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C.S. Lewis on Objective Morality by BlameThe1st C.S. Lewis on Objective Morality by BlameThe1st
“The Law of Human and Nature” and “Some Objections"
from “Mere Christianity” (1943) by C.S. Lewis


1. The Law of Human Nature

Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: "How'd you like it if anyone did the same to you?"-"That's my seat, I was there first"-"Leave him alone, he isn't doing you any harm"- "Why should you shove in first?"-"Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine"-"Come on, you promised." People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups. Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man's behaviour does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behaviour which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: "To hell with your standard." Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behaviour or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.

Now this Law or Rule about Right and Wrong used to be called the Law of Nature. Nowadays, when we talk of the "laws of nature" we usually mean things like gravitation, or heredity, or the laws of chemistry. But when the older thinkers called the Law of Right and Wrong "the Law of Nature," they really meant the Law of Human Nature. The idea was that, just as all bodies are governed by the law of gravitation and organisms by biological laws, so the creature called man also had his law-with this great difference, that a body could not choose whether it obeyed the law of gravitation or not, but a man could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it.

We may put this in another way. Each man is at every moment subjected to several different sets of law but there is only one of these which he is free to disobey. As a body, he is subjected to gravitation and cannot disobey it; if you leave him unsupported in mid-air, he has no more choice about falling than a stone has. As an organism, he is subjected to various biological laws which he cannot disobey any more than an animal can. That is, he cannot disobey those laws which he shares with other things; but the law which is peculiar to his human nature, the law he does not share with animals or vegetables or inorganic things, is the one he can disobey if he chooses.

This law was called the Law of Nature because people thought that every one knew it by nature and did not need to be taught it. They did not mean, of course, that you might not find an odd individual here and there who did not know it, just as you find a few people who are colour-blind or have no ear for a tune. But taking the race as a whole, they thought that the human idea of decent behaviour was obvious to every one. And I believe they were right. If they were not, then all the things we said about the war were nonsense. What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practised? If they had had no notion of what we mean by right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the colour of their hair.

I know that some people say the idea of a Law of Nature or decent behaviour known to all men is unsound, because different civilisations and different ages have had quite different moralities.

But this is not true. There have been differences between their moralities, but these have never amounted to anything like a total difference. If anyone will take the trouble to compare the moral teaching of, say, the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans, what will really strike him will be how very like they are to each other and to our own. Some of the evidence for this I have put together in the appendix of another book called The Abolition of Man; but for our present purpose I need only ask the reader to think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might just as well try to imagine a country where two and two made five. Men have differed as regards what people you ought to be unselfish to-whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But they have always agreed that you ought not to put yourself first. Selfishness has never been admired. Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you liked.

But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining "It's not fair" before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties do not matter, but then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such thing as Right and Wrong- in other words, if there is no Law of Nature-what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else?

It seems, then, we are forced to believe in a real Right and Wrong. People may be sometimes mistaken about them, just as people sometimes get their sums wrong; but they are not a matter of mere taste and opinion any more than the multiplication table. Now if we are agreed about that, I go on to my next point, which is this. None of us are really keeping the Law of Nature. If there are any exceptions among you, I apologise to them. They had much better read some other work, for nothing I am going to say concerns them. And now, turning to the ordinary human beings who are left:

I hope you will not misunderstand what I am going to say. I am not preaching, and Heaven knows I do not pretend to be better than anyone else. I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people. There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. That slightly shady business about the money-the one you have almost forgotten-came when you were very hard up. And what you promised to do for old So-and-so and have never done-well, you never would have promised if you had known how frightfully busy you were going to be. And as for your behaviour to your wife (or husband) or sister (or brother) if I knew how irritating they could be, I would not wonder at it-and who the dickens am I, anyway? I am just the same. That is to say, I do not succeed in keeping the Law of Nature very well, and the moment anyone tells me I am not keeping it, there starts up in my mind a string of excuses as long as your arm. The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much-we feel the Rule or Law pressing on us so- that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility. For you notice that it is only for our bad behaviour that we find all these explanations. It is only our bad temper that we put down to being tired or worried or hungry; we put our good temper down to ourselves.

These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.


2. Some Objections

If they are the foundation, I had better stop to make that foundation firm before I go on. Some of the letters I have had show-that a good many people find it difficult to understand just what this Law of Human Nature, or Moral Law, or Rule of Decent Behaviour is.

