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June 2011

New Moralities

From J.M. Njoroge:

"Without God, morality is reduced to whatever mode of behavior human beings agree on. There is no action that is objectively right or wrong. Rape, hate, murder and other such acts are only wrong because they have been deemed to be so in the course of human evolution. Had human evolution taken a different course, these acts might well have been the valued elements of our moral code. Even Nazi morality would be right had the Nazis succeeded in their quest for world dominance. Unless the world contains behavioral guidelines that transcend human decisions, there is no reason why anyone should object to such conclusions. Though some religious people do not live up to the moral principles they prescribe, it is not true that genuine religious devotion makes no difference to one's moral commitments. It is missionaries, and not atheists, who regularly give up their own comforts and accept unbelievable amounts of pain and suffering to better the lives of societal outcasts, not just through preaching but also through education, technology, and humanitarian relief. Our failure to live up to what we know to be right provides empirical evidence for the need for God's intervention in our lives.

 

Those who insist that objective morality makes no difference to human autonomy still expect morality to guide the behavior of others. That our society is saturated with transcendent moral sentiments accounts for the popularity of some television programs that arrest our attention night after night. Perhaps ninety percent of the shows they contain depend exclusively on our ability to apply objective moral standards to the actions of the characters. Should the Judeo-Christian moral bank close its doors to our cultural psyche, the bankruptcy of human-centered morality would eventually send our spiritual tentacles scouring for an alternative transcendent anchor. Thus were the new atheists to succeed in their quest, the result would not be the elimination of religion but the entrenchment of a different religion. As Ravi Zacharias has warned, eventually, the real choice for the West will not be between Christianity and atheism but between Christianity and some other religion.  Beware of ethical naturalists bearing moral gifts."


Why Liberalism Can't Endure

"What makes life worth living? For the most part Western society has settled on an individualistic answer: whatever I decide or desire. It’s judgmental—an act of cultural imperialism, as we’re taught to say at fancy colleges—to suggest that there’s a right answer to this question. Rather, we are told, people should be able to organize their lives around what they feel or think best. We’re happiest, the present-day liberal presumes, when we can make up our own minds about what makes life worth living—or even if life is worth living."

Read entire article at First Things...