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Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Close Place

What situations, if any, would ever justify wrong acts to achieve something right?...(Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 100).

Wrong defined: Contrary to conscience, morality or law
"it is wrong for the rich to take advantage of the poor"; "cheating is wrong"; "it is wrong to lie" (WordWeb Pro).

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NIV)


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain

Miss Watson your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. HUCK FINN
It was a close place. I took it up [letter to Miss Watson above], and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

"All right, then, I'll go to hell"- and tore it up.

It was awful thoughts, and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head; and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.

There surely is no more eloquent statement in all literature than that of Huckleberry Finn when resolving for himself the conflict that occurs when moral codes of a society conflict with the inner leadings of conscience as to what is transcendentally right.  Though Huck’s culture endorsed slavery, Huck’s conscience could not let him betray Jim.  In order to do right, he had to do terrible wrong in the eyes of the culture in which he was embedded.  Thus the deceptively facile answer to the question posed at the outset of this blog is that doing wrong (in one context) is justified if the culture’s code of morality is itself wrong.  It is a deceptively facile answer, that is, for the consequences of defying the perverse values of one’s culture can be painfully severe if not fatal.  

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