For example, some people wrote to me saying, "Isn't what you call the Moral Law simply our herd instinct and hasn't it been developed just like all our other instincts?" Now I do not deny that we may have a herd instinct: but that is not what I mean by the Moral Law. We all know what it feels like to be prompted by instinct-by mother love, or sexual instinct, or the instinct for food. It means that you feel a strong want or desire to act in a certain way. And, of course, we sometimes do feel just that sort of desire to help another person: and no doubt that desire is due to the herd instinct. But feeling a desire to help is quite different from feeling that you ought to help whether you want to or not. Supposing you hear a cry for help from a man in danger. You will probably feel two desires-one a desire to give help (due to your herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct for self-preservation). But you will find inside you, in addition to these two impulses, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away. Now this thing that judges between two instincts, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them. You might as well say that the sheet of music which tells you, at a given moment, to play one note on the piano and not another, is itself one of the notes on the keyboard. The Moral Law tells us the tune we have to play: our instincts are merely the keys.

Another way of seeing that the Moral Law is not simply one of our instincts is this. If two instincts are in conflict, and there is nothing in a creature's mind except those two instincts, obviously the stronger of the two must win. But at those moments when we are most conscious of the Moral Law, it usually seems to be telling us to side with the weaker of the two impulses. You probably want to be safe much more than you want to help the man who is drowning: but the Moral Law tells you to help him all the same. And surely it often tells us to try to make the right impulse stronger than it naturally is? I mean, we often feel it our duty to stimulate the herd instinct, by waking up our imaginations and arousing our pity and so on, so as to get up enough steam for doing the right thing. But clearly we are not acting from instinct when we set about making an instinct stronger than it is. The thing that says to you, "Your herd instinct is asleep. Wake it up," cannot itself be the herd instinct. The thing that tells you which note on the piano needs to be played louder cannot itself be that note.

Here is a third way of seeing it If the Moral Law was one of our instincts, we ought to be able to point to some one impulse inside us which was always what we call "good," always in agreement with the rule of right behaviour. But you cannot. There is none of our impulses which the Moral Law may not sometimes tell us to suppress, and none which it may not sometimes tell us to encourage. It is a mistake to think that some of our impulses- say mother love or patriotism-are good, and others, like sex or the fighting instinct, are bad. All we mean is that the occasions on which the fighting instinct or the sexual desire need to be restrained are rather more frequent than those for restraining mother love or patriotism. But there are situations in which it is the duty of a married man to encourage his sexual impulse and of a soldier to encourage the fighting instinct. There are also occasions on which a mother's love for her own children or a man's love for his own country have to be suppressed or they will lead to unfairness towards other people's children or countries. Strictly speaking, there are no such things as good and bad impulses. Think once again of a piano. It has not got two kinds of notes on it, the "right" notes and the "wrong" ones. Every single note is right at one time and wrong at another. The Moral Law is not any one instinct or any set of instincts: it is something which makes a kind of tune (the tune we call goodness or right conduct) by directing the instincts.

By the way, this point is of great practical consequence. The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials "for the sake of humanity," and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.

Other people wrote to me saying, "Isn't what you call the Moral Law just a social convention, something that is put into us by education?" I think there is a misunderstanding here. The people who ask that question are usually taking it for granted that if we have learned a thing from parents and teachers, then that thing must be merely a human invention. But, of course, that is not so. We all learned the multiplication table at school. A child who grew up alone on a desert island would not know it. But surely it does not follow that the multiplication table is simply a human convention, something human beings have made up for themselves and might have made different if they had liked? I fully agree that we learn the Rule of Decent Behaviour from parents and teachers, and friends and books, as we learn everything else. But some of the things we learn are mere conventions which might have been different-we learn to keep to the left of the road, but it might just as well have been the rule to keep to the right-and others of them, like mathematics, are real truths. The question is to which class the Law of Human Nature belongs.

