Thursday, June 19, 2008

Moral Framework

A response to

I will now respond to your second objection on the topic of morality. I asserted that there is a moral law at work in humanity and that for there to be such a construct there must be a moral law giver, God.

To set it up as a syllogism it would look like this:

  • If there is a moral law, then there is a Moral Law Giver.
  • There is a moral law
  • Therefore there is a Moral Law Giver

Let’s unpack the idea of the existence of a common moral framework in all of mankind. In use of the term “moral law” I am merely claiming there to be a moral framework at work in mankind.

There is a difference between agreement on specifics of right and wrong and a basic understanding that there is right and wrong. The specifics can be subjective at times; however, the framework is objective. For instance, you give the example of slavery.

Throughout history slavery was not always seen as wrong by all people. Even today, slavery continues in parts of the world such as in Sudan. If morality was subjective to a culture or a person, one could say that the English slave trade or the American slavery was not wrong to those who didn’t believe it to be wrong. However, I think the reality is that it was always wrong even when people justified it to be right. Also, just because a community justifies something to be right, doesn’t mean deep in their souls they know it to be right.

When someone is on trial for murder, they can submit a plea of insanity if they have no understanding between right and wrong. One of the key things the prosecutor must prove is that the Defendant not only committed the act, but that the Defendant was cognizant the act was wrong. For if the defense attorney proves through a physiologist that the Defendant has no moral understanding he is able to present the defense of insanity. So even if someone does something wrong and is convinced that it is not wrong, even in a court of law, it is still wrong and the person is seen as insane.

If morality is subjective then we have no right to judge another culture or community for doing atrocities to people such as the holocaust. However, if it is objective and all people really do know right from wrong somehow then the Nuremburg Trials were warranted. However, if moral truth is merely what a community agrees upon there could never be any justice for the millions of Jews exterminated in the concentration camps. Was this historical event evil? Or was it merely Hitler, to quote Richard Dawkins, “dancing to his DNA.”

[Regarding the Bible condoning slavery, it does not. Jesus didn’t come to force political change; that was not His mission. He knew that the heart change that happens from knowing Him would change the world and force would never produce love which was what was needed to treat people the way He designed them to be treated]

The second part of the syllogism proclaims God must exist because there is a moral framework. How else could a standard of morality exist in humanity if it were not for a conscious designer placing it there? The objective nature of a moral standard that man kind experiences guilt when he breaks it and demands justice when it is broken against him is not explained by evolution. Again that is why I maintain that non-Christians must borrow from the Christian worldview regarding these things to even posit questions about good and evil and how to differentiate between the two. It’s the only worldview that gives a good explanation about how this all works and is the most viable in corresponding to reality.

To Be Continued: Last Response Blog will address the matter of how God sees mankind in light of moral failures

1 comment:

Kevin DeGraaf said...

Lisa and I are taking turns responding to you. I've written our response to "Moral Framework" here.