Running head: Moral values and their origin
The origin of moral values
Mario Garcia
The University of Texas at El Paso
ENGL 111
March !" !#1$
Running head: Moral values and their origin
%s humans &e never 'ut a lot of thought as to ho& do &e differentiate (et&een the good
and the &rong" most of us conform &ith the idea that moral values come from o&n ancestry in a
similar and yet 'articular &ay" meaning small differences de'ending on each individuals)
culture* +or exam'le, it is very li-ely that there &ould (e a little to no difference on ho& a child
(orn and raised in Mexico &ill (e a re&arded or a 'unished" to one (orn and raised in Russia"
sim'ly (ecause they &ere raised relatively similar in their moral values* .ith this in mind the
main /uestions comes into 'lay, &here do moral values originally came from0 1ue to the fact
that 2 &as (orn and raised in a catholic family and considering 2 have strong feelings to&ards the
3atholic 3hurch and so for the (eing &e all -no& as God" the ans&er for this /uestions has a
dee' meaning to me* 4o&ever not everyone has the same idea or conclusion" some may argue
that moral values come from nature" therefore" something that evolved in us through time and
history* Under those circumstances a research &as made out of t&o relia(le and very useful
genres, literature and media* +irst &e have the literature 'iece" a (oo- &ritten (y a doctor in
'hiloso'hy and theology at the University of Boston, 1r* Peter Kreeft, the (oo-)s name is,
Summa of the Summa. The (oo-s 'resents a series of arguments" 'ara'hrased and summari5ed"
from the original Summa collection consisting of 6 different volumes (y 7t* Thomas %/uinas"
regarding most of the controversial to'ics of the 3atholic 3hurch" one of them (een the moral
values argument* 7econdly the media" a video from the &e(site YouTube" sho&s a de(ate
(et&een a very &ell8-no&n atheist and 9ournalist, Christopher Hitchens and a research 'rofessor
of 'hiloso'hy at Biola University, William ane Crai!* The video lasts t&o hours and t&enty8
seven minutes and it sho&s and actual de(ate that too- 'lace at :iola University (ac- in %'ril $"
!##;" (oth man are de(ating on the /uestion of &hether God exists or not" the de(ate has
different arguments as the video goes along one of them (een moral values as &ell*

Running head: Moral values and their origin
The 'ur'ose of the first genre, the literature 'iece" is to start off &ith a general (asic idea
of the to'ic in 'lace so that everyone" no exce'tions" can start from the same 'oint at the to'ic"
from religious 'eo'le to atheists" from (eginners to ex'erts* The (oo- starts off &ith a sim'le
argument &ritten do&n in a sim'le sentence "#orality re$uires a perfect i%eal, an% re$uires
that this i%eal be actual an% real, some&here' (Kreeft, 1990)*
3onse/uently the (oo- goes dee'er into the /uestions and gives you stronger and
meaningful evidence as to &hy the (elief is (ased on one side of the argument" in this case God)s
original model for our moral values system" an interesting fact though" is ho& the author also
contradicts his o&n statements in order to sho& &hether or not his hy'otheses are right or not* 2
'ersonally consider this s'ecific genre to (e the most im'ortant one since it contains the most
(asic idea and /uestion for this to'ic* The (oo- original 'ur'ose as stated on the 'rologue
"Because the #aster of Catholic Truth ou!ht not only to teach the proficient, but also to instruct
be!inners, &e purpose in this boo( to treat of &hatever belon! to Christian )eli!ion, in such a
&ay as may ten% to the instruction of be!inners.' (Kreeft, 1990) %lso" it gives the reader the
summary of the &hole argument in 9ust a cou'le of sentences in a &ay that it does not mention or
contain any religious matter (ut rather o'ens u' the /uestion to a <perfect i%eal' coming from
<some&here'" leaving u' to the reader to thin- &hat this <some&here' is and &hat)s not*.
