Moral Law

An actual picture of me pondering stuff.

I recently got into a brief discussion with Citizen Tom about moral law. Tom then wrote a post about ignorance of the moral law, which got me wondering. Is there one true moral law, or is this a more fluid situation, dependent upon varying religious and cultural circumstances?

Tom quoted Merriam-Webster regarding moral law, which asserts as an example God’s will (without stating which version of which religion this moral law is supposed to be derived from, though I am guessing Tom assumes his version of Christianity).

Tom also asserted in a new post the following:

Do we live in an increasingly ignorant society? We have the Internet. We have lots of knowledge, but do we have the wisdom and understanding to make proper use of the knowledge we have? Do we even understand the value of knowledge? That is, of what use is knowledge if we don’t know what to do with it?

Consider that in HAVE YOU HAD YOUR EPIPHANY? two commenters had no real use for the concepts of sin and guilt. One floundered about, effectively unwilling to deal with the subjects of sin and guilt. The other denied that sin and guilt had any relevance. Both insisted that sin is a religious concept. Neither commenter appreciated the significance of the moral law. To commit a sin, one must violate the Law or the moral law.

He seems he has leapt to a conclusion about me. I’m assuming he refers to me as the person who denied sin and guilt have any relevance. I deny the concept of sin, which is arbitrary, but that is not to say I deny the relevance of guilt. I merely have differing opinions on what I should feel guilty about. For example, I have no guilt whatsoever about supporting abortion. I believe in the fundamental right to choose, and I believe it’s abhorrent that conservatives in the USA are doing their worst to roll back women’s rights. I have no guilt in stating this. I suspect Tom would be against abortion, and would define it as murder, and he would expect those involved to feel guilty, in accordance to an absolute moral law as ordained by Christianity.

I feel no guilt about supporting LGBT rights. I do not believe that religious interference should deny same-sex couples the right to marry, among other things. I do not consider it a sin for two people of the same sex to be in a relationship, and I consider the Biblical destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to be an awful, senseless act of destruction. I feel no guilt in making a declaration like this. My conscience is clear on the subject.

Does this make me immoral? In the eyes of some Christians, perhaps, but from the viewpoint of some all-encompassing moral law?

I believe laws that would discriminate against women, the LGBT community and ethnic minorities are immoral. Conservatives have been trying to pass laws banning books containing anything they do not like, under the guise of morality, when in fact it is simply bigotry that leads them to even trying to ban dictionaries. Are they truly acting in a moral fashion when they try to curtail freedom of speech? Are they not indulging in the very behaviour that Tom and others would have us believe Democrats indulge in? Conservatives are constantly trying to interfere in the rights of others, under the guise of religious freedom, which brings me to an interesting list Tom put together on his epiphany post:

Are there Non-Christians who are humble enough to realize they have no business running the lives of others? Yes.

Are there Non-Christians who believe in defending the rights of others to pursue their own definition of happiness because humility demands it? Yes.

Are there Non-Christians who refuse to worship idols and worship God because humility demands submission to the One who created us? Yes.

Let’s flip this around. Are there Christians humble enough to realise they have no business interfering in the lives of others? Perhaps, but the ones who are involved in government invoke their standards of morality to interfere with others on a regular basis. Hence the laws regarding birth control that are coming under increasing attack from the conservative right. This kind of interference with women’s bodily autonomy does not strike me as respectful of individual rights. Is it moral to interfere with people like this? Where does this fit into moral law? As a side question, where does this fit with the Declaration of Independence, and its famous saying about the right to life, liberty, and happiness? We’ve already established that some Christians wish to break down the barriers separating Church and State, where does that fit in with running the lives of others? Where does book-banning fit in with that, where does the assault from Republicans on LGBT rights fit in with that?

Conservative religious groups might argue they have the moral high ground on these issues, but do they? If you believe in God, then you obviously would argue yes, but the assumption of an absolute moral law is entirely that: an assumption. A moral law that lets you interfere with others, deny people their freedoms, and ignore their rights, is that truly moral?

Maybe I’m mangling all of this, and mangling what Tom has said. I’ll be honest, I’m spit-balling my own thoughts and views. I’m probably overlapping different subjects. The separation of Church and State, does it cross over with moral law? Does the idea of a moral law cross over to subjects like book-burning and religious interference with non-religious people?

Perhaps those can be questions to feed another post at another time.

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