, , , , , , , ,

I can tell you, no trouble about that.

Every man has the capacity to enjoy and the capacity to suffer – every man. Whenever a man enjoys himself he calls that good; whenever he suffers he calls that bad. The animals that are useful to him he calls good; the poisonous, the hurtful, he calls bad. The vegetables that he can eat and use he calls good; those that are of no use except to choke the growth of the good ones, he calls bad. When the sun shines, when everything in nature is out that ministers to him, he says “this is good;” when the storm comes and blows down his hut, when the frost comes and lays down his crop, he says “this is bad.” And all phenomena that affect men well he calls good; all that affect him ill he calls bad.

Now, then, the foundation of the idea of right and wrong is the effect in nature that we are capable of enjoying or capable of suffering. That is the foundation of conscience; and if man could not suffer, if man could not enjoy, we never would have dreamed of the word conscience; and the words right and wrong never could have passed human lips.

There are no supernatural fields. We get our ideas from experience – some of them from our forefathers, many from experience. A man works – food does not come of itself. A man works to raise it, and, after he has worked in the sun and heat, do you think it is necessary that he should have a revelation from heaven before he thinks that he has a better right to it than the man who did not work? And yet, according to the priests and clergymen, we never would have known it was wrong to steal had not the Ten Commandments been given from Mount Sinai.

You go into a savage country where they never heard of the Bible, and let a man hunt all day for game, and finally get one little bird, and let the hungry man that stayed at home endeavor to take it from him, and you would see whether he would need a direct revelation from God in order to make up his mind who had the better right to that bird. Our ideas of right and wrong are born of our surroundings, and if a man will think for a moment he will see it.