Morality---Moral Values

morality --- Defined 


conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.


virtue in sexual matters; chastity.


a doctrine or system of morals.


moral instruction; a moral lesson, precept, discourse, or utterance.

Morality has three principal meanings.

In its first descriptive usage, morality means a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong, whether by society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience.

In its second, normative and universal sense, morality refers to an ideal code of conduct, one which would be espoused in preference to alternatives by all rational people, under specified conditions. To deny 'morality' in this sense is a position known as moral skepticism.

In its third usage, 'morality' is synonymous with ethics, the systematic philosophical study of the moral domain.


  • by Francis J. Beckwith
  • Summary

  • In moral debate in the United States today, many people resort to moral relativism. They argue that there are no objective moral values which help us to determine what is right or wrong. They claim "everything is relative." In order to defend this position, the relativist puts forth two arguments: (1) Since people and cultures disagree about morality, there are no objective moral values; (2) Moral relativism leads to tolerance of practices we may find different or odd. These two arguments are seriously flawed. In addition, the moral relativist has a difficult time explaining moral progress, moral reformation, and clear-cut cases of moral saints and moral devils.
  • Ethical, moral, and social issues are beginning to dominate the headlines of major newspapers and the front covers of leading magazines. Unfortunately many today seem to assume that rationality and logic have no place in discussions of moral issues, and that there is no way such questions can be answered. Many assume that we are simply stuck with our opinions, and that all opinions are relative having no basis in any objective or unchanging moral values. Should all values and opinions be accorded equal moral weight?
  • In his influential work, The Closing of the American Mind, Professor Allan Bloom makes the observation that "there is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative...The students, of course, cannot defend their opinion. It is something with which they have been indoctrinated."
  • By dogmatically asserting that there is no truth, people have become close-minded to the possibility of knowing truth, if in fact it does exist. Consequently, lurking behind most of the moral rhetoric in America today is moral relativism, the belief that there are no objective moral values that transcend culture or the individual. This is why many people begin or end their moral judgments with qualifying phrases such as, "It is only my personal opinion," "Of course I am not judging anyone's behavior," or "If you think it is all right, that is okay, but I'm personally against it." Although such assertions have their place, we often use them inappropriately. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Death of Truth by Greg Koukl

  • What Professor Bloom observes is not a trend but a revolution. Like most revolutions, it did not start with a rifle shot or a cannon but with an idea that was whispered in many different environments and diverse situations. This revolution started in academia and eventually engulfed the common person. Its growth has been so subtle and thorough that it is now a core belief-not just of the college elite, but also of the rank and file, white collar and blue collar alike.

What Is Truth?

Since the sixties we have been in the throes of this quiet but desperate revolution of thought - the death of truth. We don't mean 'truth' in the sense of something being my personal opinion. Rather we refer to the death of what the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer called 'true truth,' the extinction of the idea that any particular thing can be known for sure.

Today we've lost the confidence that statements of fact can ever be anything more than just opinions; we no longer know that anything is certain beyond our subjective preferences. The word truth now means 'true for me' and nothing more. We have entered an era of dogmatic skepticism.

Ideas that are whispered are seldom analyzed well, for they simply don't draw enough attention. By means of repetition and passive acceptance over time, they take on the force of common wisdom, a 'truth' that everyone knows but no one has stopped to examine, a kind of intellectual urban legend.

Once ideas like these take root, they are difficult to dislodge. Attempts to do so result in Bloom's 'uncomprehending' stares. The ideas become so much a part of our emerging intellectual constitution that we are increasingly incapable of critical self-reflection. Even if we did, we have little conviction that such analysis would do any good anyway. As Kelly Monroe remarked in her book Finding God at Harvard, 'Students feel safer as doubters than as believers, and as perpetual seekers rather than eventual finders.'

When truth dies, all of its subspecies, such as ethics, perish with it. If truth can't be known, then the concept of moral truth becomes incoherent. Ethics become relative, right and wrong matters of individual opinion. This may seem a moral liberty, but it ultimately rings hollow. 'The freedom of our day,' lamented a graduate in a Harvard commencement address, 'is the freedom to devote ourselves to any values we please, on the mere condition that we do not believe them to be true.'

The death of truth in our society has created a moral decay in which 'every debate ends with the barroom question "says who?" ' [5] When we abandon the idea that one set of laws applies to every human being, all that remains is subjective, personal opinion.

Pleasure as Ethics

When morality is reduced to personal tastes, people exchange the moral question, What is good? for the pleasure question, What feels good? They assert their desires and then attempt to rationalize their choices with moral language. In this case, the tail wags the dog. Instead of morality constraining pleasures ('I want to do that, but I really shouldn't'), the pleasures define morality ('I want to do that, and I'm going to find a way to rationalize it'). This effort at ethical decision making is really nothing more than thinly veiled self-interest-pleasure as ethics.

When self-interest rules, it has a profound impact on behavior, especially affecting how we treat other human beings. The notions of human respect and dignity depend on the existence of moral truth. Without it, there is no obligation of self-sacrifice on behalf of others. Instead, we can discard people when they become trouble-some or expensive, or simply when they cramp our lifestyles

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