What makes an act ‘wrong’?

One of the main difficulties in deciding whether an act or action is right or wrong is being able to define what those terms mean. Meta-ethics is the term given to the study of these terms and others. Meta-ethics explores the meaning and use of ethical language.

For Christians defining ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is directly linked to their faith. This means that deciding what is good and what is evil is linked to:

  • the teachings of Christ
  • the teachings of the Church
  • the will of God
  • the natural law and order

When considering any act or action, it has to be asked whether it goes against the teachings and principles of the faith. Any act or action that goes against the will of God can be defined as ‘wrong’, eg murder is wrong as it goes against God’s commandment not to kill.

When it comes to decision making, there are a variety of approaches that an individual can take. Individuals will use a wide range of sources to help in their choice including:

  • conscience
  • faith
  • scripture
  • cultural laws and norms