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Likewise, ancients avoided doing evil not primarily because they were concerned about right or wrong, but because others were watching. For this reason, the mythical “ring of Gyges” was considered the one temptation that no man could resist. The ring made its bearer invisible. With it on, a man could do whatever he wished without others knowing. You may recognize this storyline; J. R. R. Tolkien used it in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The movie didn’t explain, though, why humans found the “one ring” so tempting. Plato knew. “No man can be imagined to be of such an iron nature that he would stand fast injustice” if he was free to act without anyone’s knowledge, Plato wrote; “No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market.” The suggestion is that ordinary humans do right only if others are watching. Plato argued that humans could (and should) resist the temptation of the ring; he argued for an inner motivation for moral conduct. Plato set the Greek world, and later the Western world, on a path that would lead toward each person having an inner (individual) voice to distinguish and choose right from wrong. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes

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