There are two reasons for saying it belongs to the same class as mathematics. The first is, as I said in the first chapter, that though there are differences between the moral ideas of one time or country and those of another, the differences are not really very great-not nearly so great as most people imagine-and you can recognise the same law running through them all: whereas mere conventions, like the rule of the road or the kind of clothes people wear, may differ to any extent. The other reason is this. When you think about these differences between the morality of one people and another, do you think that the morality of one people is ever better or worse than that of another? Have any of the changes been improvements? If not, then of course there could never be any moral progress. Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better. If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality. In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others. We do believe that some of the people who tried to change the moral ideas of their own age were what we would call Reformers or Pioneers-people who understood morality better than their neighbours did. Very well then. The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people's ideas get nearer to that real Right than others. Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something-some Real Morality-for them to be true about. The reason why your idea of New York can be truer or less true than mine is that New York is a real place, existing quite apart from what either of us thinks. If when each of us said "New York" each meant merely "The town I am imagining in my own head," how could one of us have truer ideas than the other? There would be no question of truth or falsehood at all. In the same way, if the Rule of Decent Behaviour meant simply "whatever each nation happens to approve," there would be no sense in saying that any one nation had ever been more correct in its approval than any other; no sense in saying that the world could ever grow morally better or morally worse.

I conclude then, that though the differences between people's ideas of Decent Behaviour often make you suspect that there is no real natural Law of Behaviour at all, yet the things we are bound to think about these differences really prove just the opposite. But one word before I end. I have met people who exaggerate the differences, because they have not distinguished between differences of morality and differences of belief about facts. For example, one man said to me, "Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death. Was that what you call the Rule of Human Nature or Right Conduct?" But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did-if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather, surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did. There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house.

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About the author (from Wikipedia):

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland. He is known for both his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy and his non-fiction, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain.

Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and both were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptised in the Church of Ireland (part of the Anglican Communion) at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to the Anglican Communion, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England". His faith had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

In 1956, he married the American writer Joy Davidman, 17 years his junior, who died four years later of cancer at the age of 45. Lewis died three years after his wife, as the result of renal failure. His death came one week before his 65th birthday. Media coverage of his death was minimal; he died on 22 November 1963—the same day that U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the same day another famous author, Aldous Huxley, died.

Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, TV, radio, and cinema.

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About this selection (from Wikipedia):

Mere Christianity is a theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1942 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during World War II. Considered a classic of Christian apologetics, the transcripts of the broadcasts originally appeared in print as three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1944). Lewis was invited to give the talks by Rev. James Welch, the BBC Director of Religious Broadcasting, who had read his 1940 book, The Problem of Pain.

Lewis claims that to understand Christianity, one must understand the moral law, which is the underlying structure of the universe and is "hard as nails." Unless one grasps the dismay which comes from humanity's failure to keep the moral law, one cannot understand the coming of Christ and his work. The eternal God who is the law's source takes primacy over the created Satan whose rebellion undergirds all evil. The death and resurrection of Christ is introduced as the only way in which our inadequate human attempts to redeem humanity's sins could be made adequate in God's eyes.

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C.S. Lewis photo from Godward Thoughts.
"The Last Jews in Vinnitsa" from World Famous Photos.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconzeonista:
Zeonista Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014
Words of wisdom from a man who learned that God and not eh State was the center of things. :)
Reply
:iconreasonablebeliever:
ReasonableBeliever Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014
Apologetics at it's finest ;)
Reply
:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:D
Reply
:icongraeystone:
Graeystone Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2013
How do moral relativists explain rape, pedophilia, and outright murder? Better yet, I'd like to have a moral relativist explain to a victim(or family of the victim in the case of the murder) that what happen was not an outright act of pure evil of some kind.
Reply
:icontheatticusnew:
TheAtticusNew Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
I don't think you fully understand what moral relativism is. For reference, here's is a video that explains part of what moral relativism is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhQNe-…
Reply
:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Heck if I know. If they have an explanation for that, it's probably special pleading.
Reply
:icondreamslayer1:
Dreamslayer1 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
You know that photo was faked in the same way the hnaged russian woman was faked?

not safe for work due nudity
[link]

[link]

compare the two.

obviously, your point is still there though. even though the national socialist warcrimes was heavely exaggerated. winners write history and all that

That and putting people in prison for it kinda shows where the truth lies
Reply
:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Not sure if I want to respond to this. This smells of Holocaust denial.
Reply
:icondreamslayer1:
Dreamslayer1 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
Which one do you mean?

[link]

Acording to the new york times from 1918 and forward, its alot.

this smells of holocaust denial which is a denial of fact. be it exaggeration or not.

