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Can We Find An Objective Moral Truth?

“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me.”

-Jesus Christ

These words summarize much of how we understand ethics and virtue in our world, and where they’re derived from. But it may be hard to see that at first glance. Jesus became the most perfect expression of what that means to live an ethical life. But, the assertion that a particular “Way” or ethical code was superior is not unique.

Jesus was not the only person to offer a “Way.” Many before and after Him have. But, why is this particular statement so striking and Jesus’ Way so appealing? To know this we must look at the other attempts to create a path of purpose, where they come from, and where they fall short.

The sages and philosophers for ages sought truth and the understanding of the cosmos. They also would seek the answers to moral questions in the same way. Because we are limited in understanding in our human nature, we were unable to attain the whole truth. We had to create a way of journeying toward truth that offered guidance and bulwarks against mistakes and missteps.

Principles would be defined as guardrails to guide those seeking truth about the world we observe or the moral world. Then, a discussion could ensue to weigh different virtues in given circumstances to create a moral code. Debate, asceticism, mysticism, stoicism, and many other methods were put forward in an attempt to seek truth. Each offers some value, and some more than others, but each fell short of the aim to understand all truth, Truth itself.

Each instance of good fell short of perfect. And the fact that there is a “good” points to the existence of a perfect, since something is good inasmuch as it shares something with perfection. So, a way must exist that is perfect. This will be an exploration of the different “ways,” where they’re good and the downfalls they have in search of a perfect “way.”

Before we can discuss the many ways of ethical being, we must discuss the source of being and the nature of being itself. No one in their right mind would attempt to offer medical advice before understanding all that medicine, anatomy, physiology, etc. and an in-depth knowledge of the patient’s history. Only when they know the background and the particular situation can they give sound advice.

Likewise, in order to understand the moral world, we must understand the world from which they come. We must understand the created order, examining it and how it’s laid out, so we may find the means by which we can assess the moral world. 

By examining the cosmos, we come to know truths about the world we live in. By knowing truth, we are able to use it and apply it to our daily lives. The application of moral principles is ethics, and the “ways” are the ethical codes of conduct and standards brought forth from an understanding of the cosmos that provides certain truths.

Thus, we must begin by looking at the world around us with fresh eyes and an open mind, uncovering the truths it provides to find the proper way. Only when we acknowledge there is objective truth and seek it honestly, will we find what we are looking for.

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235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly Conversation of Our Generation

According to Wikipedia, Naturalism is "the idea or belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual ones) operate in the universe. Adherents of naturalism assert that natural laws are the only rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural world, and that the changing universe is at every stage a product of these laws." In this episode, I'll take a look at some of the good points and valid concerns of Naturalism. Then, I'll discuss how it falls short, and what corrections it needs. Valid Concerns and Good Points One of the good points of naturalists is that we can attribute most things to natural laws and forces. Every little thing that happens doesn't have to be a supernatural intervention. And, we know it isn't random due to the consistency of events. There is a time in pagan cultures when everything was attributed to the supernatural. Even in the Judeo-Christian world much of the natural order was attributed to angel's intervention. I don't begin to say that I know how Heaven governs this world and it's laws. But it appears to me that there are natural laws and that God created the world with a discoverable order. When looking into that order, it is good to work within it's bounds, which is why we have science. Errors of Naturalism The cause of why I burn my tongue on hot coffee or the sun rises everyday can be naturally accounted for. But, the fact that all these beings exist as well as the laws that govern them, none of which fully account for the existence of the universe, has to have some other explanation. Naturalism cannot account for that. Instead, it seeks for a self-explaining cause that's within the natural order. Furthermore, there are well-attested events that do not fit into the natural world. Inexplicable miracles are one. But, there are phenomena like love and beauty that we do experience. However, the naturalist cannot explain these fully by neurons and brain chemistry. We need a deeper, spiritual explanation if we want to cohere with our universal experience. Corrections There is one major correction a naturalist needs to incorporate all truth into his worldview. That is a recognition of the spiritual. Miracles, religious experiences, emotions, and beauty aren't simply natural phenomena. Rather, they are true experiences of something outside of the natural order. To see this in art, read The Soul of the World, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, or Tolkien's Lord of the Rings to see how this plays out. They demonstrate that there is more to this world than the naturalist can explain. And, they do it both with philosophy and story-telling. Related Episodes in this Series What is Objective Reality? What is Subjective Reality? Unity of Subject and Object The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 235. Naturalism & The Human Person | The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
  2. 234. The Golden Mean for Understanding Objective and Subjective Reality
  3. 233. Is Patriotism Good? | Reflections on the 4th of July
  4. 232. Unity of Subject and Object
  5. 231. What is Subjective Reality?

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