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Is all Morality Subjective?


[COMMENT: The version below is slightly amended from the original.  For a full defense of my point below, see Ethics Library, Defining 'Oughtness' and 'Love' ]  

To the Editor:

    Steven Goldberg's contention (12/13/04) that all morality is man-made, and therefore subjective, is true only if there is no God. If the cosmos is intelligently designed, (see "Darwin on Trial" by Phillip Johnson), then there is a purpose for existence.  It is the intentional purpose of the creator which makes the cosmos "designed" at all, which is, of course, the meaning of "intelligently".  If there is no creator, then the cosmos will have to evolve out of some primordial "stuff", a process which is necessarily purposeless, blind, and ruled by sheer chance. As in random selection.

    A purpose of a creator, however, is objective with respect to us creatures, it is there whether or not we believe it or like it.  So it does not fit Goldberg's description of being man-made.  Only the Biblical worldview makes that claim of a personal God with a purpose for existence.  No pagan or secular worldview does or can.

    All people have values, purposes, intentions of their own. But our personal, private purposes and values do not make a morality. The cacophony of competing values systems (perhaps as many as there are persons) is the problem, not the solution. A morality is that which mediates between the conflicting values, as a judge in a competition or a trial. Morality stands over those obligated by the moral principles. Obligation is what creates morality, and obligation by logical necessity stands over persons, and so cannot be their creature.

    There are many secular and pagan people who have exhibited a marvelous moral sense. But they live in a cosmos (or think they do) which is incapable of explaining the source of that moral sense. Only a cosmos created by an intelligent designer is capable of explaining our sense of moral obligation. We all (or, at least, most of us) are looking for some purpose to our existence. To find that, you logically have to ask the creator of that existence. Only He would know.

Yours truly, Earle Fox

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