#1 son came over for dinner last night (Beer Braised Chicken and Mushrooms with noodles, broccoli, and apple compote) and we got into a discussion of Right and Wrong.

He feels that choices may be right or wrong depending on the circumstances. Each individual and every moment is so different, he feels, that it is impossible to say that a particular action is wrong in and of itself.

I’m a moral absolutist, myself, and a Christian. I believe that there is an objective system of right and wrong given to us by God. I think that it is as real as the multiplication tables, which are real whether a given individual happens to know them or not — and indeed, whether a given culture has yet discovered them.

#1 son began bringing up things like killing someone in self defense or stealing bread to feed your starving family.

I think there is always an alternative. I also think that we do things which are wrong fairly often. I would, I agreed, steal bread to feed starving children if there were absolutely no alternative. It would be wrong, but I would still do it.

Really, though, questions like that are cheating. In real life, we always have alternatives. #1 son stipulated that all possible alternatives had already been explored. In real life, he said, you couldn’t rely on being able to persuade the killer to let you go or coming up with a good idea for barter for bread or anything of that kind.

But in real life, I wouldn’t be able to kill someone in self defense, or to steal bread. I don’t have the skills.

These questions also assume that accepting death in preference to killing someone is somehow an impossible choice. I’m not sure that it is.

I’m quite sure that realizing that we would do something we know to be wrong under some set of unlikely circumstances doesn’t make that thing right. We do things we know to be wrong with depressing frequency.

#1 son became mentally exhausted before the end of the conversation, probably because he hasn’t thought about these things as much as I have. I enjoyed the conversation, though.

The flowers enjoyed the rain. I got housework and knitting done. It is now Master Bedroom Week for the HGP, the week to buy the first 1/8 of our Christmas gifts, and time to begin working on our handmade gifts. I just ordered the materials yesterday, so I will get my personal crafts projects finished up while waiting for said materials to arrive and then will start in on the gifts.