Thursday, July 29, 2004

Moral imperatives...

This whole morality thread that has played out here, at Dispatches, at Wheat & Chaff, and (at least partially) at The Evangelical Outpost, is really quite fascinating. It’s fascinating in the sense of how moral relativists attempt to respond to the very basic, and very simple claim that any assertion they make that an action is Right – as in, “vs. Wrong” – is tantamount to an appeal to some higher standard. Responses range from the use of a non sequitir (14th comment down), to evasion by means of hypothetical scenarios designed to show some sort of moral disconnect, to simple laughter. Inherent in all these so-called responses is the implied admission that there is some standard of Right and Wrong, that humans can’t not know. If it were not so, there would be no point in their putting forth an argument that their position is correct.  What can we learn from this discourse? Well, the most obvious lesson is that we can get a pretty good understanding of the loops that moral relativists get caught in when attempting to justify their position. Yet a more subtle aspect is that we see a clear manifestation of a rejection of God. Note the way in which most of the arguments against the claim of a higher standard of morality tend to veer off toward the so-called fiendishness of God. That the former topic must be addressed before the latter topic can be discussed is lost on the secularist. The reasons for this rejection are, most likely, very diverse and could very well be hidden behind the arguments put forth against God’s authority. Regardless, though, it merely emphasizes my point that acknowledging the authority of God is the first step in acknowledging the obligation owed to Him. In the March 2004 issue of Touchstone, James Hitchcock writes a small piece titled Intolerable Dogma. An excerpt:
Of the Ten Commandments, the one most under radical attack for some time has not been the Commandment against adultery, as appears obvious, but the First Commandment, which for most Christians is not even an issue. In the end, orthodox Christianity is feared and disliked because it is monotheistic. It affirms, along with Judaism and Islam, that there is only one God. In that sense, it is an inherently intolerant religion, and those who want Christianity to be endlessly “inclusive” forget that it is radically exclusive at its very foundation. Just a polytheism can tolerate any religion except monotheism, so relativism can tolerate everything except dogmatism.
  Liking it, or not, doesn’t enter into the equation.

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