Monday, June 9, 2008

Ethics: Omission and Commission

In ethics, we talk about committing sins of omission and sins of commission, which simply means the difference between sinning in what you neglect to do and sinning in what you actually do. Likewise, there are virtuous acts of omission and virtuous acts of commission, virtues acquired by avoiding the bad and by actively doing good. One might say that they pair up, things which are bad offer either the chance to practice sin by committing or virtue by omitting and things that are good offer the chance to practice sin by omitting or virtue by committing. But all these big words aside, which sort of thing matters more: avoiding wrong or doing right? Some people present Christian morality as if it is a series of prohibitions. Is this true? And what happens if you avoid all the “no-nos” but also don’t do any of the “yes-yesses?” Is that pleasing to God?

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