Objections to Objective Morality
By Cole James
I took a philosophy class while I was in college. The topic of this class was on contemporary moral issues, so you know we got into some heated topics. I heard every objection under the sun to objective morality. Everything from it was not very “tolerant,” to different cultures act differently so therefore there cannot be objective morality. I was the minority in this class to say the least!
Objective morality means that moral statements like “murder is bad” is independent of the person saying it. Objective morality means that there is a standard of morality that transcends human opinions and judgements. Morals are not invented, they are discovered. Now that our society has seemingly transformed into a “post-truth” society, objective morals have come under attack. A “post-truth” society is a society which is not concerned with objective facts, but rather, right and wrong are based on personal subjective feelings, tastes, and personal belief.
As Christians, one of the best arguments we have for God is the moral argument. Of all the attacks on Christianity and God, a Christian will most likely hear the most attacks on this subject. Why? Because everyone can relate to this topic. Each one of us every day makes moral judgements and decisions every day, ranging from opening the door for someone to helping someone who just got in a car wreck. Just so we can have a basis for what the argument actually is, it goes as follows:
Premise 1: If objective moral values and duties exist then God exists
Premise 2: Objective morals values and duties do exist
Conclusion: Therefore, God exits
With the argument in mind, consider four objections:
1. There are so many different cultures with different values, there can’t be objective morals! Look how different we are!
Off the bat, I agree with this objection. There are many different cultures appearing to be morally different on the surface. However, as one reads between the lines it becomes apparent that these different cultures are not really that different. It is important as we read between the lines to keep in mind that when looking at cultural diversity we need to determine whether differences are really about core morals or instead about application of that core moral truth. For example, what constitutes murder?
What my classmates did not realize is that these difference were in how morals were applied, not a difference in morals. Peter Kreeft says this…
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