I had to go back and find my place, but after rereading the posts I referred to and looking at Fiona’s comment, I still have to ask: how would we find ourselves capable of “judging by the highest standards” (Sean Gonsalves ) if we don’t have an unmoving measuring stick… called an Absolute to do that by?
Somewhere we have that Absolute Truth, what I call Big T Truth, that gives us an idea that “a murderer comparing himself to a serial killer. “Hey, I only killed one person but this guy is sick.”” is a wrong sort of ethical comparision. Somewhere it is simply wrong to murder. Now why is that an important distinction? It is higher moral ground.
We shift along in our applications, as we make “allowances” for humanity. And the very idea of making this allowance comes from the Absolute… God’s idea on mercy and on achieving balance by right application of law is the very basis of how we take circumstance into our consideration. You can call that being relative, but its base is within the idea that there is an absolute standard of truth – even if we are faulty in ever attaining it.
So we must become dependent. Dependent on a higher view. That is what the entire Reformation of the Christian Church predicated itself upon. Faultily, t’is sure, but that was the goal. To hold oneself against the highest standard of revelation of what is right and wrong, what is of God and what is not. What is Truth and what is not.
We still fail, but we recognize that there is something that is firm and true without being rigid and misleading. And that is what Higher Moral Ground is going to be founded upon. And why it is so hard for us to stay on that platform as human beings.
Even though we find we fail, it does not mean we may never resume tthe quest.
Not only may we, but we must. And that is something that answers the question of Sean Gonsalves Whatever happened to the conservative disdain for arguments that smack of moral relativism?
Nothing happened to that, it remains, there was just a failure in realizing it.
Moral relativism has its place under the Standard, but it will always have to give place to something higher, even if it helps in understanding and in applications in its own place. There is such a thing as “what is right for you”. Even the Bible teaches on that ( although I haven’t heard a sermon on it of late -ever)
Cultural matters are matters of moral relativism, but matters of murder are not. It is not ok to murder even if your culture tells you it is. Or if you personally think it is better to err on the side of tolerant flexibility rather moral rigidiness and give acquiescence to it in that way. The actual murder itself is wrong and remains wrong. That is what sets it apart as a standard of Truth. Big T Truth. An Absolute.
If you cannot know anything for sure, not with the idea that you are faulty in your reasoning and ability to fully reason, but because it does not exist. Then nothing is true. Ever. An absolute, in itself, which rules out the initial idea. Can’t do that logically.
I still haven’t approached the other idea “it is far more spiritual to leave room to change one’s mind.”
That takes another post because it has some truth, but not all of it. And if there is a possibility of truth we should seek to discover it, filling in our places of insufficiency.
It is something we will all do, all of our lives, to some degree or another.
One thought on “Moral Ground=Shifting Sands?”
Obviously, if there were no absolutes then there would be no wrong. For if society decides what is right or wrong and the consequences for acting contradictory to their rules then one only has to be careful not to be caught by man. Since there is no consequence for actions that are undiscovered and there are no absolutes, it may very well be “right” for one to steal or kill. Having supported the idea that no absolutes exist, one can no seek justice if they someone transgresses against them.
How many people believe that slavery was right or even just ok? Was the Nazi’s treatment of the Jew justifiable? I would imagine that nearly everyone would agree that both are wrong (evil) and were wrong (evil) at the time the events occurred. If it is true that these actions were evil, then an absolute must exist that would mandate them to be evil even though societies as a whole supported them to be ok or even justified in the case of Nazi Germany.
Now, having reached the conclusion that absolutes exist, one must further realize that there is a Supreme Being. Since for absolutes to exist there must be an entity that encompasses all good and one that encompasses all evil. For if there exist no consequence for actions, the idea of absolutes becomes invalid.
We have now reached a new dilemma. If there are consequences to be had for violating the absolute laws, we find ourselves in a terrible state as we all have, at one point in life run, afoul of these laws. And as C.S. Lewis said, our only safety is the one whom we have so alienated by our actions.
Now this lead into a whole new subject, which will be discoursed at a later time.
To read more on this subject, check out C.S. Lewis’ books “The Weight of Glory” and “Mere Christianity.”
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