You know, it’s kind of funny. Not all that long ago, maybe 150 years, maybe less, most people thought in terms of absolutes and most things were looked upon as black or white. Where any areas of ‘gray’ were seen, such as, “Stealing is wrong, but a man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family is not so wrong’, the idea wasn’t that 'stealing in need is LESS wrong” (i.e., a ‘gray area’ and an example of how some wrongs were really not so wrong or not wrong at all), but rather, “in an example of life where a person is in danger of starvation and we have not helped to provide him with food, our obligation to provide to others means that if there is food available but the person cannot pay, our humanity mandates that we allow him to take the food anyway”. IOW, instead of a ‘gray area’ we were making it clear that our primary ‘white areas’ might need more attention in certain situations. When Dickens wrote about the wrongs suffered by the poor, he wasn’t saying that Fagin, for example, should be viewed differently because even though he was teaching and encouraging stealing, he was also ‘keeping homeless children clothed and fed’ (i.e., a gray area). No, Dickens was saying that as long as society did not provide just wages and humane treatment, people were going to engage in things like stealing to provide food for themselves, or getting ‘gangs’ together, and it was society’s responsibility to start offering help and decent treatment and in that way the punitive measures such as transportation (to penal colonies) for stealing a few pennies would lessen.
But in more modern times the approach seems to be to make the gray areas proliferate. And now we have a society which pretty much takes everything on a case by case basis, and determines a continuum of whether person A doing Y is doing something wrong (usually of course they are judged NOT to be wrong because mortal sin is just so HARD to do), or whether it’s right for THEM, or in this particular instance, or for this particular group, etc. etc. In fact, one would be hard put to find anything which was judged to be completely black or completely white. Even Christianity is being infect… . I mean, Affected by this.