Christian Ethics - Lesson 3

The Deontological Ethic

This lesson delves into the theory of deontological ethics and Emmanuel Conte, who aimed to make philosophically plausible some of the religious beliefs he inherited from his parents. Conte's ethics aim to make intellectually respectable an approach to the moral law that initially looks like some of the things found in the Bible. He formulated the categorical imperative, a law that rational human beings should respect, and which we obey because it is a law of reason, not because we want to. The categorical imperative says we should act in such a way that we can will our maxim to be a universal law. The maxim is the rule of conduct that we have under consideration at the moment.

Ronald Nash
Christian Ethics
Lesson 3
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The Deontological Ethic

Philosophical Ethics

Part 2

II. The Deontological Ethic

A. Immanuel Kant

1. Categorical Imperative

2. Formulation of the Categorical Imperative

a. The Maxim

b. Treat others as ends, never as means.

3. Rationalist Approach

a. Morality is similar to mathematics and logic.

i. Discovered, not invented

ii. Objective

iii. Universal

b. A violation of a categorical imperative is a violation of reason.

c. Focus on factors common to all rational beings.

B. "The Good Will"

1. What is "the good will"?

2. Critique of "the good will"

C. Three Forms of the Moral Law

1. Universality

2. Teleology

3. Self-imposed law

a. Heteronomous law

b. Theonomous law

c. Autonomous law

D. Evaluation of Kant's Formulations

1. Positive side

2. Criticisms

a. No acknowledgment of sin

b. Missing a personal dimension to duty

  • Gain insights into philosophical ethics and Christian responses, and the Christian role in society regarding the state, justice, economics, and education.
  • In this lesson, Dr. Nash introduces you to the concept of hedonism, which is an example of a consequentialist ethic. He reviews non-hedonistic consequentialist philosophies, psychological hedonism, and ethical hedonism.
  • This lesson introduces you to the theory of deontological ethics and Emmanuel Conte. You will learn that the deontological ethic judges morality by examining the nature of actions and the will of agents rather than goals achieved.
  • In this lesson you will learn about the system of ethics that focuses on virtue and introduces the Four Cardinal Virtues, which are temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage, and emphasizes the importance of being the right kind of person who possesses the traits of character, and C.S. Lewis's book "Christianity" provides an informative treatment of the Four Cardinal Virtues and the Three Theological Virtues.
  • You will gain insight into C.S. Lewis's views on Christian ethics and the morality analogy he presents, where morality is like a fleet of ships that must fulfill three conditions to succeed: every ship must run properly, the relations between ships must be proper and orderly, and the fleet must head to the right destination.
  • You will learn about the importance of distinguishing between society and the state. Society is a voluntary organization of people, while the state is the group of people who claim a monopoly on the use of coercive force within a geographic boundary. By understanding this difference, you can prevent the government from interfering with your voluntary associations.
  • You will gain an understanding of how the professor's theory of the state in Social Justice in the Christian Church aligns with the New Testament. He explains that the state is a God-ordained institution to check against sin, and he is a moderate anti-statist who recognizes the need for government but also the inherent evil in any concentration of human power. The New Testament recognizes constraints upon governmental power, and Revelation 13 is an example of how the state can symbolize anti-Christian government. The lesson also discusses the concept of justice and how it is often invoked without a clear understanding, suggesting that Christians should study ancient Greece for a better comprehension of the term.
  • In this lesson, you will gain insight into the evangelical civil war that happened 20 years ago, learn about its early stages recorded by Clark Penick, understand the harmful effects of left-wing evangelicalism, and see how many evangelicals on the left became enamored with their own self-virtue in what they thought was a crusade to help the poor.
  • By studying this lesson, you will gain insight into the major differences between capitalism, socialism, and interventionism. You will learn that interventionism is often responsible for economic crises that are attributed to capitalism. You will also learn about the overlapping and continuum nature of economic systems and the gray area where an economic system may be viewed as socialism or interventionism.
