The blind leading the blind

Posted: September 22, 2007 in Theo/Philo


BBC Breakfast recently featured an interview with the brother of a graffiti artist who had been jailed for a year for spraying graffiti onto tube trains in London.

The interviewee admitted that his brother had done wrong but complained that the sentence handed out was unjust. A year spent inside for spraying graffiti seemed harsh compared to others who had committed far more serious crimes but received lighter sentences; here (it seemed to me)the reference was regarding a national celebrity who was recently handed a five month sentence for viewing abusive Child Pornography.

A keen sense of injustice spurs us to action which, in some cases has lead to the fall of governments,bloody revolutions and maps to be redrawn and news programs to feature the sibling of jailed graffiti artist.

It is a deeply felt emotion so much so that recent findings suggest that suffering an injustice can lead to an increased risk of heart attack.

Injustice is a metaphysical phenomena (unless anyone cares to prove otherwise) which relies on the existence of right and wrong ,not as a subjective experience but as an objective actuality.

An exclusively subjective sense of right and wrong and what constitutes injustice would not be able to produce a workable systems of jurisprudence,as your sense of right might not be mine; for Justice to work there must exist a be truly objective and not just a communally held definition of Justice.

Culturally defined justice would allow honour killings,female circumcision and gender inequalities to name a few practices.

The National socialists of Germany give a good example of culturally defined Jurisprudence; they were voted into government by the people and supported by the people, who considered, at that time, that to be Jewish was enough of a crime to merit forced relocation,loss of citizenship, loss of property, loss of liberty, loss of earnings and ultimately for many, loss of life. Should we say that the holocaust was acceptable morally because the majority remained silent and were complicit by there silence ?

Justice must be more than what the majority think is right or wrong, as that sense of right and wrong can change,we will, as Francis Schaeffer says, be at the mercy of the 51% vote.

In the west Justice and the rights of ‘Man’ were a product of a Judeo-Christian worldview which emerged slowly over time.

Justice must amount to more than what the majority think is right at a certain time in a certain place there must be a definition of Justice which over arches time and place-otherwise we wasted a lot of time and money at the Nuremberg trials.

Current popular thinking in the west holds that morality is either an illusion or an evolutionary accident.

The problem with these views are the same as those views that held right and wrong to be either culturally or subjectively defined -they are not consistent with logic and cannot produce systems of justice that work.

For instance consider the ‘Morality as an illusion’ mantra;just ask anyone who has suffered an injustice how much of an illusion morality is! Look at the behaviour of those who have suffered an injustice -do they behave as if Morality is an illusion?


‘Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist – in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless-I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality- namely my idea of justice -was full of sense . Consequently, atheism turns out to be too simple…If there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.’

Morality as an accident -if it is an accident why should I obey its prompting?

Greg Koukl:

‘Moral rules that have no ground or justification need nit be obeyed. An illustration is helpful here . One evening in the middle of a scrabble game,you notice the phrase ‘Do not go’ formed in the random spray of letter tiles on the table. Is this a command that ought to be obeyed? Of course not . Its not a command at all, just a random collection of letters.’



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