We stand in awe at the profound realization that the sense of right and wrong is woven into the very fabric of our being as human creatures. It is not merely an external set of rules imposed upon us, but an internal compass that guides us through the ethical terrain of life. This moral awareness is our birthright, a gift from the Creator that elevates us above the purely material realm.

And yet, even as this inner light illuminates the path of righteousness, we find ourselves stumbling over the particulars of how to define and act upon our values. Our upbringing, our cultures, our experiences – they all shape the specific content of what we consider right or wrong. The ethical inheritance passed down through generations molds our consciences in powerful ways.

This reality bears great responsibility. For if our moral compasses can be bent by the forces around us, then we must be ever vigilant. We cannot passively accept the ethical norms instilled in us, but must continually refine and sharpen our values through reflection, reason, and commitment to truth. The ramifications are immense – will we use our power of defining morality to divide humanity or to unite it?

Herein lies one of the greatest threats to our integrity as moral agents: the tendency to regard certain groups as unworthy of ethical consideration. Throughout history, we have witnessed this dangerous game of excluding “the other” from the circle of those deserving of compassion and just treatment. In times of war, we dehumanize the enemy to justify brutal acts we would never accept under other circumstances. Across cultural divides, we cast ideological rivals as moral inferiors, as if their perceived flaws make them exempt from basic human dignity. Even within our own communities, bitter social conflicts like those between labor and management tempt us to deny our shared humanity and ethical obligations.

What grievous delusion! For in each person’s face, no matter how distorted it may appear through our biases, we see reflected our own visage. In truth, all human beings bear the image of the Divine, such that any ethical blind spot we create is an affront to God Himself. To willfully obscure another’s divine spark is to dim our own light. We cannot selectively suspend our moral awareness without severe consequences.

The path of spiritual wholeness requires the opposite – expanding our ethical horizons until they encompass all people in authentic solidarity. This is the essence of the Christian message that no person lies outside the bounds of moral duty. It is a radical call, for it demands that we hold fast to our ethical integrity even with those we consider enemies or moral inferiors. Only when we treat every human encounter as a meeting with the Holy Other can we progress on the path of enlightenment.

What could be more challenging, and yet more rewarding? For in growing our empathy and ethical responsibility to include every soul, we move towards righteousness, towards spiritual maturity. We take a crucial step in aligning our values with ultimate reality, with the goodness and justice that undergird the cosmos itself. The struggle is immense, for it requires overcoming our tribal instincts and learning to love the unlikable. But it is a battle worth waging, a lifelong journey towards that “soundless passion of a single mind” which harmonizes our hearts with the moral symphony of the universe.

May we find the courage to continually expand our circles of ethical awareness, honoring the divine spark in all people regardless of circumstance. In so doing, we move from ethical blindness towards spiritual illumination, from moral frailty towards unity with the Highest Good. For this is the path of human beings made seeking, with hearts longing to align with the ultimate values that give life meaning. Our individual and collective wholeness depends on opening ourselves to the moral call sounding in every face we encounter.


The sense of right and wrong is intrinsic to human nature, though the specific content of those values depends heavily on one’s conditioning, training, and social context. While environment shapes how values are defined, individuals ultimately bear responsibility for their ethical behavior by virtue of their innate moral awareness. A perilous tendency is to declare certain groups as outside the sphere of moral consideration, allowing unethical treatment of those groups without guilt. This exemption from moral boundaries occurs in wars by dehumanizing the enemy, in social conflicts like labor versus management disputes, and based on ideological differences like capitalists versus communists. However, the Christian ethical perspective holds that no human being can ever justifiably be defined as undeserving of moral responsibility – to look upon another is to see the face of God. Cultivating a robust ethical awareness means giving ultimate significance to one’s sense of right and wrong while refusing to exempt any person from the scope of moral consideration. Pushing certain groups outside of moral boundaries violates true humanity and spirituality, inevitably leading to destruction by the forces of moral and spiritual laws.

Key Points

1. The sense of values (right and wrong) is an inherent part of human personality and consciousness, but the specific content and definition of those values depend on conditioning, training, experience, and social context.

2. While society and environment shape how values are defined, individuals are still ultimately responsible for their own ethical behavior because of their innate sense of values.

3. A dangerous tendency is to define certain groups of people as outside of one’s sphere of moral consideration and responsibility. This allows unethical treatment of those groups without guilt.

4. This exclusion from moral boundaries happens in wars by dehumanizing the enemy, in social conflicts like labor vs management, and based on ideological differences like capitalists vs communists.

5. The Christian ethical view holds that no human being can ever be defined as outside the bounds of moral responsibility. To look at another person is to see God’s face.

6. Having a robust ethical awareness means giving ultimate significance to one’s sense of right and wrong, refusing to exempt any human from the scope of moral consideration.

7. Pushing certain groups outside moral boundaries is a violation of true humanity and spirituality that will ultimately lead to destruction by moral/spiritual laws.