  • This lesson discusses the decline of old liberation theology and how some of its proponents are now advocating for capitalism and democracy as being what the poor of the third world need, and presents shocking quotations from individuals characterized as evangelical, such as Jose Marquez Bonino, who promotes Marxism and praises tyrants like Castro and Mao Tse tung, as well as material about the three major kinds of Marxism that have existed in the world.
  • This lesson will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of interventionism and its role in the Great Depression, including the fact that blaming capitalism for the depression is based on four myths, and that interventionism actually deepens recessions by disguising the information produced by a market economy.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain an understanding of the crisis facing American education, as highlighted by Alan Blum's book The Closing of the American Heart and the author's complementary book. The focus is on the importance of values, standards, and morality in education, and the need to reopen the American heart to reopen the American mind. The lesson introduces the three kinds of illiteracy currently affecting Americans at every level of the educational process, with a particular emphasis on functional illiteracy, which refers to the inability to read, write, or use numbers well enough to get along in society.
  • In this lesson, you will learn about the incompetency of public school teachers in America, caused by academically weak students being attracted to the profession, lack of content courses in their college curriculum, unimpressive and radical left-winged professional educationists, and the National Education Association being an enemy of America's young people, with four essential steps to improve education, including getting a clear focus on the educational role of the family, increasing local control of education, changing the curriculum to prepare students for life after school, and changing teacher education programs.
  • Gain knowledge of the difference between the biblical ethic and other philosophical systems. Though it may seem simple, it is an underlying system that can lead to complex issues. The divinely revealed scriptures are the starting point for moral reflection, but not a ready-made answer. Some New Testament commandments are archaic or obsolete, and many modern moral problems are not discussed in the Bible.
  • You will gain insight into the pro-life stance and be equipped to inform others. Christians need not be timid about talking about these issues.
  • This lesson explores the arguments and counterarguments surrounding abortion, arguing for caution and conservatism in ending any life, emphasizing the need to balance the right of the mother with the rights of the infant, and briefly touching on the issue of rape and how it complicates the matter.
  • As you go through the lesson, you will learn about infanticide and euthanasia, and how the disrespect for unborn human life has led to an increase in cases of infanticide, along with some suggestions for what Christians should do in the case of children born with life-threatening handicaps.
  • In this lesson, you will explore the five major passages of Scripture related to homosexuality, including different interpretations of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, and concludes that the Bible clearly condemns homosexual activity.
  • This lesson explores the topic of capital punishment in the context of Christian beliefs, arguing for consistency and emphasizing the need to view Old Testament laws in the context of specific situations that are no longer applicable.
  • This lesson discusses the three approaches to war and peace and distinguishes between principled pacifists and hypocritical, unprincipled pacifists, who are members of the political left and denounce American military actions but support violent revolutionary organizations.
  • You will gain an understanding of the growing issue of divorce and remarriage within the church, the responsibilities of Christian leaders in addressing it, and the need for Christians to think through what the Scripture teaches on these matters and formulate principles that will guide their thinking and conduct.
  • This lesson provides insight into how responsible Christians can make ethical decisions about birth control, considering the importance of intention, distinguishing between ethically acceptable and unacceptable forms of birth control, and emphasizing the importance of wise and careful means in achieving family planning goals.

Theoretical and theological basis for Christians  living an ethical life.

