It is based on your beliefs, not so much religous but on how you make decisions. I think stealing is wrong, and based on how I was raised and the social ideals I have it is wrong. Someone else has a completely differnt set of criteria to decide whether something is wrong or not. Yes there are laws that govern the soceity that we live in but those laws were created by human beings usung their own belief system.
There is no such thing as absolute right and wrong, just peoples perception of what it is to them.
Then what do you think of this example (This is someone else's example that I am borrowing with permission)
The setting: A thief is casing a jewelry store so he can rob it. He has entered it to check out any visible alarm settings, locks, layout, etc. In the process, he has unexpectedly gotten involved in a discussion with the owner of the jewelry store whose hobby is the study of philosophy and believes that truth and morals are relative.
"So," says the owner, "everything is relative. That is why I believe that all morals are not absolute and that right and wrong is up to the individual to determine within the confines of society. But there is no absolute right and wrong."
"That is a very interesting perspective," says the thief. "I was brought up believing that there was a God and that there was right and wrong. But I abandoned all of that and I agree with you that there is no absolute right and wrong and that we are free to do what we want."
The thief leaves the store and returns that evening and breaks in. He has disabled all the alarms and locks and is in the process of robbing the store. That is when the owner of the store enters through a side door. The thief pulls out a gun. The owner cannot see the man's face because he is wearing a ski mask.
"Don't shoot me," says the owner. "Please take whatever you want and leave me alone."
"That is exactly what I plan to do," says the thief.
"Wait a minute. I know you. You are the man that was in the store earlier today. I recognize your voice."
"That is very unfortunate for you," says the thief. "Because now you also know what I look like. And since I do not want to go to jail I am forced to kill you."
"You cannot do that," says the owner.
"Because it is not right," pleads the desperate man.
"But did you not tell me today that there is no right and wrong?"
"Yes, but I have a family, children, that need me, and a wife."
"So? I am sure that you are insured and that they will get a lot of money. But since there is no right and wrong it makes no difference whether or not I kill you. And since if I let you live you will turn me in and I will go to prison. Sorry , but that will not do."
"But it is a crime against society to kill me. It is wrong because society says so."
"As you can see, I don't recognize society's claim to impose morals on me. It's all relative. Remember?"
"Please to not shoot me. I beg you. I promise not to tell anyone what you look like. I swear it!"
"I do not believe you and I cannot take that chance."
"But it is true!" I swear I'll tell no one."
"Sorry, but it cannot be true because there is no absolute truth, no right and wrong, no error, remember? If I let you live and then I left, you will break your so-called promise because it is all relative. There is no way I could trust you. Our conversation this morning convinced me that you believe everything is relative. Because of that, I cannot believe you will keep your word. I cannot trust you.
"But it is wrong to kill me. It isn't right!"
"It is neither right or wrong for me to kill you. Since truth is relative to the individual, if I kill you, that is my truth. And, it is obviously true that if I let you live I will go to prison. Sorry, but you have killed yourself."
"No. Please do not shoot me. I beg you."
"Begging makes no difference."
If relativism is true, then was it wrong to pull the trigger?
Perhaps someone might say that it is wrong to take another life needlessly. But why is that wrong, if there is no standard of right or wrong?
Others have said that it is a crime against society. But, so what? If what is true for you is simply true, then what is wrong with killing someone to protect yourself after you have robbed him?
If is true for you that to protect yourself you must kill, then who cares what society says?
Why is anyone obligated to conform to social norms? Doing so is a personal decision.
Though not all relativists will behave in an unethical manner, isn't relativism a contributor to overall anarchy since it is a justification to do whatever you want?