Are truth and goodness absolutes?
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/06/2020 (1078 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In these days, do you wonder if it’s possible to find truth? Do you find yourself longing for absolutes? An anchor that stays steady when everything is shifting around you?
We’ve been living in a world of relativism for quite some time, with my truth and your truth. The idea of moral absolutes has been unpopular. The focus has turned to rights, rather than on what is right. Or wrong.
And yet, no matter how hard we try to suppress our conscience, it is still there. When we bristle at the word “sin,” we still find ourselves agreeing that certain things are wrong, that there are atrocities in history.
Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Practical Reason wrote this: “Two things fill the mind with ever increasing wonder and awe … the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”
How did it get there?
Scholars agree that if we say there is evil, we admit there is good. If we accept that goodness exists, we affirm there is a moral law which differentiates between good and evil. If we admit to a moral law, it follows that there is a moral lawgiver. That is the most logical reason for our innate sense of morality.
Moral obligation is always to a person. We are accountable to someone, not something. For there to be a law above human law, that someone must have authority over all humanity, by their very nature and existence.
Moral obligation is always objective, rising far above mere consensus (which is impossible to achieve anyway). Without a law above human law, we are hard-pressed to back up our judgments of how other governments treat people.
Who wants to dwell on the dreary subject of moral obligation? That’s no fun. Plus, we are hopeless failures in measuring up. Isn’t it better to throw off the chains of moral obligation and live how we want? That’s freedom, isn’t it?
I believe we were never created for autonomy or independence. Yes, we were given a free will. Without it, love would be impossible. Love is what we were created for. To give our hearts to the one who made us, and to draw from him all that we need.
As for our moral obligations? I believe God made a way to be forgiven when we fall short. And to be brought back into right relationship with him, just like the prodigal son (Luke 15). That’s the good news!
If you’d like to explore questions of origin, meaning, and morality, a website I have been enjoying is www.rzim.org. The founder Ravi Zacharias, who died this month, was known for respecting the questions of thinkers and dialoguing on a personal level.
Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Springfield North community correspondent
Sonya Braun is a community correspondent for Springfield North.