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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Absolute Moral Truth

In last week’s column I addressed an article written by Larry P. Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College in a monthly publication by the school called, Imprimis. In my column I expressed the concern our nation has today in losing perspective on the role of the U.S. Constitution.

This document, the Constitution, stands alone among such lofty philosophies of self-governance. The main reason for this can be traced to the faith of the Founding Fathers of the United States. These were men who were very certain about their spiritual beliefs. There references throughout the writings of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and various other crucial documents written at that time were all firmly set in a theistic framework. Though these men frequently quibbled over points of doctrine (just as people do today), they did not argue over the existence of God and his involvement in the affairs of men. Neither were these men writing platitudes about God so as to somehow appease the masses of Americans who are denigrated by current historians to a mental level slightly higher than the village idiot for having been a people of faith. These same critics of the faith of our forefathers have bought into the philosophy of Karl Marx, who said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

Such a philosophical position begs the ultimate question: Is there a God? If the conclusion is that there indeed is a God, then we can safely make an assumption that there are also, a priori, moral absolutes in life. If there is no God, then we can also assume there are no moral absolutes, which, on the surface may not seem like a big deal until you follow such a philosophical position to its logical conclusion. If we settle on the belief that there are no moral absolutes, then anything a person does is permissible because there is no law or set of codes that place moral conditions on our behavior. So if I decide that people who have one blue eye and one green eye should die, and then set out to kill such people, what person or standard is going to question my actions? Remember: This is if there are no moral absolutes.

So if I rule out the existence of God who alone determines absolute moral law, then I can be free to behave in whatever manner suits me. Someone might object, saying, “You can’t do that!” I would respond, “Why not?” If we are agreed that there are no moral absolutes, then there is no one person or set of laws to say I can’t. “But that’s not right!” you say. I ask in return, “What are you using to determine what I can and cannot do? Or what’s your basis for what is right and wrong?” Since you’ve ruled out a higher being, or a higher set of laws, then it’s merely your likes and dislikes that are being expressed. They mean nothing to me, because I can do whatever I want.

You may be saying to yourself that such thinking is ridiculous. Really? That’s exactly the thinking that Adolf Hitler adopted when he wantonly murdered millions of Jews, Gypsies, Down’s syndrome persons, the mentally and physically retarded, and anyone else who did not fit his Aryan model of humanity.

Here’s my point. The Founding Fathers understood that for a free people to live under the rule of other men, all those people must agree that there are rules establishing proper conduct in our society, if that society is going to survive and prosper. To agree that there are rules to live by, there has to be a standard that is agreed upon that is superior to man himself. The standard is set by God. This is how we are to be accountable. Otherwise, chaos breaks out.

It is this idea that man does not need to answer to a higher authority that has produced the nightmarish decisions being foisted upon us today. We have satisfied ourselves that there are no absolute moral truths.

The baby in the womb is now seen as an inconvenience. It should only be given birth if it is wanted, healthy, and the parent(s) can properly take care of it. These are moral decisions made by people in authority. This is frightening! I do not want people in leadership making decisions based upon the philosophy that has said there are no moral absolutes.

Tragically, this is what I see in our government today. If we are to avoid disaster as a nation, we need people who return to the principles inherent in the Constitution. Are there any such people?

More on this next week.

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