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Ethics are Absolute


“That may be true for you, but it is not my truth.” “There are absolutely no absolutes.” How can otherwise intelligent people say such contradictory things? Where did this perversion of thinking originate? Today, mankind knows more facts than ever before, but he cannot, apparently, tell right from wrong. We have access to vast knowledge on the internet and yet have no settled standard for ethics. Mankind has conquered the natural world, untangling its secrets, and utilizes that knowledge to improve physical life for so many, and yet we corrode spiritual life by denying any meaning, purpose, or fulfillment in life. Science has taught us many things but science cannot lead us into all truth. Science cannot tell right from wrong. The white lab coat crowd can teach us what is, but not what ought to be. Science is ethically ignorant.

Once upon a time, there was a general consensus in the Western World. Christianity provided a whole, integrated view of life. Man is body and soul; a physical and spiritual being made in the image of God. We believed, in sum, that God was the creator; that he provided an owner’s manual to human life, and His law provided our ethics. His order gave us meaning, purpose, and direction; that man was made in his image to rule over the created order and to unpack its secrets. Early scientists worked within this framework and were pursuing the wisdom of their creator in all their scientific pursuits. This is known to Christians as the Creation Mandate. (Genesis 1:26-28) Commitment to these basic biblical principles fueled the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions and which has ushered in the Modern world. While early scientist sought after their creator the modern scientists assume an order, structure and purpose that they cannot explain. They borrow from a Christian Worldview, without attribution, in order to do science at all. The daughter has despised her mother. The Western World has rejected the Christian foundation that has given her all of her victories and successes. Secular culture has become so enamored with reason and science that they expected unaided human wisdom to teach us everything, even create a rational foundation for ethics and religion. Modern man is so committed to human reason they even assume that if an idea does not have a scientific basis, or if it could not be defended by reason alone, then it wasn’t true. We had moved from a world at liberty within the bounds of revelation to a much narrower world caged within the bounds of reason. But reason and science cannot explain human life nor even construct a comprehensive, satisfying worldview. Our contemporaries don’t know who they are (male? female?), why they were created, or what is the right thing to do? They have no meaning or purpose. ““Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) Unaided human reason cannot offer us what is right and what is wrong; but only what is - what is testable, repeatable within the lab. Ethics, however, requires a transcendent foundation that reason and science cannot provide.

The Romantic reaction to the Enlightenment caused a disconnect in our thinking. Meaning, value, religion, and ethics were real and necessary to the human condition, but they were not true; they were not scientific. They were not based on reason. Ethics were considered subjective, optional, alterable and for many, unnecessary. Anyone could choose what they wanted to believe in these areas because they were not really true. We divided our minds into two halves; we separated sacred and secular, value and fact, public and private life. Many philosophers and artists accepted and even promoted the compromise in exchange for the continuing existence of religion, ethics, beauty, and love. They just had to concede that religion, meaning, purpose, were not really true. Beauty, virtue, faith were comforting crutches for weak-willed men who could not face the truth that only science could provide. Christianity, although she fueled the victories of the modern world, has become the barely tolerated, woefully misguided, mentally challenged, younger brother and the black sheep of the family. Too many Christians have accepted this divided thinking. (Science is true fact, faith is believing what you think isn’t real). Science is based on truth and is applicable to all, but the Christian faith is based on subjective feelings and is only helpful to some. Yet, Christian truth and its Biblical foundation is true Truth. It is a fact, like taxes! Right will always be right and wrong, wrong, even if many deny it. Ethics do not change because God never changes. What is true, is true for everyone. There are absolutely, absolutes. Therefore let us defend the true truth of Christianity and our creator God as the source of all truth and not be content with the Enlightenment-Romantic compromise.

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