Friday, January 15, 2010

The Poison of Subjectivism

Just like the title reads, Subjectivism is poison to humanity.

One can ask: What’s so bad about subjectivism? Well, subjectivism is a “doctrine that all knowledge is limited to experiences by the self, and that transcendent knowledge is impossible”( Lewis writes that denying the real existence of all things affects the judgment of good and evil, because it believes that judgment is merely something created, conditioned by the community one lives in and not something that exists separately.

This is impossible not only because one cannot be totally subjective anyways since one would have to assume the truthfulness of one’s logic to support the idea that everything is subjective, but because there is always a standard for what’s good. I agree with this statement because it makes total sense. Judging on base of an original criteria is something that comes naturally and no one can help but submit to it.

There are two undeniable facts: one, a human hasn’t got the ability to create a new ‘morality.’ New ethics yes, but not morality. Thus two is that though one cannot come up with a new ‘morality’ one can come up with different ‘ethics’ depending of the culture and time. Ethics can be called a branch out of the morality tree. Depending on the location and the season it sprouts in, it grows differently. It’s the same with cultures. Because each culture values different things over another, they have different ethics. But once one opens the encyclopedia (as Lewis recommends), one is bound to realize that the basic morality is all the same. All cultures despise selfishness, and all hail honor and courage.

Now some say “to tie ourselves to an immutable moral code is to cut off all progress and acquiesce in stagnation.” However, this is not true. “The square on the hypotenuse has not gone moldy by continuing to equal the sum of the squares on the other two sides.” On the contrary, because this rule has remained true for years, it's possible to do more complicated and advanced math. However this doesn't mean that math itself has changed; math has been on the same place the whole time.What has changed, is the amount of one's knowledge of it; this is what one is to call "progress".

Here is the last question, was ‘good’ made by God or God commands us to do ‘good’ because it’s good? This question is bound to not make sense to us. A human being is only able to gather a limited amount of experience and thus this is not a matter one can explain with what one knows. Just like in the book “Flatland” (I have read this funny, logical book), flatlanders who live in a two dimensional space can never imagine from where they are how does a third dimension work or exists. It’s something beyond their comprehension. Thus Lewis gives the only conclusion he was able to make which I too cannot contradict: God is Good and Good is God.

While reading this article and going through it, I noticed that this writing touches many of the same points as “Mere Christianity.” It supports the same idea that there exists an objective moral law, but it adds to that that subjectivism is turning Moral law into nothing more than an idea that was created by humans when it was truly created by God. In the end, Lewis concludes that we must “return to the crude and nursery-like belief in objective values,” or humanity (or civilization) will "perish", since progress would be denied and chaos would reign.


  1. I like your link between math and moral progress. Our knowledge of math and morals is what grows, not math and morals themselves. Also, I like how you tied Mere Christianity to this piece; they do have many parallels, and read together, they build off each other beautifully. Good post!

  2. I agree that there are some aspects of God (such as His goodness) that we will be unable to fully comprehend until we meet Him. I am content with Lewis's conclusion.

  3. Thanks for your blog post, Ae! I am glad that you brought up in your first paragraph how if we look at things subjectively, then judgement becomes a product of our own imagination as do good and evil. If there is not some standard outside of ourselves, then good and evil are different things to different people. We know from the Bible that this is not true.God has revealed to us what is right and what is wrong.