The differences in moral rules from culture to culture are raised to argue that it is not absolute.
"So you see, the existence of evil can be seen as a function of the mind rather than an absolute. Clearly what is 'evil' for one culture may be 'good' for another and vice versa."
keeps this site and its author alive.
You argue that what is evil in one culture might be good in another. It is certainly true that moral codes vary in their detail. However, it is also peculiarly the case that every culture has a moral code, and that these codes address most of the same issues in very similar ways. Our concepts of justice and equity, of that which is good or evil, is more consistent than not. Not all cultures are monogamous; some cultures do not recognize a connection between sex and procreation. Yet no culture permits unbridled promiscuity. The terms under which someone might kill another human being also vary from society to society, but every society recognizes murder as a crime. Concepts of property have been very different over the ages, but wherever there is property, there are rules against theft. No, we have a universal concept of justice, of good; it is expressed in specific details which vary from culture to culture, from age to age, in response to the particulars of the time and place.
C. S. Lewis presents this in more detail in his excellent book Mere Christianity, and in a slightly different format in Miracles: A Preliminary Study. I recommend both as part of the central corpus of twentieth-century Christian literature. No consideration of these questions is complete without reference to them.
Back to the previous answer
Back to the full letter text
On to the next answer
Back to the letters index
To Mark J. Young's Bible Study Materials
Read about the Multiverser role playing game--accused by some critics of being "too Christian".
|Books by the Author|