I differentiate between right and wrong from an upbringing using the Ten Commandments as a guide. This is wrong, and it is a sin. Sin is bad. Sin too much and you go to hell. Not ever wanting to go to hell, I stayed on the straight and narrow.
The straight and narrow becomes a bit more crooked and wider once folks grow from children to adults, and are no long under the watchful eye of Mother Superior. Not that right and wrong changed, but more that the doer decided to ignore the golden rule. So, I know that stealing is wrong; do I steal? No. Have I stolen? Yes, I took a ring from a J. C. Penny's store in 1957 while my mother was paying for her purchases. The brightly colored birthstone rings (one size fits all) were stuck into soft spongy stuff and easy to get to. I knew my mother would never spend $1.50 for the ring so I just took it, stuffed it into my coat pocket and never ever wore it.
Why didn't I wear that ring? The very thought of that ring burned a hole in my hand! I was mortified that I had taken it. It was a lovely ring, but I sure could never wear it. I remember begging to go back to Penny's so I could somehow stuff it back into the soft spongy stuff. A week later, I got the opportunity, and quickly put it back.
I felt immense relief when the ring was back in its rightful place. I remember looking at it as I walked away thinking that it looked much prettier there than at home. I think that was probably untrue (or the lighting in the store was better), or it was my conscience telling me what I had done was wrong.
Not only is stealing wrong, I consider lying, cheating, and hurting people wrong. What is lying? A lie is an untruth, however, I think there can be extenuating circumstances. For example, I work in an office where my boss may not be in a position to speak to a caller. What do I say? I say that she is not available. Is she? Yes, to a certain extent. I used to say she wasn't in, but I have since become more creative in my office lie.
I recall a born again Christian who, upon hearing me say that my boss wasn't in, said, "I would never prostitute myself in that manner!" I looked at her and said nothing. (Her comment surprised me more than it upset me.) There was an occasion later that month when she was sitting at a desk opposite mine, the boss was talking with me, and the phone rang. She answered, told my boss who was on the phone, and he said, "I'm not in." I looked at her squarely as she said, "I'm sorry, he's not in. May I take a message?" She was beet red. I simply smiled. What I really felt like doing was snickering!
Today, I still use the Ten Commandments as my guide and basis for living a good life. I use my religious faith as means of forgiveness when I have failed, asking when I have a need, or thanking Him for the many good fortunes I have enjoyed.
(I haven't the faintest clue how Kant and Hume would analyze this! I can only imagine! I'm sure I will have some fun using their philosophies to critique my comments.)