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Your Morality, My Morality, Everyone's


Morality: In Defense of Moral Absolutes

4 minutos

To say that the Christian worldview is true is to


say that it best describes the contours of the
world as it actually exists.

For example, Christianity says that the universe is a product of


design and that this fact is observable by everyone, whether or
not that truth has been suppressed by other commitments.

Christianity’s correspondence with the observable moral order


of the world is an aspect of Christianity’s justi�ed true belief.
As Francis Schae�er pointed out, “If there is no absolute
beyond man’s ideas, then there is no �nal appeal to judge
between individuals and groups whose moral judgments
con�ict. We are merely left with con�icting opinions.” To
paraphrase C. S. Lewis, if moral judgment is impossible, then
whether we like certain values is just a preference for certain
impulses based on how strongly we feel them rather than on
whether they are actually real. In a world of merely con�icting
opinions, those best able to muster the power to get their way
will always win. The biblical idea is that moral absolutes are
not around to bene�t the stronger and meaner but rather to
protect the weak. Bullies are not right just because they are
mightier. Common sense tells us that only bullies disagree
with this claim.

So far every culture in the world has understood and


embraced moral absolutes to bu�er society from the in�uence
of raw power. Richard H. Beis, professor emeritus of
philosophy at St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia, collected a
list of moral absolutes that seem to be true in every culture
that anthropologists have studied:

Moral Absolutes Consistent in Most Cultures

Prohibition of murder or maiming without justi�cation


Prohibition of lying, at least in certain areas such as oaths,
etc.
Right to own property such as land, clothing, tools, etc.
Economic justice: reciprocity and restitution
Preference of common good over individual good
Sexual restriction within all societies
Reciprocal duties between children and parents: parents
care for and train children, and children respect, obey, and
care for parents in old age
Loyalty to one’s social unit (family, tribe, country)
Provision for poor and unfortunate
Prohibition of theft
Prevention of violence within in-groups
Obligation to keep promises
Obedience to leaders
Respect for the dead and disposal of human remains in
some traditional and ritualistic fashion
Desire for and priority of immaterial goods (knowledge,
values, etc.)
Obligation to be a good mother
Distributive justice (fairness)
Inner rather than external sanctions considered better
Recognizing courage as a virtue
Identifying justice as an obligation

People who believe there are moral absolutes think moral


rules are universal because they are universally true, revealed
to everyone. Yes, they work, and, in that, they are good.

But they are not good because they work; they work because
they are good. They are sensible, surely. But they are sensible
because they are true, not the other way around. Christians
can think this way because they believe the Bible’s revelation
of God’s nature and character.

From a biblical viewpoint, it is not that the truth is unknowable


or that we are confused; it is that truth is knowable and we
have rebelled. Even fallen humans can know the truth, and we
ought to encourage one another to embrace it.

This is an excerpt from Understanding the Faith: A Survey of


Christian Apologetics by Je� Myers, available in Summit’s
bookstore.