Obviously Yosef Ovadias opinion on non-jews kinda shows who is denying what.
Or would you kindly explain the articles in the link I gave in this post here?
Reply
:iconsuicidalartist000:
SuicidalArtist000 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013   General Artist
At first glance, it seems good. But in depth, it is flawed. Each person has their own mind and opinions, and with free will they are able to choose where they stand religiously, ideologically, economically, socially, culturally, etc. His statement ignorantly demonizes nazism and compares it with christianity, and tries to state that what his definition of "civilized morality" is is the "best" and "true" one.
Such a thing is false as it would blatantly disregard the fact that many of the people that were carelessly labeled as "savage" if they didn't share those views or if they disagreed.

There's no such thing as a "proper" or "truer" morality, we as humans have free choice, opinions, and beliefs. Who can say that there on way or belief is "better" or "truer"? They can't realistically.

It's fine to believe in something, just as long as you don't believe it is "right" (meaning that you accept what you believe in is not "truer" or "better" than what anyone else chooses to believe)
Reply
:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
If one opinion or belief causes harm towards another human being, you can objectively claim it is immoral. Thus why the Nazis were considered immoral.
Reply
:iconsuicidalartist000:
SuicidalArtist000 Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013   General Artist
that's funny, because i'm pretty sure lots of people say christianity is "good" and "moral" yet it was the cause of millions of deaths in the dark ages.
and that's also funny, because not every last Nazi was a blood thirsty racist that believed hitler's personal racial/supremacist policies, some only had their families and countries to fight for.
and for a third, it is rendered flawed since people have objected and argued since the beginning of time about what is "right" and "wrong" since people have these things which they have a right to, they're called beliefs and opinions.

You don't have to like something or agree with it, you can disagree away, though the fact is you have no person has the right to claim their belief is "superior" or "truer"
Reply
:iconnubbydelights:
NubbyDelights Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
In response to your dark age comments, I am aware the church has made mistakes in its past, but what specifically are you referring to in the dark ages? I would like to respond but I'm not positive about what you're referring to. I think its safe to say some things regardless of what you are referring to. The church has made many mistakes during its existance, and that has led some to not believe it. However, when looking at what Christianity stands for and its values, it should be seen that whenever a mistake has been made, it has been in contradiction to what is supposed to be believed by a Christian. The Crusades for example, were violent wars fought because of greed, but put under a guise of faith. It is not representative of what Christianity stands for. In fact, I'm thinking one can argue that the acts you speak of were by those who beleived themselves right. In other words, those who were being morally relative.

I agree with your second point but I don't see its relevance. We're not talking about those who joined to ensure the safety of themselves and their family. The quote itself is referring to the actual idea of Nazism. Those who fought on its side have no relevance here. The morality of that belief system is being used to show the ultimate flaw of moral relativism. If everything is relative, people can justify anything, such as the holocaust.

In response to your third point, doesn't that point to a fact that morality exists? I imagine you saying "duh" to that, but let me eblaborate. If morality exists, there needs to be a foundation it is built upon. If not, like I said, nothing is wrong and perhaps one could argue, morality does not exist. I must admit I'm getting into territory that I am not that good at handling. But don't let that make you think an answer by a competent person isn't out there. There is, and at the moment I am floundering and forgetting.

Christianity does not seek to limit people. I think North American Christianity is guilty of being rigid in how things are done. It doesn't allow other cultures to do things their way. It's North America or nothing, and that's something I think that needs to change.

And I'll be done with this:
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart."
-Proverbs 21:2
The Bible is aware of moral relativism, but when it comes down to it, it is not what the individual believes is right. It is the morality that God has set for humanity to follow. I know that verse and explanation probably have no meaning to you, but I felt it was necessary to show that the Bible is not oblivious to what it is we're talking about. I hope I didn't come off as confrontational, and I hope I made sense.
Reply
:iconsuicidalartist000:
SuicidalArtist000 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013   General Artist
Before, during, and after "the dark ages", there is no specific time, People fought over religion for thousands of years.
More people have died "In the name of god" than by any other unnatural cause.
"It is not representative of what christianity stands for" how interesting, because at the same time the description was controversially condemning Nazism with the belief that genocide was it's main moral, while it was just a personal policy put forth by Adolf hitler (who wasn't the founder of the Nazi party). The nazi party was founded on the basis of the saving of germany and it's people from depravity and opposing communism, Hitler was the one who put in place the racial policies. Thus showing that this idea of christianity you seem to have is contradicted by the fact that you condemn other ideas and groups of people entirely while refusing to see any possibility of their individual morals or opinions, while putting forth christianity as being wholesemly better.

