I need a reason why stealing isn't immoral. This is for a religion class. Thanks!I need a reason why stealing isn't immoral. This is for a religion class. Thanks!

Expert Answers
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator


If someone steals for the purpose of putting food in their child's mouths then I do not think that it is immoral. I do think it is important to consider why that person is in that particular financial situation though. If they stealing because they are lazy and do not want to work then it is immoral. If they are stealing because they cannot find a job then it is different story.

In the Bible there are many references made in regards to stealing. Depending on how you interpret the following passage stealing may be moralized if you pay restitution of at least double the amount that was stolen.

Exo 22:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox, and four sheep for the one sheep.

Here is another interesting verse from the Bible that addresses stealing and morality:

Eph 4:28 The one who steals must steal no longer; rather he must labor, doing good with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with the one who has need.
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just to completely invert this question, in some cultures the whole concept of stealing does not even exist. Stealing says more about our own belief in having private property, whereas in some cultures this is an alien concept - they have possessions that belong to the whole tribe or group and nothing that belongs just to them. So, the very fact that we have a term stealing indicates how estranged we have become in our relationships in Western society.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you want to be amusing, you can argue that you are only helping the person you are stealing from.  Jesus at one point says, essentially, that rich people can't get into heaven.  So as long as you steal from a rich person, you are actually helping that person.

And really, this isn't such a joke.  Christian ethics say that people should not be hung up on their worldly possessions.  So as long as you are stealing out of need...

ako6777 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If someone steals frivolously I believe it is immoral. If purses or jewelry are the items, they are most likely taken for superficial reasons.  Conversely, if someone steals because he needs the item to survive how can it be immoral.  We as humans should be provided with the basic necessities.  If we are not, and are unable to obtain them legally, we have to resort to stealing.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My Grandma stole food from a supermarket during the Great Depression so my Mom and her sister could eat.  She felt guilty about it her whole life, but couldn't say that it was immoral.  Her kids were hungry and there was no safety net in North Carolina at that time.  The supermarket had food, simple as that.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The previous posts have some excellent and thought-provoking answers. I just hope your religion teacher doesn't try to trump you with the reminder that one of the Ten Commandments states, "Thou shalt not steal."

sea-treasure | Student
I need a reason why stealing isn't immoral. This is for a religion class. Thanks!

I need a reason why stealing isn't immoral. This is for a religion class. Thanks!


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Stealing is immoral because it invades the sanctity of the others' property.

Stealing isn't immoral because it is not fair. How could it be fair when one makes effort to get something, and some other one get it easily and cause a great grief to its owner. Imagine all people are stealing; thence there will be a great chaos and disorder. Therefore, all revealed religions come to consider it immoral and forbid it.


zumri | Student

because what you are taking is not yours and you are taking it without the owners permission

lindamerlo | Student

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn offers great examples of stealing that aren't immoral.

In Chapter II, Tom steals three candles, but he lays five cents on the table for pay.

In Chapter XVI, Huck is disgusted with Jim because Jim wants to steal his children from their slave owner.

"Here is this nigger, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children - children that belonged to a man I didn't even know; a man that hadn't ever done me no harm."

Finally, Huck has been wrestling throughout the novel with the morality of Jim's escape, and in Chapter XXXI, he says, ". . . I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again . . ."

If you type in the word "steal" in the Google Books version of Huck Finn, you'll find numerous examples like this.

picturesque | Student

why do we belive in God?

picturesque | Student

what is morality?

zaria | Student
I need a reason why stealing isn't immoral. This is for a religion class. Thanks!

I need a reason why stealing isn't immoral. This is for a religion class. Thanks!

how you can say it isnt immoral ..???

it is immoral, who give you right to steal thing from others, either you are poor or not.



y0ungb0551 | Student

nothing is ever stolen it's just found before someone noticed it missing.

ige | Student

Before going into the subject, What is stealing? It can be said to be an act of taking something without permission from the rightful owner or wrongfully taking something that is not yours to satisfy oneself.

Stealing is imoral because it makes you feel bad whenever you think of the incident.

It makes you not comfortable when you see the person coming towards you.

it makes your consciences to be unrest, because when you love somebody you wont want to hurt the feelings of that person.

frizzyperm | Student

...if someone steals because he needs the item to survive, how can it be immoral? Ako6777

Because the current owner may also have great need of it.

Imagine I steal your food because I am hungry, if that act makes you hungry, then how was I morally right to steal your food? My behaviour is simply 'the harsh law of the jungle', not moral behaviour.

frizzyperm | Student

You could create a modern equivalent regarding African drug companies 'stealing' drug recipes from Western drug companies to produce affordable drugs for dying Africans (who can't afford the Western versions of the drugs) AIDS drugs being the obvious example.

frizzyperm | Student

Basically, think of Robin Hood.

If, due to the arrangements of an unequal society, there is a tiny, rich elite who live off the backs of a large, down-trodden peasantry. Then, legally speaking the elite haven't stolen anything because they sweep up all society's profits in taxes, tithes, perks and sinecures, but morally they are with-holding the produce of the labor of others. Legally speaking all land, money, property and produce are the rightful belongings of the aristocracy, but that does not guarantee them moral ownership.

So is a repressed peasant, whose children are thin and sickly, morally reprehensible for poaching rabbits or deer from the land which his local Lord has claimed exclusively for his hunting forest? (and the Lords really did lay huge lethal man-traps to cripple or kill unlucky poachers in their game-parks.)

I don't think many people would say it was morally wrong for a thin, hungry man to steal from his oppressive, fat master