Friday, December 17, 2010

I've Been Reading...

Why I Am a Christian, edited by Norman L. Geisler and Paul K. Hoffman. (C 2006, Baker Books. Grand Rapids, MI) In the chapter, "Why I Am Not a Moral Relativist" Francis J. Beckwith writes on page 21,

"The fact that people disagree about something does not mean that there is no truth. For example, if you and I were to disagree on the question of whether the earth is round, our disagreement would certainly not be proof that the earth has no shape. Likewise, the fact that a skinhead (a type of neo-Nazi) and I may disagree on the question of whether we should treat people equally is certainly not sufficient reason to conclude that equality is not an objective moral value. Even if individuals and cultures hold no values in common, it simply does not follow that nobody is ever right or wrong about correct values. Despite the existence of moral disagreement, it is still quite possible that an individual or an entire culture, such as Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, are simply mistaken.

If a mere fact of disagreement were sufficient to conclude that objective norms do not exist, we would then have to acknowledge that there is no objectively correct position on such issues as slavery, genocide, and child molestation, for the slave owner, genocidal maniac, and the pedophile clearly have an opinion that differs from the one held by those of us who condemn their actions.

In the end, moral disagreement is simply a sociological observation that proves nothing about the true nature of morality."

Thank you, Mr. Beckwith, for your clarity.

The next path in the Wildwood will have something to do with the nature of evil, and of course, how Jesus as the indwelling Holy Spirit is the source of our over-coming.

4 comments:

Carey Rowland said...

The righteousness of men avails nothing nothing except innocence nailed to a tree.

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

postmodern redneck said...

The really amazing thing ( I learned this from C.S. Lewis, of course) is that over recorded history and almost the entire earth, there is so little real variation about basic morality. There may be some variation in details, and some societies, especially tribal ones, may treat strangers and enemies as fair game and require strict morality toward one's own tribe. But overall, the picture is amazingly uniform. For example, there has never been a culture that honored lying and deception of one's own people; it takes a certain level of mutual trust to make a society work (yes, honesty is the best policy!). But the overall picture is of striking agreement on basic morality in almost all times and places.

ded said...

It is amazing how similar we are the world over and across time.

Thanks much for the interaction, both here and away from the blog, Phil!!!