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Morality Around the Globe!

This is the article, from the China Post, Updated Tuesday,

April 21, 2009 1:49 pm TWN, By Lilian Wu, CNA Baby girl dumped into pot of boiling water dies CHANGHUA, Taiwan — The baby girl the nation has been praying for after she was dumped by her father in a pot of boiling water Saturday died Tuesday morning. Changhua Christian Hospital doctors said the baby died of multiple organ failure, and the doctors took her off a life-support system at 10:05 a.m.The 10-month-old girl, who was thrown into the boiling water by her father during a quarrel with the girl’s mother, suffered second-and third-degree burns over 84 percent of her body. The girl had been in critical condition since being rushed to the hospital by her mother after the incident. The father is being held in custody by prosecutors and could face homicide charges.

Really troubling isn’t it? After reading this article I noticed that readers could comment about it, so I started reading the comments. The comments typically followed the suit of “Pray for the baby, boil the father.” There were some deviations, like, one trying to point our how the stress put on men in Taiwan is what drives them to do things like this, but mostly it was sympathy for the baby and contempt for the father. Then I came across this comment, and here it is in its entirety;

“Oh… my god. That’s horrible. The child was completely innocent! How could the father do something like that!?! Rest in peace, little girl. [sniff] But then, I won’t say the father was evil in what he did, either. Heartless, sure, but not evil. What he did was not “wrong.” In some cultures, that sort of thing is actually considered okay, since female lives are worth so little. I absolutely hate the man, but maybe it looked okay in his eyes. Meh. Before anyone calls me “stupid,” or “heartless,” or “naïve,” I am NOT siding with the father. I just don’t think his act should be considered so horrible. After all, in the end it was just one (innocent, cute, soft) life. Think about how many people are killed each day on the battlefield, from murder, all those. Can this one life really mean so much? (Utilitarian view, maybe, but that’s how I see it.)”

I couldn’t believe it when I read it, my first thoughts were, “Is this person just trying to cause a stir or do they really think this way.” Now, I doubt this person is Taiwanese, probably a westerner living in Taiwan. How is it that you can look at a man (Taiwanese, Russian, American) who for WHATEVER reason takes his own 10 month old daughter and puts her in a pot of boiling water, and say, “I don’t like it, but it is not wrong, and certainly not evil.” How would you respond? Is it true that because it is considered “okay” in other cultures it is not wrong. I’m sure this type of reason would hardly be tolerated if applied to religions and governments. How can it be that the number of “Heartless” acts (not evil acts) is the quantifier of what is “okay” and not “okay.” Does a worse evil make a “lesser” evil, not evil? Is Morality simply the the preference of the individual? Does it not transcend beyond the individual and the culture so that I, who am from a different culture, can look at this and say “wrong.”

I’m trying to think of a good question to solicit some responses, but it isn’t coming. How do we respond to a society that has lost its point-of-reference to the point that there is no distinction between right and wrong, good and evil. Where the baby girl can be “innocent” and the father can be innocent as well.

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