Subjectivity and Objectivity in Moral Behavior

God has given us all the same human nature, something all human beings have in common. However, he made each human being a unique person.

 

Man’s uniqueness is rooted in the fact that all personal behavior is rooted in the subjective self. It is our subjectivity that makes us really unique: each one of us was given by God a mind of his own, and a will of our own, to live his own life as he sees fit. No one can live your life for you, think for you and decide for you. You must take hold of your God-given gifts, the powers of your subjectivity, and think for yourself and decide about yourself, aiming at genuine happiness, which all men naturally aspire for.

 

Live your own life as you see fit. But do you know what is really fit for life? We can only answer this question well if we discover the truth about the existence of objective moral norms rooted in human nature.

I was recently talking to a 25-year old Korean. He told me that he had no religion at all. He explained that in Korea 40% of the people are Buddhists and 30% don’t have any religion whatsoever. His family belongs to this 30%. In his family there are several generations of Koreans without any religion.

 

However, he explained that he does believe in God who will judge him when he dies. Without being explicit, he was talking about good and evil, about objective morality!


I found this interesting! Though not belonging to 
 an organized religion, this young Korean studying English in the Philippines, affirming that he did not have a religion, nevertheless had religious convictions. Few convictions but religious nevertheless. So I explicitly told him that God would punish him only if he does evil and reward him if he does good. He agreed.

 

But then I asked him how he knew what was good and what was evil. And here he was not so sure of himself. This is what morality is all about. It is a matter of good and evil. And it is so important for our personal happiness that we better be sure of it. We must be sure that there are objective moral norms rooted in human nature that are independent of the subjective self. These norms guide us in choosing subjectively the only path that leads to genuine happiness. How important these norms are then! Don’t you think so?

 

It is moral behavior that makes a man truly happy. All other kinds of happiness not based on moral behavior are not true happiness. We are looking for a happiness that lasts forever and truly satisfies the soul. That kind of false happiness may satisfy the body but definitely not the soul. This is morality and it is meant to be crystal clear. Unfortunately my Korean friend was sometimes confused about what is good and evil yet he admitted he did not have a religion to learn from.

 

It is sadder to find Christians who also are not sure about morality. They are confused as to what determines good and evil, right and wrong. They do not understand how that wonderful gift of freedom that God has given us and that makes us subjective in our behavior, is compatible with the existence of objective norms of morality.

 

What is fit for us to do? What is fitting behavior for a human being made unto the image and likeness of God? This is what should feed the life of the soul, the inner life of the spirit. Evil destroys a person’s inner life. Evil deeds are not fit to nourish the life of holiness God meant us to live. As a spiritual writer said, men are ‚human but holy.‛ Human yes, full of weakness and are fragile. But with God’s grace, we can and must be holy.God has given us all the same human nature, something all human beings have in common. However, he made each human being a unique person.

 

Man’s uniqueness is rooted in the fact that all personal behavior is rooted in the subjective self. It is our subjectivity that makes us really unique: each one of us was given by God a mind of his own, and a will of our own, to live his own life as he sees fit. No one can live your life for you, think for you and decide for you. You must take hold of your God-given gifts, the powers of your subjectivity, and think for yourself and decide about yourself, aiming at genuine happiness, which all men naturally aspire for.

 

Live your own life as you see fit. But do you know what is really fit for life? We can only answer this question well if we discover the truth about the existence of objective moral norms rooted in human nature.

I was recently talking to a 25-year old Korean. He told me that he had no religion at all. He explained that in Korea 40% of the people are Buddhists and 30% don’t have any religion whatsoever. His family belongs to this 30%. In his family there are several generations of Koreans without any religion.

 

However, he explained that he does believe in God who will judge him when he dies. Without being explicit, he was talking about good and evil, about objective morality!


I found this interesting! Though not belonging to 
 an organized religion, this young Korean studying English in the Philippines, affirming that he did not have a religion, nevertheless had religious convictions. Few convictions but religious nevertheless. So I explicitly told him that God would punish him only if he does evil and reward him if he does good. He agreed.

 

But then I asked him how he knew what was good and what was evil. And here he was not so sure of himself. This is what morality is all about. It is a matter of good and evil. And it is so important for our personal happiness that we better be sure of it. We must be sure that there are objective moral norms rooted in human nature that are independent of the subjective self. These norms guide us in choosing subjectively the only path that leads to genuine happiness. How important these norms are then! Don’t you think so?

 

It is moral behavior that makes a man truly happy. All other kinds of happiness not based on moral behavior are not true happiness. We are looking for a happiness that lasts forever and truly satisfies the soul. That kind of false happiness may satisfy the body but definitely not the soul. This is morality and it is meant to be crystal clear. Unfortunately my Korean friend was sometimes confused about what is good and evil yet he admitted he did not have a religion to learn from.

 

It is sadder to find Christians who also are not sure about morality. They are confused as to what determines good and evil, right and wrong. They do not understand how that wonderful gift of freedom that God has given us and that makes us subjective in our behavior, is compatible with the existence of objective norms of morality.

 

What is fit for us to do? What is fitting behavior for a human being made unto the image and likeness of God? This is what should feed the life of the soul, the inner life of the spirit. Evil destroys a person’s inner life. Evil deeds are not fit to nourish the life of holiness God meant us to live. As a spiritual writer said, men are “human but holy.” Human yes, full of weakness and are fragile. But with God’s grace, we can and must be holy.