Friday, February 12, 2010

Moral Absolutes Require an Absolutely Transcendent Being

A letter to an atheist who wrote, “One can reason their way to moral absolutes without injecting a deity into the equation.”

Yes, we can reason our way to moral absolutes if there is first a basis in existence for these absolutes! Just consider these requirements for moral absolutism:

1. Immutability – if it changes, it can’t be absolute.

2. Universality – if its truth isn’t universal, then it can’t be absolute.

3. Transcendence – if it doesn’t transcend our own thinking and inclinations, then each one of us becomes the Supreme Court of our own subjective, non-absolute inclinations and thinking. There must exist something higher than us, something to which we are all subject and accountable.

In the above, moral law is similar to physical laws. However, there is one more necessary ingredient of absolute moral law that sets it apart from the physical laws – it carries transcendent authority. We can’t violate it without experiencing punishment, at least psychologically. While we can do a lot of things to violate the “demands” of gravity – getting on an elevator or plane – moral laws can’t be sidestepped so easily, at least not without painful consequences.

Conclusion: Acknowledging moral absolutes is to acknowledge a transcendent law-Giver. There is simply no one else in the picture who can fulfill these requirements.

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