Sunday, July 29, 2007

No Ultimate Morality

Yesterday, I pointed out that scientific naturalism and postmodernism begin with very different epistemologies (or views of what we can know and how we know). Indeed (I argued), the latter is in some ways a reaction against the former. Nonetheless, these two worldviews are very similar with regard to morality, as both end up undermining or denying the traditional view--held throughout most of Western history--that there exists an ultimate morality that is the same for all humans.

I will spend several posts describing (and demonstrating what is wrong with) three different types of moral relativism associated with postmodernism. For now, though, let me just state that scientific naturalism likewise leads to a denial of morality.

Let me be clear here--I am not saying that atheists or materialists cannot be or are not people with high moral standards and behaviors. Many can and are. My simple point is that if there is no God--no transcendent Lawgiver--then there is no ultimate logical foundation for ascribing to any moral values. If--as on the materialist view--humans are the accidental result of purposeless evolution, then no good rational justification exists for discussing (much less enforcing) any particular moral viewpoint.

This, of course, is just one of the many lines of evidence that can be brought to bear to show that naturalism is an inaccurate depiction of reality. We all have moral intuitions--beliefs and thoughts about right and wrong, about how things ought to be--that are so foundational to who we are that we hardly even think about them. I'll develop this argument more as we examine the brands of moral relativism brought to us by postmodern thought, but when I do, try to keep in mind that that argument cuts equally against the claims of scientific materialism. The traditional "moral argument" remains powerful evidence for the existence of a transcendent God, as I will hope to demonstrate in the next week or two.

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