The 'ur'ose for the second genre, the media" is to catch all -inds of audience attention
into selecting the side they are going to involve into as the to'ic goes along" meaning the (asic
/uestion is going to (e already 'lace on the ta(le" no& is u' to them and their (eliefs and
-no&ledge to 'ic- a side and furthermore reflect as to &hy they 'ic-ed that side and &hether
they consider themselves to (e right or &rong*
Running head: Moral values and their origin
The main reason as to &hy this genre &as 'ic-ed is the &ay the /uestion is u' to de(ate
and ho& (oth individuals 'resent their (eliefs and -no&ledge* %n e/ual o''ortunity is given to
(oth of the contestants to 'resent their -no&ledge on the field, it is a very &ell careful selected
video &ith 'rofessional and organi5ed arguments* =no&ing that everyone is going to have a
different o'inion" or side in the argument if you 'refer" the video sho&s (oth sides, religious and
nature and>or atheist" ma-ing not only the 'artici'ants of the de(ate involve (ut also the actual
audience 'art of the de(ate* ?n the su(9ect of the media genre" not the entire video &as used in
order to ma-e the analysis" 9ust relatively small 'arts in order to ma-e it easier for students to
&atch and understand*
3om'aratively" (oth genres have a &ide range of information &ith small nonetheless
im'ortant differences in8(et&een each other" the media genre (een more un(iased at first sight
than the literature 'iece yet the literature 'iece (een more introductory to the selected to'ic than
the video* %lthough the 'ur'oses of the (oth genres seem to have a lot in common they (elong to
different 'eriods of time as for the analysis* 2n other &ords" the (oo- is for the introduction of the
su(9ect as &ell as for the ending" conversely the video is to create an atmos'here of dou(t and
interest for the su(9ect ho'ing to create a more formal idea of &hat the to'ic is a(out in each
individual mind*
Running head: Moral values and their origin
To (egin &ith a dee'er loo- at each genre first &e have to loo- at their (ac-ground* +irst
let)s ta-e a loo- at the literature 'iece, Summa of the Summa, a (oo- &ritten (y the doctor in
'hiloso'hy at The University of Boston, Peter =reeft* The (oo- contains selected 'hiloso'hical
'assages ta-en from the original Summa collection (y one of the greatest universal 'hiloso'hers
of his time 'eriod and also considered as one of the greatest one in history (y modern
'hiloso'hers, Saint Thomas *$uinas. The original series of (oo-s consists of 6 volumes &ith
three thousand five hundred 'ages in total* =reeft)s shorter version is remar-a(le good
considering the fact that is only five hundred and forty 'ages long* 2n s'ite that some may argue
that =reeft)s &or- is nothing (ut a 'lagiari5ed and short co'y of 7t* Thomas .or-" he doesn)t
limit himself to 9ust /uoted 'assages" (ut instead 'ara'hrases them to a (eginner level also
adding a glossary and (ottom notes in order to a com'lete understand of the lecture*
7econdly &e have the media genre" a video from the famous &e(site YouTube " sho&s
t&o famous 'ersonalities from the religious and atheist societies involved in a de(ate in &hich
the /uestion of <+oes ,o% e-ists. Even though the /uestion seems to (e out of the 'resented
su(9ect (oth man get involved in this analysis /uestion. %lthough the credi(ility of this genre
may (e dou(tful for its source" the content of it is com'letely relia(le for its 'artici'ants are
'rofessional reasona(le and organi5ed*
3om'aratively (oth genres contain remar-a(le relia(le sources coming from 'rofessional
recogni5ed 'ersonalities in the literature &orld* 3redi(ility is fairly e/ual (et&een (oth genres
since every source is used as un(iased as 'ossi(le" along &ith this comes the fact that (oth are
actual and 'rofessional" meaning they come from characters that have studied in their field their
entire lives*
Running head: Moral values and their origin
Summa of the Summa maintains a com'lete unemotional a''eal" not trying to get the
reader)s attention &ith any emotion nor feeling to&ards the lecture" for its 'ur'ose on not mainly
