Which one is more harmful: Killing or Lying? – by Kyaw Khant

Ethics is the art and science of judging moral behaviors (right or wrong and good or bad) which have serious consequences (harming or rewarding) on Human and Environmental wellbeing. But ethical values of each and individual might not be the same because everyone has been shaped by their own culture, worldviews and beliefs depending on the surrounding they were grown up. Thus, it might be different when they do judgments on certain moral behaviors. The degree of difference can be relatively small to completely different. An issue can be seen as morally acceptable by one group of people while other will argue as unacceptable depending on their perceptions. Abortion, for example, is an ongoing debate concerning its ethical acceptability. While a group of people strongly regards this unethical or immoral, other insists on their argument as acceptable. Both parties have their own reasoning. For the group against abortion, they consider fetus in mother’s womb as a human being. So, abortion, in other word killing the fetus, is as sinful as killing a man. The fetus has equal right to live on as a normal human being has. Therefore, abortion is as unethical as killing or murdering. But the other group who support abortion, they do not consider a fetus as a human. They argue that they are diminishing a painful and hard life of a human being by doing abortion. A mother does abortion when she feels socially unsafe, materially disadvantaged and physically unhealthy. The life of the child, in that situation, would be miserable if the mother gives birth to that child rather than abortion. That child could have leaded a critically bad life ahead. For this reason, killing a fetus which has very little or no sense of feeling is rather preferable than allowing a human being to enter into a life full of difficulties. By this scenario, it is difficult to decide who is ethically right or wrong but the choice of each and individual rely on their perceptions. Therefore, I feel uncomfortable to judge legality of this issue. Likewise, a question on the degree of acceptability between killing and lying has been asked, discussed and debated for years. Similarly, everyone has their own reasoning on the side of their stand. Many people might say killing is more sinful than lying while other claims oppositely. Let’s take the example of capital punishment which is being practiced by some countries in case of rape. Many of us see this as crucial. But statistically, it has shown relatively less rate of rape crime in country like Saudi Arabia where capital punishment is being punished compared to the US which is more of liberal. People who favor capital punishment clam that killing a person, in this case, brings more social safety. But killing an innocent human being is, of course, unarguably immoral or unethical. Similarly, people categorize lying into different level of acceptance. Many of us generally accept white lie which makes no harm to others. However, we do not normally agree “lying” as a whole as morally acceptable. But comparing degree of harmfulness which killing and lying bring will solely, in my opinion, depend on the situation we talk about. Although we think killing is harmful, there are certain scenarios where lying brings more serious harm to the community. Betraying is a kind of lying which could cause wars between countries which result in death of many innocent people. In the past we have seen many situation of this kind. In this sense, lying definitely is more harmful then killing a person. The interpretation of ethics will be different from each person to other depending on one’s perception of ethics. It is very difficult to institutionalize every aspect of our behaviors and manners under the roof of universal ethics. Although I see “6” as six, a person opposite to me would see it as nine. None of us is wrong but it depends on from which position and from which point of view we see it determine what is. I would be a completely mad one if I declare ONLY I am right. Ethics also goes similar to that. Our point of stand will differ depend on how our culture, worldview, traditions and practices based upon.

#KyawKhant

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