lastly, it would seem you still do not recognize that people have "individuality" and there opinions or stances on "morality" range variously, if they even bother to have a morality. Some people go their entire lives without having the slightest interest or care for religion, so people do not need it unless they want/choose it, which means that christian "morality" is just another Choice, opinion, and belief that people may make. end result- as i have already said~ everyone having an opinion and stance, and while everyone has the right to believe in something, no one has the right to believe that their belief is "better" or "truer", you are no exception
Reply
:iconnubbydelights:
NubbyDelights Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013
Can you prove that more people have died that way than any other way? Is there a statistic out there that says how many people have died by which cause? That just sounds like your stating something to fit your cause.

And if I can defend my statements, I believe it was that Hitler was attracted to the ideas of Nazism. That aspects that you mentioned were of course part of it, but I've not heard that it was solely Hitler that brought the racial policies. Again, it just sounds like your stating things that sound only very slightly plausible to fit your cause. If you are not, you have my apologies.

You're doing the same thing. You're saying that your view of moral relativism is truer than everything else. You're stating that I'm wrong. I'm failing to see a difference between that, and my thinking that I'm right. I'm not condemning others... I do not know where that came from. Again you are saying things just to fit what you believe (something I imagine I've done in this reply at some point as well). I condemned Nazism, but I think you'd have to be... something or other (can't think of a good word at the moment) to not condemn their ideas. I never said anything about any other group. I understand that people have their own motivations for doing... everything.

You're making odd steps. The fact that people go without it does not mean they don't need it. You're getting into predetermination now. Complicated territory. I understand that people have individuality. In fact, I feel like I referenced that. I said Christianity doesn't seek to limit people. Individuality is important. I'm not sure where you're getting the fact that I said otherwise.
Anyway, like I said, you're doing the same thing I am. You're stating that your belief is better and truer than mine.
Reply
:iconsuicidalartist000:
SuicidalArtist000 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2013   General Artist
-"Prove"? Is that what they did when they made reports of death tolls in the holocaust, stalin's purges, american genocide of native americans, russian pogroms, chinese social class massacres, and on, and on.
History isn't a tally mark book of 1, 2, 3 down to the last corpse as such a thing is impossible. While not trying to sound insulting or offensive, i think of it only as common sense that millions upon millions died over the course of thousands of years and even bloody battles that consisted of vastly numbered armies that clashed in blood over religion. People still die of religious conflict even today (though infinitely less in number)

-Hitler wrote mein kampf, and in portions of it his racial beliefs of inferiority/superiority are shown. And until he himself became leader of the party, The nazi party (considerably few in number in the 20's) had only ideological purposes and basis. The followers (not all) who actually believed his racial theories and were swayed by the idea that jews were to blame, ended up making a imprinting image on Nazism to such an extent that most people are dull enough to think that racism is what Nazism stands for, Hitler sure stood for it as one of his personal side policies, but the ideologly of national socialism itself is not based on it.

-"Your view of moral relativism is truer than everything else" my view? i stated that people don't have a right to claim that what they believe is truer or better than anyone else's, they have the right to believe in what they choose. Your view of morality seems to be based on the concept that it is above all other forms of belief or opinions in terms of importance. You claim it is relative even though as i have said, some people go their entire life without having the slightest care for religion, philosophy, ideology, or even anything relating to any belief with critical thinking.

You show it as though you side with christianity, which is a belief, just as Nazism is, and Judaism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Communism, etc, etc. A belief- just as all Ideologies and religions are. But then you hold up "Objective morality" as this all important thing that dominates everything else in terms of importance as if nothing else can be considered equal or worthy of thought.

It seems quite clear that that is what the entire concept of "objective morality" was in the first place, controversially being a belief that seeks to be "truer" and "better" than whatever it deems unfit, "evil", or innapropriate. And isn't that the very basis upon how you think of other beliefs that you disagree with? Mine for example, even though mine was that you can believe in something, only if you don't believe it is better or truer. Leaving "objective morality" that seems to serve no purpose but to be a "nail in the floor" that is causing senseless conflict with it's unnecessary presence.
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:iconnubbydelights:
NubbyDelights Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
I believe we may be operating on different wavelengths here. I'm going to wind down this discussion.
I disagree with your assertion that more have died "in the name of God" as you put it than any other cause. I guess we'll have to leave it at that.