to convince anyone that the main su(9ect of the (oo-" in this case God" is the source of our
morality" (ut rather to give any -ind of reader a /uestion to have in mind as the to'ic goes along"
overall its 'ur'ose is to inform &homever it corres'onds* The <+oes ,o% /-ists.' de(ate rather
than emotional is strictly straight to the 'oint" &ith no intention of getting the audience attention
&ith emotional a''eal" rather stating (oth sides of the arguments and in a slightly manner defend
their 'ersonal 'oint of vie& (y sho&ing the other 'artici'ant to (e &rong*
?ne very noticea(le feature a(out (oth genres is the lac- of emotional a''eal used (y the
author of the already mentioned (oo- and the 'artici'ants of the de(ate from the video*
Ultimately this leads to the idea that &ith no emotional a''eal there is no hidden intention for
these genres other than to inform and give the reader>audience (oth sides of the argument and
leaving u' to them to choose &hich one is the right one" &hich is very hel'ful for this analysis*
%n issue that is heavily used (y the first genre is the usage of logical a''eal* Not to
mention it is even mentioned" as a 'etition (y the author" to (e as o'en8minded as 'ossi(le in
order to get a (etter understanding and ta-e as much advantage as 'ossi(le out of the reading* ?n
the other hand there is the media genre" &hich similar to the literature genre" as-s the audience to
(e o'en8minded" not to (e 9udgmental and to (e as com'rehensive as 'ossi(le* 3orres'ondingly
(oth genres have a very similar logical a''eal" ideal and 'ur'ose" &ith of course small
differences* The (oo- re/uires the reader to have a use of logic in a much dee'er &ay than the
video" since the video)s 'ur'ose is only to 'resent a de(ate" an idea s'itted into t&o different
'ieces and the (oo-)s main 'ur'ose is to give (asic information straight for&ard to the audience*
Running head: Moral values and their origin
%ll in all the information 'resented &ithin (oth genre can (e dee'ly use for a greater
understanding of the to'ic on 'lace* +irst &e have the literature genre, the starting 'oint* 2n order
to 'resent a ne& idea to the audience in an un(iased manner the author avoid using any -ind of
religious" scientific" 'hiloso'hical or (iological manner" trying to give the audience a sense of
freedom as to &here do moral values seem to have their origins at* +urthermore" the information
'lace on the (oo- is strictly a(out the theme cou'led &ith o''osite arguments to the main idea
'resented (y the author in order to rather im'lant an idea in your head" a /uestion* 7econdly the
media genre" at first the video (egins &ith off to'ic arguments a(out the existence of God" and
although they are no necessary for the understanding or 'artici'ation on the theme" they lead to a
series of /uestions that can greatly com'liment the dou(t in 'lace*
3om'aratively" (oth genre rather than o''osing each other" they com'lement themselves"
(y 'resenting a (etter" cleaner and far more understanda(le argument* .ithin a fe& 'ages and
minutes of your time as an audience mem(er" it is remar-a(le the amount of informations these
genres have to offer*
Moral values are taught to us from the day &e &ere (orn* %s a society &e never as-
ourselves ho& &e did originally learned to differentiate (et&een the good and the (ad granted
that &e learned this from our ancestry* ?n one genre the idea of moral values and their origins as
&ell as them coming from an unnatural (eing &as 'ut in the ta(le* ?n the other hand &e have a
genre that not only does challenges the first assum'tion (ut rather goes a ste' (eyond and even
sho&s the audience another 'ro'osition" one that assumes that moral values evolved in our
conscious as &e evolve through time* 3om'aring (oth genres &ill not give the reader an exact
ans&er" (ut rather o'en the audience mind to the /uestions and ma-e them reali5e that the
correct ans&er can only (y chosen (y their very o&n 9udgment*
Running head: Moral values and their origin
1C =reeft" P* D1;;#C* Summa of the summa* D1st ed*" '* @$C* +lorence: 2gnatius*
!C =reeft" P* D1;;#C* Summa of the summa* D1st ed*" '* C* +lorence: 2gnatius*