Saturday, February 22, 2014

Absolute Morality? Absolutely!

"If I am convinced that the highly educated Nazis are wrong, and that we highly educated English are right, what is it that validates our values and invalidates theirs?  The English intellectuals who now cry to Heave against the evil incarnated in Hitler have no Heaven to cry to.  The whole trend of liberal thought has been to undermine faith in the absolute.  It has tried to make reason the judge.  But since life is a changing process the attempt to find human space for keeping a promise leads to the inevitable conclusion that I can break it whenever I feel it convenient.  Either we serve the Unconditional, or some Hitlerian monster will supply an iron convention to do evil by."
    -Poet W.H. Auden 1907-1973

I recently read this quote in a book by Timothy Keller, "Encounters with Jesus".  In it, Keller was making a case for the "skeptical student" regarding the reasonable argument for a system of absolute morality. 

Auden was a man who had walked away from faith as a younger man, but the rise of Nazism caused him to rediscover the essential need of a non-subjective system to be able to make any claim of "right" or "wrong".  And that the God revealed in Scripture is the only reasonable and trustworthy answer to that which is written onto our very souls.

My intent is to not post a air tight philosophical case for absolute morality.  Many others do a much better job than I would be capable of doing.  Personally, quotes like Auden's are powerful enough on their own, in my opinion, to illustrate the absurdity of subjective ethics and morality.

Instead, I want to speak to those who would agree that there IS an absolute and objective morality, yet are inconsistent in their application.

When I say inconsistent, I mean it something like this: 
1) I believe in objective morality.
2) I believe that objective morality is knowable.
3) I believe that the God of scripture is the unmoveable author and source of this objective morality.

And here is the illogical "break"

4) I don't believe "this" choice is really subject to that objective standard....

Let me put some flesh to that idea....  Someone can very readily admit to the objective standard of morality when it comes to murder, or, stealing.  Basically, any really obvious "no no" that can be personally offensive to the party standing firmly on that solid foundation.  But, when it is time to evaluate the choices of their personal life, objectivity goes out the window. 

We are comfortable applying objectivity to others behaviors, but refuse to apply it to ourselves.  And, we become offended by those who may hold us accountable to such behaviors.

Murder is wrong.  But sex outside of marriage know...not recommended.....but...umm...who am I to say?  Whatever makes you happy right?

See, this is where the problem comes from.  Either objective morality comes from a source outside of our own personal reasoning, or it is unknowable and ultimately always up for debate.  So, if we are to be opposed to murder at all times for all reasons, then we have to point to a source for that Objective Truth to be founded in.  All things that are not eternal and unchangeable, will, by definition....change.

If the source of murder is wrong, is not from the Author of Life, then where does it come?

And here is where the rubber meets the road for my challenge to those who would already agree on this point....

If we trust God's truth about murder, stealing, etc...why do we mistrust His truth on subjects that we feel more inclined to?  No one sits around and debates whether God told us not to murder.  But we do love to debate whether there is something such as sexual sin, anger issues as a sin, greed as a sin, and a whole host of others.

So here is my challenge.  Do you believe in God's truth as absolute?  Absolutely in all things?  Or just the things that are convenient for you to agree with? 

Because, if you began to negotiate away Objective Morality for your personal preferences, then you have accepted the logical progression that even the Truths you hold dear will eventually be washed away.

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