Are There No Moral Absolutes?

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MODERN RELATIVISTIC THINKING suggests that we have no rule or standard by which we can distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, or moral and immoral.

Hilary Putnam, a Harvard University professor, sums it up when he declares that moral and ethical judgments are “something that we ultimately judge by the ‘seat of our pants'” (Alan Crippen II, ed., “The Train Wreck of Truth and Knowledge,” Reclaiming the Culture, 59).  We must come to see that there is no possibility of a ‘foundation’ for ethics…” (Ibid), he asserts.

Is the professor correct–are morals and ethics based upon our own subjective opinions?  Are there no moral absolutes?

Consider for a moment the repercussions of Mr. Putnam’s philosophical extreme.  (NOTE: The following excerpts are very explicit):

  • “The pro-life groups are right about one thing:  the location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make such a crucial moral difference.  We cannot coherently hold that it is all right to kill a fetus a week before birth, but as soon as the baby is born everything must be done to keep it alive.  The solution, however, is not to accept the pro-life view that the fetus is a human being with the same moral status as yours or mine.  The solution is the very opposite: to abandon the idea that all human life if of equal worth” (Watkins, “Death What A Beautiful Choice,” The New Absolutes, 85).
  • “A principle at an elementary school in New Hampshire invited a homosexual men’s chorus to give a concert to the kids.  The choral members changed the words of familiar children’s songs to sing about boys loving boys and girls loving girls” (Mister Sandman, bring me a dream, make him the cutest that I’ve ever seen).  During the concert they asked the children to raise their hands if they have two mommies or two daddies living with them.  When parents heard about the concert after the fact, they confronted the principal, but she wrote them off, saying tha the concert was ‘part of a multicultural emphasis at school” (“Dial Deviant For Normal,” 145).
  • “Dr. John Money is professor emeritus of medical psychology and pediatrics at John Hopkins University and an influential voice in sex research.  In an interview with Paidika, a magazine that advocates civil rights for pedophiles, Dr. Money said: ‘If I were to see the case of a boy aged ten or eleven who’s intensely…attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual, then I would not call it pathological in any way.”  Money believes that pedophilia is an orientation which cannot be changed or permanently suppressed” (Ibid, 148).

Observations:

  1. If there are no moral absolutes, then man becomes not the discoverer of truth–but the determiner of truth (Prov. 21:1; Judg. 17:6).  Contrast that with the revelation of Scripture: “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jer. 10:23).
  2. Moral relativism is patently false.  Truth is absolute–fixed (Rom. 2:8; John 18:37), it is attainable (John 8:32), it is understandable (Eph. 5:17; 2 Pet. 3:16), it is identifiable (John 17:17; 14:6; 16:13; 1 John 4:6), and it is consistent (Titus 1:2).
  3. If we have no objective criteria or standard by which to distinguish between right and wrong, then it is impossible to identify certain behavior as “sinful.”  Again, contrast this with Paul’s rebuke of governor Felix: “Now as he reasoned about righteousness (i.e., morality”–Moffit), self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you'” (Acts 24:25).

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20).

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”–Mike

 

 

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