Subjective Morality and the Necessity of Disobedience

In regards to the issue of morality, it has been clearly demonstrated throughout human history that without God objective morality cannot exist. This is typically accepted by new Atheists, and often times they are comfortable believing, not only in subjective morality, but in majority morality.

There are really two positions that can be attempted to espouse without God:

1) Morality is innate

2) Morality is determined by society.

Many Christians have defended against these claims with great effectiveness. I can write the responses to these, but I wouldn’t be saying anything new. I would like to offer a point in regards to the second claim that I think is new.

If morality is subjectively determined by societies, then disobedience to the moral establishment, by nature, must be acceptable. In other words, disobedience must be objectively acceptable to all subjective societies. Allow me to elaborate.

If societies can determine morality, then that means societies can change morality.

Here is the fundamental question: how could we possibly identify the difference between moral disobedience and moral evolution?

Disobedience could be interpreted as rebellion or revolution.

There was a glorious puritanical day in this land where many of the things our culture largely finds good would be have been found repugnant. That means, the people of the United States have “changed” their popular opinions. You can claim they are separate cultures, but they became a new culture through their disobedience. That’s the point. The question remains, why is our society not still Puritanical if they determined the rules? People have changed and their moral code changed with them.

That’s the point.

Somewhere along the line, someone disobeyed the Puritans rules. Today, more and more people are constantly disobeying those rules. Morality has “changed”.

In order to believe that society can dictate morality, then society must be able to change it’s opinions. Thus, when someone “disobeys” they are simultaneously “evolving”. Morality then cannot “evolve” without disobedience, which means disobedience isn’t disobedience at all.

If morality is subject to society, there is no possible way it can be disobeyed. It can only be evolved. That means no society can consistently punish anyone who would disobey the established morality since that principle will eventually be needed to change morality when circumstances change.

You might claim someone is breaking the moral rules, when perhaps they are just ahead of the curb.

In order for a society to change morality, some people have to start disagreeing with the established rule. Now if anyone disagrees with my assessment, then they need to answer why they are not still subjecting themselves to the Puritans who were the first people to “establish subjective societal morality”.

Our culture is right now doing one of two things:

1) Celebrating a breaking from an older societal moral code


2) Constantly disobeying the older established moral code.

Either way, if morality is subjective, there can be, of necessity, no consistent issue with breaking whatever is established. It has to change somehow, right?

Now to claim that disobedience cannot be considered immoral, is appealing to an objective moral principle. Thus, even “subjective morality” is still borrowing from objective morality. Which means it’s self-refuting.

Morality is not subjective; that’s a logical impossibility, and no one actually lives that way.

2 thoughts on “Subjective Morality and the Necessity of Disobedience

  1. Reminds me of the virtue of acceptance. So quick for people to find contentment in the ideas that are widely accepted around them.

    “Disobedience could be interpreted as rebellion or revolution”. Gold.


  2. Interesting. While I'm a believer and believe morality is from God, I think it's hard to argue that culture and cultural context has NO influence on morality. The Bible gives clear instructions about being a good slave owner. I don't think anybody today agrees with human trafficking – even if one follows the Biblical instructions for slave ownership.

    I've heard many people say that the Apostle Paul's strict instructions to women were “very respectful of women considering the time they in which they were written.”

    I think it's possible to have absolute Truth as well as cultural context…..the more I read, learn, think, pray, etc the more I realize all of that gray area that exists.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s