Estasblishing common ground on the existence of morality.

In my last post, I asked the following question:

Are our current [cultural] debates over same sex marriage and abortion and religion in schools just a part of the evolution of our species, or are there real, moral absolute issues at hand?

There will be very few people, even the atheistic humanist, that will say that these issues are just about evolution of the human race.  Our experiences as people tell us that there are some things that are just right and others that are just wrong.  And those moral laws apply to all people at all times in all cultures throughout history.  The social issues I listed in the question above are debated because everyone engaged believes their position to be the right one.

With these topics making the headlines and trending on social media so often, moral debates give excellent opportunity for Christians to engage the people around them.  And starting the discussion is straightforward.  Begin by simply asking someone what they think of the latest news story or poll.  Most people, particularly those that you have some level of relationship with, will likely be happy to share with you.

After they have stated their thoughts, you can ask questions to allow them to expand on the topic.  If you choose to go further into the conversation, you can quickly determine whether someone believes in moral absolutes by asking a few simple questions and evaluating their response.

When is it OK for someone to…

  • torture dogs for fun?
  • stop a toddler from running into a busy highway?
  • rape a drunk college girl?
  • murder millions because of their race?

Never and always are absolute statements.  And if any of the questions are answered with never or always, the person believes in moral absolutes.

But do questions of marriage or abortion or religion in school involve moral absolutes?

  • Should consenting adults always be allowed to marry someone of the same gender?
  • Should a woman always be allowed to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?
  • Should a public school never select a textbook that explains that the world was created rather than evolved?

The person you are talking to will let you know whether they really believe in moral absolutes or not by the way they answer these questions.  In my experience, everyone I have spoken with believes that there are moral absolutes in at least some areas of life.

When someone acknowledges that moral absolutes do exist, the Christian has established common ground with them.  It is from this common ground that we can then move forward, addressing how moral absolutes are established and how we can know what those are.

How do you get people to discuss hotly debated topics like abortion and same sex marriage? 

Do you find people want to talk about these topics? 


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