Morals – Absolute or Not?
@GRIMACHU from Twitter says that morals are subjective (not absolute) and that we live within secular morality. Going on to say that the Bible has contractions in Luke 16:17 and Matthew 5:18-19 which undermines 'absolute morality' said to be within the Bible thus it retains the entire, vicious Old Testament laws as being binding today.
I have to admit that many people in today’s secular society state that society follows secular objective (not absolute) morality meaning that it is based upon opinions of individuals and of a ruling society, morals seem to shift from position to position dependent upon varying circumstances. To these people saying that, I say that they have not sat down and actually thought about what subjective morality really is.
Objective (not absolute) secular morality is not the case if one were to absolutely look at the morality that is within each of our God given nature. If we look at the morality within each of our nature, we each absolutely know instinctively right from wrong and good from evil although be it that we do not always choose to adhere to what we know to be right and good. We know instinctively right from wrong and good from evil because we ourselves each do not want to be raped, murdered, lied to, cheated on (adultery), or wronged in any way. None of us need to be told by a community standard that we don’t want to be raped, murdered, lied to, cheated on (adultery), or wronged in any way because we absolutely know beyond doubt we do not want these things to happen to us. From our each knowing instinctively that we do not want these things to happen to us, we therefore absolutely know that these things are wrong and evil to do to others thus within each of us we have and know absolute moral standards which we each should follow.
@GRIMACHU tweeted; “You can't really create an absolute [morality] though, conditions are too changeable. Any moral system is subjective. The best we could hope for is objectivity in human context.” This is absolute hogwash because as we each know instinctively right from wrong and good from evil because we ourselves each do not want to be raped, murdered, lied to, cheated on (adultery), or wronged in any way therefore we know within us an absolute moral standard which we should follow.
If @GRIMACHU was right in that every moral system is subjective and that we cannot have absolute moral standards because conditions are too changeable, then at any time subjective morals of a society could not only consider rape, murder, adultery, larceny, infanticide, etc. as morally okay but could actually put them into action as moral standards of law. Here are examples of subjective morals that were actually put into action: Remember Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and others like them who starved and eradicated certain people groups, took their belongings and called it good for society. Many people in their society went along with it as though what was going on was a moral thing to do because their leader said it was okay and commanded it even though those people groups who were being starved and eradicated had done nothing deserving to be starved and eradicated.
Now think about if Stalin, Mao, Hitler, etc., had not been stopped and could not be stopped and had continued to starve and eradicate certain people groups and taking their things. Would Stalin, Mao, Hitler, etc. being in control of society, making moral laws saying that it was good to starve and eliminate certain people groups and take their belongings, really make it moral? Of course not because absolutely we know morally that it is morally wrong to starve and eliminate people groups and take anyone’s belongings because we each do not want our people groups to be starved and eliminated and our things taken.
If morals were subjective then there was nothing wrong or evil with what Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and others like them did (or do) because it was done by Stalin, Mao, and Hitler objectively in human context to those who were not being eliminated as helpful to their society. Yet we (you and me) know absolutely beyond doubt that what they did was wrong and evil because morals are not subjective to human context, clear-cut absolute morals are unquestionably known to us because instinctively we know right from wrong and good from evil because we ourselves each do not want to be raped, murdered, lied to, cheated on (adultery), or wronged in any way.
Morals; In the Bible
GRIMACHU tweeted that, “We're the ones who decide, the only common standard is community standard.” As we’ve learned, if the only common standard is a community standard moral, then we’d be open to having rape, murder, adultery, lying, larceny, etc., as acceptable morals because some people who gain control of communities and countries, Mao, Stalin, Hitler for example, impose their subjective morals to which we know are not real morals because morals are not subjective, morals are absolutely known to us because instinctively we know right from wrong and good from evil because we ourselves each do not want to be raped, murdered, lied to, cheated on (adultery), wronged in any way, etc.
I’ve had many atheists make statements to me such as, “You have to have God tell you to not rape and murder so that you don’t rape and murder.” Yes, God put knowledge of absolute moral standards into each of us so that we instinctively know right from wrong and good from evil by our not wanting to be raped, murdered, lied to, cheated on (adultery), wronged in any way, etc. God also gave to us the Ten Commandments which He originally wrote in stone.
Laws In the Bible’s Old Testament
@GRIMACHU tweeted that the Bible has contraction which undermines 'absolute morality' said to be taught within Luke 16:17 and Matthew 5:18-19 that is said to back up and retain the entire, vicious Old Testament laws as being morally binding today. Let’s look over what is in the Old Testament and who it was written for and then go into the New Testament and see what is in it and to whom it was written.
In the book of Exodus 19:1—40:38, God is giving the law to the Israelites, including tabernacle instructions and construction details, and what happens when the law is broken. God’s law system is described in three parts within the book of Exodus. The first part, the Ten Commandments contain the absolutes of spiritual and moral life. The second part was the civil law which gave the Israelites rules to manage their lives. Thirdly, the ceremonial law described patterns for Israelites to build a tabernacle and regular worship. God revealed His law to the Israelites so that they could learn more about what God is like and how He expected them to live as His people.
The book of Leviticus defines instructions for the priests and Levites outlining their duties in worshiping a holy God and a guidebook of holy living for the Hebrews. Leviticus 1:1—17:16 are instructions for the offerings, instructions for priests, instructions for the people, and instructions for the altar which all are for worshiping a holy God. Leviticus 18:1—27:34 define living a holy life and has standards for the people, rules for priests, descriptions of seasons and festivals and receiving God’s blessing. In Leviticus, God gave clear standards to the Israelites for how to live a holy life, separate and distinct from pagan nations around them.
