crg wrote:Then again who is to say that Joy is the standard. Maybe it is pain and suffering that is good.
Non one says that joy is the standard. For "joy" and "pain" are not standards. They are experiences—the former pleasant and the latter unpleasant. However, standards of morality are related to joy and pain.
Steve wrote:When it comes to issues of morality, subjectivity is inappropriate. ... that which is morally "right" is objectively right.
I fully agree with these two assertions.
There are three forms of objectivism, all of which hold to objective morality—absolutism, agapism, and hierarchalism.
1. Proponents of absolutism hold that if an action is morally wrong, it is always wrong in every context. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church, who was my friend in first-year Bible school in 1959-60, holds to absolutism, and has written a book on the subject. In the book he deals with moral dilemmas. Is it right to lie to save a life? Lutzer says, "No. It is always wrong to lie." If one lies to save a life, he needs to ask God's forgiveness for lying. If he choses not to lie and allows the person to be killed, then he needs to ask God's forgiveness for having done that
. Thus where there is moral conflict, whatever one chooses to do, he is sinning.
On the contrary, I affirm that in every situation, there is always a morally right choice that one can make.
2. Proponents of agapism make love the standard for determining the morally right thing to do. This would be a good standard if it could always be determined what the loving thing is. But this is not always clear. Pastor Joe Bloe may think the loving thing for Jane Shane to do is to leave her husband so that she can live a happier life. But in fact this may not be the loving thing for her to do at all. Rather the loving thing might be for her and her husband to seek reconciliation, perhaps through counselling.
3. Proponents of hierarchalism say that all moral acts can be arranged in a hierarchy where in which some acts take precedence over others. This is the position taken by Norman Geisler. I, myself, subscribe to it.
For example, the moral imperative to save a life takes precedence over the moral imperative to refrain from lying.
Therefore, it is right to lie in order to save a life. Lying is not necessarily making a false statement. Even if a statement is true, but is given in such a way that those who hear it are deceived, it is a lie.
For example, Corrie Ten Boom, having been confronted by Nazis, was asked where she was hiding the Jews. She replied, "Under the table." The Nazis thought she was being sarcastic, but in fact the Jews were literally under the table (in the cellar). Corrie deceived the Nazis in order to save the lives of those whom she was hiding, and in deceiving them, she did the morally right thing.
Menno Simons while driving horses drawing an enclosed carriage that held passengers, was stopped by men who wished to kill him. But they didn't know him by sight. They asked him, "Is Menno Simons in this carriage?" Menno hollered down to the people below, "Is Menno Simons down there?" — silence. Then Menno turned to the men and said, "There's no Menno Simons down there."
Menno Simons deceived those men and thereby saved his own life. He did the morally right thing.