When I was working as an Auto Theft Detective many times I would arrive to start my shift and discover that there was someone waiting in our jail for me. A Patrol Officer had caught someone driving a stolen car and it was my job to interview them and submit the case the the DA for filing. When I went to talk to the suspect we would discuss many things but one of them wasn’t if it was wrong from them to steal a car. I wanted the truth to why they took the car, where they took the car from, even where they were taking the car. I did not ask the suspects perception on stealing, their personal stealing philosophy,or think that I was being bigoted by labeling them a thief. Why is this the case then with regard to so many other moral issues? why do people think they are allowed to decide what is right and wrong? Do our Morales come from our culture, from God, or do we get to make them up as we go along. I come down on the side of God giving us what we know to be right and wrong but we will look at my argument for this toward the end.
Does our culture dictate what is right and what is wrong?
How big must the culture be for us to accept that we can not cast judgement on their behavior and label it wrong. In the case of Auto Theft, many gang members do this as a source of revenue for their gang, they steal a car and sell it, in the gang culture stealing cars is celebrated as great for their culture. Should we be able to label that culture as morally wrong for this behavior? after all they were raised in a neighborhood where this was seen as virtuous, perhalps they were raised by parents who taught them to steal. Sure perhaps the person who got their car stolen can call it wrong but can those of us who did not get harmed by this label it as wrong. If we did call this culture of stealing wrong, what standard are we using? Maybe you’re thinking that the gang culture is a bad example because it’s too small, we should think bigger like a country. If a country deems something legal and the majority of the citizens think that behavior is acceptable does that make it moral? If you are living in the United States this seems like a legitimate position to take. After all we all got together and voted on it, you had your chance to vote, the majority voted to approve the behavior so if it didn’t go your way you should just accept it. We even take it a step further in this country, if you disagree with the behavior after the “vote” you can get label as a bigot or fanatic, or hater just to ensure you accept it, or at least stay quiet. For example in a country that does not allow people to freely abort babies can they judge the United States as morally wrong, can the United States say that country is morally wrong for not allowing people to abort babies? After all Hitler was killing Jews how could we say they were wrong if morals are based on culture or our upbringing? Clearly getting our morals from culture does not makes sense, not even common sense. What is the standard by which one culture can judge another cultures behavior if this view is correct?
Can we make up whats right and wrong Individually as we go along?
What if we are able to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong? That seems to make sense in our culture doesn’t it? For example in Vermont it is now legal for a doctor to give you a lethal amount of drugs if you have a terminal illness. This seems perfectly acceptable to people if they feel they have the right to determine which lives have value and which ones do not. If this viewpoint is right doesn’t it have to work for everything? Does this individual moral viewpoint work with auto theft? If I took your car and said, it’s ok I need a car and I don’t think its wrong I bet you would beg to differ. One might say that this is an extreme position and we don’t see this in the real world, or when people choose what’s right for them it doesn’t hurt anyone. I would say what about abortion? A woman has a right to choose, she as the individual has the right to decide, notice though how the slogans never finish the sentence. She has the right to choose or decide what? The inconvenient truth is that she can choose or decide to kill a baby and in the United States people embrace the fallacy that morals are based on the individual.
Obviously I hold the position that the first two sources of morality cannot be true although we sell these to ourselves everyday. We suppress reality and re-label things to make the truth of immoral acts more palatable. We call it a woman’s health issue or an alternative lifestyle and we do this to not only lie to ourselves but to market the lies to others. This was if we get others to accept the immoral behavior it will seem less moral. After all I am sure gang members don;t sit around and talk about how wrong stealing is, in fact they try and justify thier immoral behavior like the rest of us.
By now you probably figured out I believe that morals are absolute and are given to us by God as his standard for how we are supposed to live. If you are opposed to my view, you are also an absolutist you just believe that there are no absolutely no absolutes. I believe there is good evidence that we get morals (how we should live, not how we do live) from a creator. I formed this belief by seeing that there is evidence that morals transcend all humans. For example no one would say it is ok to torture people for fun anywhere anytime. This is also true with stealing, no one could reasonably say that someone taking something from them without permission was right. How could we say these things unless our morals trandsended us and were given by a creator. I would also argue that the hot topic issues we see talked about all the time can be argued as morally wrong. I say this by noticing that if something is morally right you don’t need PR marketing or groups to sell the idea as moral. There are no campaigns to sell people on the idea that you shouldn’t allow people to take your stuff without permission.
Finally, I would say that you should know the standard by which you measure your morals and what fruit they bare. As Christians our morals are founded in not only the evidence that these morals seem to be natural law and transcendent but also in scripture. We also know our morals do not result in the taking of innocent life (the Canaanites weren’t innocent, I know beat you to the punch) or the selfishness produced by relativism. .
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