I also disagree with the Nazi thing, perhaps the racism was not as strong but to claim it wasn't part of it before Hitler seems... not correct. It has always been a part of it. "A majority of scholars identify Nazism in practice as a form of far-right politics.[23] Far-right themes in Nazism include the argument that superior people have a right to dominate over other people and purge society of supposed inferior elements. [10]" I found this on wikipedia (obviously the most reliable of sources [sarcasm]). Regardless, I said I'm winding this down and I intend to.

Yes, your view is that people don't have a right to claim that what they believe is truer or better than anyone else's. That is a worldview/belief/whatever-fancy-label-applies. You have that belief and put it over all the others. It is somewhat paradoxical and weird because it acts as though it submits to other thoughts, but it is exactly the same as any other belief. Everybody thinks their worldview is the best (like the Bible verse I shared said).

Every belief must answer the question of God. I don't believe that there has been anyone who hasn't had to deal with the question. Perhaps they didn't care but it is something that everyone has to deal with no matter the worldview.

I'm holding up objective morality because that's the topic we're talking about. I don't think people have the capacity to judge what is good or what is bad. We are inherently bad creatures with an extremely finite view of everything. However, we have been told what is good and what is bad by an infinitely good and infinite being, the only place a moral system can come. Otherwise, one can continually ask the question of why something is wrong. For example: "killing people is wrong." "why?" "Because it hurts others/removes life from another/you wouldn't want someone to do it to you." "Why is that wrong?" "Because society said so/because [insert reasons here]" "Why do they have any authority over me?" and so on. Ultimately, without a system of morality from an infinite source, anything can be seen a moral or right... this winding down is going great.

WIth this discussion I did not seek to convert you, I don't have that ability. I hoped to provide an illustration that Christians aren't all fanatical zealots. Christians are capable of reason and while I am extremely, extraordinarily far from the paragon of intellectual thought (as I have no doubt displayed), I hope that my goal has at least been recognized. There are those out there that can provide much clearer arguments than I have or can. A virtual art gallery is an odd place to have a theological/moral discussion, but I have been reminded that Ineed to work on argument skills and, as always, get more edumacation.

Christians are supposed to behave like Jesus, and I feel that a lot of the time that doesn't happen (of course, including with me), and when that occurs, it provides a bad example of Christianity. I do hope I've provided the good example I desired to and I do hope and pray that one day you can come to faith in God and Jesus.
Even though I know it probably won't have any meaning to you now, I hope one day it does:
"My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray, turning them away on the mountains. From mountain to hill they have gone. They have forgotten their fold." Jeremiah 50:6
"The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." - Luke 19:10
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013
"If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other, there would be no sense in preferring civilised morality to savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality"

Exactly! Unless you implicitly assume that morality is a certain property and Nazism doesn't have it, but good luck trying to justify that arbitrary decision. Also, appeals to popularity ("In fact, of course, we all do believe that some moralities are better than others.") or intellectual genesis ("though there are differences between the moral ideas of one time or country and those of another, the differences are not really very great-not nearly so great as most people imagine-and you can recognise the same law running through them all") are both fallacious, see: [link] and [link]
In conclusion, Lewis was a full-of-shit dogmatist who'd never studied a day's philosophy in his life.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
"Unless you implicitly assume that morality is a certain property and Nazism doesn't have it, but good luck trying to justify that arbitrary decision."

Sure thing:

1) That which harms another is immoral.
2) The Holocaust harmed others.
3) Therefore, the Holocaust is immoral.
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013
...as long as you assume harm is immoral, which is your (somewhat controversial) implicit assumption. Utilitarianism was once very popular but not so much in the past 100 years.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've yet to come across a human being who thought otherwise who wasn't a psychopath.
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2013
Firstly I find that highly surprising and also guilt by association is an irrelevant fallacy
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Really? Do you know anyone who thinks harm is good?
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013
How are people's opinions relevant to objective fact? The Beatles are objectively the best band ever because they've sold the most records. (not.) [link]

Even if every sentient being in the universe believed the same thing, it wouldn't be objectively true on those grounds.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Harm is something you can observe. It can be empiracly measured. From what I can tell, that makes it objective.
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013
See the Naturalistic Fallacy for why objective morality cannot possibly exist.
[link]

If X were morally good, it would be meaningless to say "X is good", because X would be part of the definition of that term so it would be trivial/tautological - for instance: "Good is good".
To assume that what is morally good is one of a list of properties (like "pleasurable", "useful", "what god commands" etc) would be circular reasoning, because the association is assumed implicitly.
It is therefore impossible to conflate a fact with a value, and moral objectivism is false.


