Re: basis for morality

sschaff@MAILBOX.SLAC.Stanford.EDU
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 08:09:01 -0700 (PDT)

> In the area of morals, all of us assume that
> some standards of morality exist even if we explicitly state otherwise (I
> loved Schaeffer's example of Sartre's opposition to the war in Algeria).
> Again, the Christian bases his morality on the revealed nature of the
> infinite personal God. I have yet to see any rational, binding,
> non-theistic, basis for morality. For instance, Hayek's theory that
> morality evolved as human society discovered how best to regulate its
> relationships may be plausible but begs the question as to the authority of
> the resulting moral law over every individual.

Does the Christian view really avoid begging the question? How does
the fact that God is my creator make his law binding morally? Why is
it _right_ to obey God, rather than merely expedient, or necessary,
say? Suppose humans prove able, eventually, to make intelligent,
conscious machines. Should our wishes be morally binding on them?

> On the other hand, the Christian has but one faith commitment to make:
> submission to the infinite, personal, triune God as revealed in the Bible.
> In His nature is found the basis for a complete and consistent worldview.
> Even if we were to concede (and we don't have to) that this single faith
> commitment is a blind "leap" without foundation, are we worse off than the
> non-theist? Is it more rational to make one leap or several? What if it is
> not a blind leap?

I don't think the situation is quite as simple as that. I can find
elements in the Bible that support both my moral beliefs and my
trust in science, but I can also find plenty of elements that run
counter to both. It's not at all clear to me to what extent, in
reality, my moral beliefs are based on my theism. If, for example,
you were convinced that God was directing you to murder a child,
would you do it?

[Unfortunately, I won't be able to read any responses for another
week and a half, since I'm out of the country at the moment.]

Steve Schaffner