The book of Deuteronomy was written to the new Israel generation about to enter into the Promised Land for daily living guidelines and civil laws. In Deuteronomy, God reviewed His laws for the people and the legal contract between God and His people had to be renewed by the new generation of Israelites about to enter the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 4:44—28:68 go over again the Ten Commandments and is God reminding His people that in order to ratify His agreement, they must choose the path of obedience and follow the daily living guidelines given to them.
Laws given during those Old Testament times are as laws given today which means, there are consequences to choice we make or do not make but should have made. It is vital for you and me to actually think before we act today so to not break the law and back then, it was no different. In fact, if the people who were given the Ten Commandments could have actually kept the Ten Commandments, there would have been no reason for any further rules and laws. It’s the same with us today. If each one of us could actually not break the Ten Commandments, there would not be any need for new laws. But the people back then make poor choices just as you and I today make poor choices and as such, we have more and more complex laws.
(Read this article to learn more about some of the most graphic Old Testament laws: http://findingtruthtoday.typepad.com/finding-truth-today/2010/12/barbarous-rules-from-a-loving-god.html)
Laws In the Bible’s New Testament
As a follower of Christ Jesus, both the Old Testament and the New Testament make up the Holy Bible. The Old Testament isn’t called “The Old Testament” by Jewish people yet it is the same writings in both only a slight different order of books. Jewish people do not consider the New Testament as holy scripture. Only people who follow Christ Jesus consider the New Testament as holy and as the Word of God. The reason for this is that Jewish people do not accept Christ Jesus as the Messiah. Many Jewish people are still waiting on the Messiah to arrive however, people who used to be Jewish at the time Christ Jesus was walking in human flesh, saw the miracles Jesus performed and saw Him die, and then saw Him after He rose from death which fulfilled the Jewish holy scriptures (today’s Old Testament) prophecies about the Messiah. These previously Jewish people wrote the scriptures which became the New Testament.
People who actually follow Christ Jesus are true Christians (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16) and take the whole bible, Old Testament and New Testament as God’s word and as absolute truth and read it all in context.
Christ Jesus as stated in Matthew 5:17-20, said the following concerning the Law and Prophets;
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus then goes on and gives a list of the commandments He is discussing:
Murder – Matthew 5:25,26 — Luke 12:58,59
Adultery – Matthew 5:27-30
Divorce – Matthew 5:31-32 – Luke 16:16-18
Keeping One’s Word – Matthew 5:33-37
Turning the other Cheek – Matthew 5:38-42
Love your Enemies – Matthew 5:43-48
Giving to the Needy – Matthew 6:1-4
Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13pp — Luke 11:2-4
So if Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law, doesn’t that mean that all of the Old Testament laws still apply to us today? Those who do not read the Bible in context say, “Yes, it does mean that the Old Testament laws apply to those who say that the Bible is God’s never changing word and those who say it doesn’t are ‘cherry picking’ what they want the Bible to say because they don’t want to abide by those laws.” Reading the Bible in context however, we learn that there were three categories of law given to the Israelites by God; ceremonial law, civil law, moral law.
The ceremonial law related specifically to Israel worshiping God as described in Leviticus which points forward to the Messiah to come – Christ Jesus. These laws became nullified and no longer necessary after Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection. While we are now not bound to ceremonial laws, the principles behind each of them (to worship and love a holy God) still apply. The Pharisees often accused Jesus as not following and breaking ceremonial laws.
The civil law like Deuteronomy 24:10 for example, applied to daily living in Israel. Today’s society and culture is very radically different than back then and trying to follow civil guidelines of that era today, couldn’t specifically be something we could always do. Jesus actually demonstrated the principles of the civil law.
Moral law (The Ten Commandments in Exodus) is a direct command of God which requires strict obedience; i.e., Exodus 20:13. Moral law reveals the nature and will of God for us to follow and does still apply to us today. Jesus completely obeyed the moral law and teaches them to us in Matthew chapters 5 through 7.
Clearly @GRIMACHU has not read the Bible in context or is only taking someone’s word for contradictions being in it because as we see, there are none with regard to absolute morals we should follow; those taught to us by Jesus in the New Testament. The absolute moral standards given to us in the Bible cover each of the
The Gospel (Good News)
With ceremonial law not applicable due to Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection, civil law being given specifically for the Israelites to follow, it leaves only moral law which we all should follow. This is good news that we don’t have to follow the ceremonial and civil law of that time. However, the Ten Commandments are something that no one can fully follow because you and I are not perfect. Being imperfect, we cannot at each moment of the day for every day of our life totally follow each and every moral law given to us by Jesus.
Because you and I are not perfect and thus cannot completely obey the Ten Commandments, Jesus came and fulfilled them in full for us (Matthew 5:17-20). This is the Gospel of Christ Jesus, that He came and perfectly followed the Law for you and me. You see, God knew you and I couldn’t follow the Ten Commandments so He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to do it for us (John 3:16-21). We each only have to accept that Christ Jesus did this for us and admit that we cannot do this on our own.
It is your choice to make to read the Bible in context. It is your choice to make if you want to know truth. It is your choice to make if you want to not just take my word for truth and do your own seeking for truth. I suggest that you not take my word for anything that I’ve said. It is your life, why should you believe me? I don’t know everything.
“Life Application Study Bible” New International Version (NIV), Zondervan
Bible Study Tools:
From where do Morals come? http://findingtruthtoday.typepad.com/finding-truth-today/2011/01/from-where-do-morals-come.html
You are mistaken. I suggest that you take some reading comprehension courses and go back and read the article and Bible again.
“Let’s look over what is in the Old Testament and who it was written for and then go into the New Testament and see what is in it and to whom it was written.”
Oh look, you yourself admit that morality is subjective and conditional.