Worldviews - Part 5
This is a six part series on worldviews by guest blogger Frank Allan.
The windows through which we interpret the meaning of our lives
Part 5. What is the Basis of Morality?
What many secularists do not address is the problem of establishing law and order independent of an objective morally. James Bryce, a British ambassador to the United States in the early twentieth century, in his book, The American Commonwealth, stated that “Christianity is in fact understood to be, though not legally the established religion, yet the national religion.” He was “startled by the thought of what might befall this huge but delicate fabric of laws and commerce and social institutions were the foundation it had rested on to crumble away.” Will and Ariel Durant also questioned the survival of a civilization cut from a religious moral base. “There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.” Western civilization cut off from its Christian roots is a “cut flower” civilization, with only a memory of the moral foundation on which it was built. John Locke in A letter Concerning Toleration similarly stated: “The taking away of God, but though even in thought, dissolves all.” The French philosopher Ernest Renan also expressed that “religion is necessary. The day when it disappears the very heart of humanity will dry up.” Voltaire, as an atheist, wanted a moral base for the structure of society. In, Letter to the Author of Three Imposters, he states, “if God did not exist, one would have to invent him. I want my attorney, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, and I think I shall be then robbed and cuckolded lest often.” Obviously, the secular worldview will not sustain a civilization in Voltaire’s mind.
People leaving the church and the moral teaching of the Bible in Sunday Schools across the country has left a vacuum of moral direction. As people forsake the biblical roots of our society there is no benchmark of right or wrong, there is no court of appeal. People are doing what is right in their own eyes. Autonomy reigns supreme and politically correct teaching from the media and the governing elites becomes the shifting moral centre of the majority worldview.
Many are defining what is what is right or wrong in their own terms with no appeal to any objective truth outside themselves. Morality is a personal choice that is entirely a matter of individual decision. They believe that their morality is a matter of personal taste and cannot be known but by how they internally feel. Truth then becomes a matter of what the majority take it to be.