right, because God made it so.

(Such certainty, it frightens me;
I only hope we never see
Some group, so sure of their god’s powers
They hijack jets and hit some towers—

Cos, after all, it’s not absurd
To think obeying Allah’s word
Is “right”, unless it’s also odd
To heed the word of a Christian God.)

There is no moral absolute
Existing that’s beyond dispute;
It’s up to woman and to man
To muddle through the best we can

And recognize, as oft we might
That one man’s wrong’s another’s right;
That, sometimes, choosing not to act
Cannot be done; we still impact

And influence our fellows here,
Humanity both far and near—
So… leave the Bible on the shelf
And do some thinking for yourself.

Dammit… there is a 200-word limit for comments at their website. I was just getting started. Oh, well. Yeah, I heard this on the radio this morning, and thought it would be *wrong* (heh) to pull out my cellphone and call in to call the previous caller a dangerous and unthinking man. What was worse, the hosts, wed to their Socratic method presentation, did not do a great job of challenging his assertions. I suppose that’s what comment sections are for.

2 comments

  1. 1
    george.w

    "(Such certainty, it frightens me;I only hope we never seeSome group, so sure of their god’s powersThey hijack jets and hit some towers…"But we have seen it, only the hijacking was of an entire military-industrial complex and its soldiers and pilots and predator drones and even its allies, by a fanatic who "consulted a higher father".

  2. 2
    Cuttlefish

    But George W., dontcha know that consultin' a higher power is *always* gonna lead to that there moral behavin'?

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