Subjective Reasoning ?
Mar 12, 2016 // By:Dave // No Comment
I have encountered innumerable people in my 30+ years as a christian who claim to prefer the notion of subjective morality.
I would like the reader to note that “christian” here does equal “I am a moral member of society” but is intended to mean “I am a follower of Jesus Christ and His teachings as recorded in Canonized scripture called “the Bible”. Being moral does not make me a christian (see Eph 2:8-9), rather becoming a christian will usually result in a moral person (who’s morals will continually move towards a resemblance of Christ Himself as the believer learns and grows in his faith).
That being said, let’s move on with my intended topic …
While I understand Pvbs 26:4-5 as a stewardship of my time, I don’t think most of the people I ran into were arguing for the sake of arguing. I really believe they are repeating the common objections they have heard from others and /or may actually be asking a reasonable question that they may have been struggling with.
Subjective morality has it’s attractions to be sure:
- People are allowed to discover their own definitions of right and wrong
- (note that right/fair for one person could be wrong/unfair for another which is one of the greatest causes of the pain and suffering in this world that many subjectivists use as an objection against the existence of a loving God)
- People are allowed to discover their own “reality”
- (look up “reality” in a dictionary sometime and discover that the very definition of the world has a “global” application which contradicts different realities existing at same time in same place … i.e we share pieces of ONE common reality in which we may have differing perspectives or interpretations but the reality must be the same for it to be a reality at all)
- People are allowed and encouraged to determine their own responsibility and contribution to their local societies
- (basically self-determined selfishness which may as well be placed under the first point of individually defined right and wrong which is guaranteed to fail.)
Let’s look at why subjective morality fails.
- Assumes that each member’s right and wrong is the same and will be fair.
- Denies the reason/fact of simple law enforcement in every culture to keep things fair in facing the fact that no two people can agree for very long on very much at all.
- Also assumes that “laws of the land” can be changed to suite the relative morals of that time period and culture and simple ignore what another group or generation believed was right or wrong.
In this video, a student asks Ravi Zacharias why he is afraid of subjectivity. As usual, Ravi’s response is short but effective.
I was thinking about this video Friday morning and the simple idea that someone who truly holds to the ideal of relative morality as a successful cultural model would not be locking or securing any possessions. As I was driving, I observed multiple cars changing lanes without signals, crossing solid lines (rather than waiting to get to the dotted lines) and basically, doing whatever suited the driver at that moment (and I should point out to much increased danger to drivers around them)
Subjectivity teaches that the lines on the road and the laws of vehicle operation only have value if the driver deems this so at that point in time as they may serve the needs of that individual driver. I would challenge anyone to defend this position and go further to suggest that subjectivity would lead a driver to begin creating their own “rules of the road” that would of course only benefit them (since fairness quickly becomes quite selfish without an absolute law to anchor it down). Imagine drivers ignoring stop signs because they are “in the wrong place” (wrong = inconvenient).
The greatest point that I am at least attempting to make here is that everyday life offers a nearly infinite choice of examples to offer up when we are confronted with questions (accusatory objections) implying that only fearful people insist on absolute truth as a foundation of morality. I enjoy using such everyday examples as metaphors to respond to such questions or objections since this is the method of teaching which I see Jesus Himself use throughout the New Testament. In such metaphors drawn from everyday life, objectors are more apt to realize the contradiction between what they claim and how they really live (not to mention, easier for the objector to now think through to see the result of such reasoning and how such flawed logic results in failed results)
Do you lock your doors at night ?
Do you leave money sticking out of your back pocket ?
Do you like it when another driver cuts into your lane or ignores a stop sign ?
Let’s leave profound definitions of concepts like “fair” and “just” in the hands of the only one who is capable of truly defining such foundational ideas for all civilizations of mankind, and let us focus on preserving the definitions rather than ignoring stop signs whenever they are inconvenient for our daily travel. There are greater things at stake than merely saving five minutes on the morning commute of our lives and the consequences for subjectivity and relative morality are far greater than any single (near sighted) generation can imagine.
What can each of us draw personally from this ?
Relativism can rear it’s head in the home or workplace as well. What does a man of God do about it? Stand your ground. Start first in your mind (your thoughts, emotions, logic) and ensure that you do not join this false concept. 2 Cor 10:3-5 stands as a war cry for all of us to proclaim God’s absolute truth first for ourselves, then those around us who need a real leader. The only leader I would trust, the only leader worth following is one who is already following Jesus alone.
Are you safe to follow ? It’s an easy fix. Follow absolute truth only, the Lord ! 🙂
in His service, Dave Cadieux