Who’s to say what is right or wrong? Doesn’t each individual determine right or wrong for him or herself? Who can say that the “morals” of one culture are better or worse than those of another?
Most Americans today are living a unique contradiction. According to recent polls, a vast majority of Americans say they believe in God and are religious, but more than two-thirds say they deny any belief in absolutes. The big question is this: Are there moral standards that are written into the universe?
In C. S. Lewis’ journey of faith, he came to question the idea of moral absolutes. However, his intellectual wrestling bouts with the subject of good and evil, right and wrong, ultimately brought him to the following conclusion; if there were no God, then there would be no solid basis to say that anything was good or evil.
If there is evil, Lewis concluded, there must be a fixed, absolute, infinite, transcendent standard by which we can judge it to be evil. He also took note of how people assume a fixed set of morals in their ordinary interactions in life. Though they might deny any absolute standard, they constantly appeal to a standard of fairness when they say, “Come on, you promised,” “That’s my seat, I was there first.”
Many in today’s generation are easily drawn to an emotional approach to their morality. They put a higher value on being tolerant of others, because they want to be considerate of other people’s feelings. By contrast, many in my generation, and anyone who understands and believes the Bible, places a high value on feeling strongly about what is genuinely right or wrong.
I’ll close with a poem that I wrote years ago, that points out – with childlike simplicity – the Biblical position on moral absolutes.
A question is asked from one to another,
What is your favorite color?
I say red and you say blue,
But which is correct—am I right or you?
Since favorite colors are one’s personal preference,
There’s no right or wrong, just tolerant deference.
Another question is asked to me and to you,
What is the answer to 2 + 2?
You say 3 and I say 4,
But we both can’t be right like the question before.
One of us is wrong—either me or you,
There’s no way out; both can’t be true.
So, am I intolerant if I don’t agree,
With those who believe 2 + 2 = 3?
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Romans 1:18