Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Foundation for Justice

James Sire writes in Naming the Elephant, that “ the close connection between ontology [being] and epistemology [knowing] is easy to see: one can know only what is. But there is an equally close connection between ontology and ethics. Ethics deals with the good. But the good must exist in order to be dealt with.” He goes on to explain that one cannot come to a moral ought from a natural is. Therefore to say that something is good or that it is evil presupposes the existence of good and evil. We have to assume their existence. If they exist and are distinguishable then something beyond nature exist by which they are measured.

Atheists Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris often postulate that religion is the cause of the evil in the world, yet they have no standard by which to judge anything as evil for their world consist of pure naturalism as derived through the sciences. However, naturalism is a poor foundation for ethics and morality. How can science tell us what is good? It can tell us the molecular composition of water, but it cannot tell us if someone drowning in that water is good or bad. Science cannot give value to life. Social Darwinianism would presuppose an innate desire for self-preservation, but that also does not lead one to value another’s life.

Still no one doubts that there is injustice in this world. Why? C.S. Lewis argued rightly that for us to be aware of an injustice presupposes that the world ought to be different than it is. So if all there is before us is as it appears and there is nothing that cannot be known scientifically then we would have no awareness of a problem. Conversely, this awareness persists and even the atheists are demanding justice. The only sure foundation for their cry for justice comes from the God they deny.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock.”

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