Looking for a new moral code

Barna has released a fascinating study on Americans’ moral beliefs. Eighty percent are worried about the nation’s moral condition, and yet there is little consensus about what morality is and how we can know the difference between right and wrong.

A majority believe that this knowledge is a matter of personal experience.  Three-quarters of Millennials believe “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know.” (I don’t understand how you can get from experience or “what works” to moral truth, given the difference between what “is” and what “ought to be.”  And how do you know “whatever is right for your life”?  Isn’t that the question we are trying to figure out?)  [Read more…]

“Evil” is back

In our postmodern times, morality is supposed to be relative.  To speak of “good” and “evil” is to be absolutist and retrograde.  But now the atrocities of the Islamic State/ISIS have people recognizing evil once again. [Read more…]

Even secular humanism depends on Christianity

Theo Hobson, in the British Spectator, critiques the New Atheist insistence that we can have morality–indeed, a better morality–apart from religion.  In doing so, he shows that even today’s secular humanist morality, which the atheists take as axiomatic, actually derives from Christianity.

A truly atheist, Darwinistic morality would look more like Nietzsche’s nihilistic will to power.  In contrast, today’s egalitarian benevolence would be impossible without the Christian teachings of creation and grace.  [Read more…]

Morality and economics

Economist Steven Pearlstein has published an article in the Washington Post entitled “Is capitalism moral?”  It’s balanced and nuanced, giving the views of both conservative apologists for capitalism and its liberal critics.  I’ll give you a sampling after the jump and then raise some additional issues of my own. [Read more…]

The fate of moral issues

The Republicans did not make a big deal of  moral or “cultural” issues during the last election.  Little was said about abortion.  Conservatives were well-behaved when it came to gay marriage.  Unlike previous elections, Republicans–including social conservatives who care a great deal about these issues–pretty much left them alone.

But the Democrats, in contrast, did run on moral and cultural issues.  They attacked conservatives for opposing abortion and gay marriage.  They went further, scaring the general public that the Republicans would outlaw birth control and enslave women.

And the Democrats won on these issues.  Their take on moral and social issues was, in fact, very important.  Single women voted overwhelmingly for Obama, largely, according to the exit polls, because of “women’s issues.”  Clumsy and unsophisticated treatment of the “rape exception” for abortion on the part of two pro-life candidates cost arguably cost Republicans the Senate.

So we have reached the point at which conservative moral issues are political losers and liberal moral issues–gay marriage, abortion on demand–are political winners.

So what now for social conservatives?

What Americans think is right and wrong

A Gallup poll surveyed what Americans find morally acceptable and unacceptable.  From The Atlantic:

What do we learn from this?

I’ll start:  Pornography comes out as worse than abortion, sex outside of marriage, and the death penalty.  Nearly two out of three Americans consider pornography to be immoral?  So how come that’s such a profitable industry?   Contrary to Plato, to know the good is not the same as to do the good.  That is, immorality is not due to ignorance that something is immoral, nor to a belief that the bad behavior is actually good.  Furthermore, we have fallen so far that sometimes our knowledge that something is immoral can make it more desirable and, perversely, more pleasurable.  C. S. Lewis writes about the “tang” of transgression.  (Lord, have mercy!)

What else?

HT:  Matthew Cantirino