Can someone explain to me why the ends don't justify the means?

Greetings CAF!

I understand that the ends do not justify the means, like you can’t kill and torture someone to save the world. But one thing that has never been explained to me concerning this expression is why? Why don’t the ends justify the means?

I can’t really make sense of it. I agree with it, but it’s like I’m agreeing with something that I don’t even have any knowledge of.

Could anyone clear up my dilemma?

Thanks,
Facite

One aspect: for one is not to do* evil. *

To say the good end --makes it ok to choose to do an evil means – would mean that it is ok to do evil. It is not.

What if one were to say that a potential good end negates the evil in the means? What should one say in that situation?

Nothing justifies a morally evil action.

It is evil.

Neither a good intention nor a circumstance --makes the evil become a good. It is evil.

As the Catechism puts it in one place: “one may never do evil so that good may result from it” (1789)

What about sacrificing your life for another like a soldier in combat. You are choosing to end your life where in any other context is sinful/evil but because one does it for another it is considered a good.

God’s laws are usually deontological, not consequential. The only men that got away with the ends justifying were chosen by Him to do proper judgement, as long as they kept in constant contact with Him before going to do any actions (I’m talking about prophets, basically), as when Elijah decapitated 450 prophets of Baal, or Samuel ordering in name of God take neither prisioners nor spoils from canaanite villages, etc.

The only one that has the power to discern wrong from right in the truth in which this universe was created on is God. I think we don’t lose much in trusting Him, unless He intructs one to something known to be intrinsically evil.

Now that’s a dangerous move one could, and a bit farther than the Church would allow (unless you have a miracle to backup your claim to be prophet, if God really wills for you to do something :p)

No your choosing to protect your buddies from the hand-granade that has been lobbed into the fox hole. One foresees one will likely die but one is not committing suicide but rather one is protecting ones buddies.

Sacrifice as opposed to suicide. Two different moral objects.

One that can be good the other which is evil.

The act is the same, the motivation is different. So the reason does make a difference. It’s a loophole.

And why is that? Why can’t a good end make an evil means good?

It is not a loophole actually. Too different moral objects.

Like marital relations and fornication are two different moral objects.

Because it is an* evil* means.

We are not to choose evil.

It is well “evil”.

Do good – avoid evil.

But why can’t a good end negate an evil means? Why can’t the “evil” means become good because of a good end? Who says that the evil means CAN’T become a good means through justification by a good ends?

EDIT: Just trying to be the Devil’s Advocate here for a bit :slight_smile:

That is exactly the definition of the end justifying the means. It is the end (the motivation) ending suffering for themselves vs ending suffering for others, justifies the act of ending their own life (the means).

Because it is choosing* to do an evil. *

God. The Church he founded and sent to teach and make disciples…

And good Theologians.

and bookcat :wink:

It is part of the most fundamental principles of the natural moral law. Do good and avoid evil.

No it is not.

It seems like you are begging the question, though (please forgive me for saying this. :)) Who says that that “evil” means can’t become a good means on account of the good end? It’s not bad if one uses a good means, right?

No I am answering.

God.

The Church he founded and sent to teach and make disciples…

And good Theologians.

and bookcat :wink:

It is part of the most fundamental principles of the natural moral law. Do good and avoid evil.

So, let me get you right. You are saying that using an evil means is bad because it is an evil means.

Sounds like begging question :shrug::blush:

As the Catechism of the Catholic puts it in one place: “one may never do evil so that good may result from it” (1789)

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