The Acquisition of Morality Essay

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Would you describe a dog as capable of being evil? Or a cat? Or a chimpanzee? Most likely you could not. We humans belong to the taxonomic kingdom of Animalia and are therefore animals. Our species has evolved from animals that looked and acted more like the modern chimpanzee than we do. So at what point did we go from being creatures of instinct do developing the concept of morality? A great deal of literature has been written about morality, examples of which can be located in fiction and non-fiction as well as in scientific, theological and philosophical fields. Specific examples include the bible, as well as the writings of Plato (c. 424-348 BCE), Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) and John Steinbeck (1902-1968). Morality is a trait that…show more content…
Although the case for neutral human morality is pretty straightforward there are two other views on the topic. The case that humans are innately good and the case that we are innately evil and must be taught better by religious or spiritual influences. This sentiment that people are sinful and need to be “saved” is common view shared by Christianity and other major religions. There are several parts of the bible that can be used to look at this assertion, in particular we will turn to the writings of St. Matthew. The Sermon on the Mount section from the gospel of St. Matthew is a speech given by Jesus to his disciples. The speech contains many famous beatitudes such as “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (St. Matthew 694). But it also contains Jesus speaking about how he has come not to destroy the law; but to fulfill it. In this section he makes claims such as: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment” (St. Matthew 695). There is nothing wrong here, we should definitely have laws that teach people not to kill. But he goes on the say “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (695). Normal people don’t just hate someone for no
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