Moral realism would also clash with subjectivist theories of value such as that of the Austrian tradition - of there were objective moral values, there would be some things we would be objectively obliged to buy.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't think you understand the concept of objective morality. Morality, by its very nature, is determined by the harm principle, which states that actions which cause harm are immoral while actions that prevent harm are moral. And since we can objectively determine what actions cause or prevent harm, it stands to reason that morality is objective. For example, we can see that murdering or raping another human being causes them harm, so murder and rape are objectively immoral. Got that?
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2013
Absolutely not - liberal ethics in the Lockean vein (and future elaborations such as Utilitarianism) believes that, but you arbitrarily hold that account of morality instead of others, such as community-determined values, act-centred or various other consequence-centred views of morality. Is stealing always wrong, even when it doesn't harm anyone? It's one of the Ten Commandments, yet if breaches clasical liberal ethics, suggesting the Bible and liberalism are incompatible. Medieval morality was far more about actions themselves rather than harm, as a result.

Also, it's often incredibly difficult to tell in advabce what harm an action will cause. Should you then punish intent or outcome? How can you accurately gauge a person's intent etc. Your understanding of morality is primitive and highly reductionist.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It's the most basic form, and the most objective.

As far as intent or outcome, definitely outcome. It's the only thing we can objectively analyze.
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013
I think the notion of being "most" objective is a dubious one, even if moral objectivity were possible at all.
So if you were a very well-meaning person with a heart of gold but an extremely clumsy nature and kept making mistakes, you could be an objectively bad person? That's ridiculous, and most ethicists would disagree
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
There's a difference between occasional mistakes and consistent malfeasance.
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:iconbttlrp:
bttlrp Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013
Where is that difference, exactly?
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Intent.
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:iconfilthylibertine:
FilthyLibertine Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
This is the only reason people believe in objective morality. Not because it's real, but because they're afraid of reality.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Reality has murder, rape, and theft. I think that's a rational thing to fear.
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:iconfilthylibertine:
FilthyLibertine Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013
Yeah, but you can't escape reality. All you can do is delude yourself into believing the world isn't how it really is. That's what religion and other philosophies of objective morality do.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
And how do you suppose the world isn't as it seems? How is reality not being perceived as you think it ought to be perceived?
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:iconfilthylibertine:
FilthyLibertine Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Well for starters, there's no such thing as good and evil.
My point is that the world IS as it seems. People who believe in objective morality are pretending it's not.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
So whether or not it's okay to genocide a whole race of people is a matter of opinion?
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:iconfilthylibertine:
FilthyLibertine Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2013
Of course. Who would be the single person who gets to decide whether something is objectively right or wrong?
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:iconmike-the-cat:
Mike-the-cat Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's a joke, right?

You were serious?

Let me laugh harder.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Most people realize that murder, rape, theft, and violence are immoral. It's not one single person; it's a consensus, and a natural one at that.
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:iconnamezong:
namezong Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
Also Christian morality is somewhat amorphous, since it varies from country to country, century to century and even preacher to preacher. Would we try to pin it down we would face much difficulties to agree upon it.
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Lewis did address this in the rest of his book. He admits that there are variations among Christians and others, but in the ends, despite this, there are some things which are absolute.
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:iconryu238:
ryu238 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2013
I don't think anything is absolute as long as people have differing opinions and theories. True there are some axioms that are entirly true no matter what, but beyond that what is true?
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:iconnamezong:
namezong Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2012
Like what?
Would be happy if it would be so.
but even interpretation o the 10 comandments wary wildly.
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:iconnamezong:
namezong Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
Note also that antitheists like Dawkins and Hichens do not advocate moral relativism, but actualy absolute morality.
Basis for it sadly eludes me in their teachings...
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think Sam Harris tried to make the argument that objective morality could be determined by the scientific method. Then again, this is the same guy who favors Eastern mysticism over Western monotheism, and who believes that torture, racial profiling, and even genocide are justifiable. Not exactly taking his word with a grain of salt.
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:iconearthtalon:
Earthtalon Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Just read that article. Is he serious about the torture part?
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:iconblamethe1st:
BlameThe1st Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I can only imagine.
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