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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

On-line version ISSN 1445-7377
Print version ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.9 n.2 Grahamstown Oct. 2009




Thinking, relating and choosing: Resolving the issue of faith, ethics and the existential responsibility of the individual



Neil Alan Soggie




Which is worse: Doing evil or being evil? If we are free to define ourselves through our choices, as existentialism posits, then the latter is worse. This paper attempts to resolve the issue of the difference between religious (group) ethics and the ethics of a person of faith that embraces individuals with an existential understanding. In the existential view, the individual (whether the self or the other) is the primary concern, and so the issue of personal relational morality supersedes religious narratives, social morality and popular ethics (White, 2002). If we think and choose, there is the possibility that we may occasionally make a mistake and do evil. However, if we do not think about our choices, and if the conventions we hold happen to be flawed in some way, then we become defined by a continual cycle of mistakes. Existentialism teaches that we become who we are in the process of making choices; therefore the difference between doing evil and being evil can be found in the small but important flow of thinking, relating and choosing.



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