Dr. Ronald Nash

Christian Ethics


The Deontological Ethic

Lesson Transcript


What I want to do now is I want to introduce you to the best representative of a D ontological ethic. I hope that you are either satisfied now or will be satisfied through further study that consequential ism doesn't work, that a de ontological ethic has a kind of plausibility about it, that that catches the attention of a Christian. The major thinker here is Emmanuel Conte. Those of you who took the history of philosophy course, you no doubt remember that we spent a lot of time talking about Conte's theory of knowledge. Well, his ethics are equally deserving of our attention. Let's give some dates for Conte 1724 to 1804 In the history of Philosophy course, I tell you that one of the major motives behind Kahn, very interesting theories in epistemology is, is is this is it a surreptitious desire on Conte part to make philosophically plausible some of the religious beliefs that he inherited from his PI artistic parents? His parents were PI, artistic, Lutheran. They were advocates of a fairly conservative or traditional kind of Christianity. And even though Conte didn't share the evangelical patriotism of his parents, he nonetheless wanted to provide a kind of intellectually respectable framework for some of the for belief in God, for example. Well, we're not going to repeat all of that stuff. But in his ethics, what you'll quickly see is how Conte was trying to make intellectually respectable an approach to the moral law that at least looks initially like certain things that you find in the Bible. For example, CART provided a rational case that led to the conclusion that all rational human beings should respect the moral law. And can't call this moral law the categorical imperative. What can't meant by a categorical imperative is a law that we obey, not because we want it, but not because we desire it, not because it makes us feel good. It's a more it's a law that we must obey because it is a law of reason. The moral law is as much a law of reason as two plus two equals four. Suppose somebody says, Suppose some little kid goes up to the blackboard and he writes two plus two equals three. And the teacher says, No, Johnny, that's wrong. And Johnny stamps his foot and says, I'm never wrong. My mother tells me I'm never wrong. I don't like your answer. That two plus two equals four. I like my answer better. Well, I don't know what's going on in the public schools of Orlando. Maybe that works here. I don't know. But consider whether you liked the laws of reason or mathematics. Didn't matter. They were hard as nails. You had to conform your will to these objective laws of reason. Now, let me tell you how Conte formulated the categorical imperative. All right. It's very interesting. This is this is the major, the most famous way in which can't formulated the categorical imperative he wrote. So act in such a way that you can will your maxim to be a universal law. Now, let me tell you what the maxim is here. So act in such a way that you can will your maxim. The maxim is the rule of conduct that that you have under consideration right at this time. Let's say I'm in a situation in which I am considering doing something that none of you would do that is submitting for this course a term paper I wrote as an undergraduate. All right. Suppose you're contemplating that. See now. That's cheating, because we've already said that's a violation of the rules for this course. But who's going to know? All right. Who's going to know? So you're considering as your maximum right now the question, should I cheat? Well, Conte says before you act on that maxim submitted to the moral law, the law of reason in this case, can you will that maxim to be a universal law? That means can you make it a moral law that everybody can cheat? Well, Conte thinks that very quickly you'll realize that you don't want to do that, because if everybody cheats, then the professor isn't going to trust anybody. And he's going to look more carefully at my paper. See, he might even call my undergraduate professor. So the only way in which I can gain an advantage by my cheating is if everybody else doesn't cheat. So I can't move my action to be a universal law. Consider lying. And I don't mean to make this personal and seminary classroom, but I'm trying to get you to see the picture. Should I lie in this case? Well, I shouldn't lie. Unless I can. Will it to make Unless I can will my maxim to be a universal law? Can I can I possibly function in society in an environment in which everybody can lie any time they want? Of course not. My advantage from lying occurs only when people trust what other people say. That's when I get an advantage from lying or cheating, you see. So in other words, the person who. Since I can't never use that word. He didn't like the word sin. The person who does wrong is willing one kind of behavior for himself, but he's willing that everybody else do the do the other thing. Now he's willing a contradiction. He's saying everybody else should follow that law. But right now, I'm making myself the one single exception to this question. Do any of you see any connection between the categorical imperative and anything in the Bible whatsoever? What? I hear the Golden rule. Sure. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Now, this shows you the kind of rascal Khan was. See, I think he really was trying to universalize the Golden rule. But you see, had he done it that bluntly, everybody would have. They would have said, look at this guy. He must be some kind of fundamentalist. What can you imagine? A philosopher universalizing the Golden rule. He'd. He'd lose all respect. So what you do is you put it in fancy language like this. You got to watch these guys play these funny games. Well, Becky, I'd probably to be fair to the golden rule there. There may not be that close proximity as it might appear. There's no question but that Khan has a kind of religious ax to grind here. He's trying to give a philosophical respectability to some moral principles that are really found in historic Christianity. Well, let me give you one more example of the categorical. These were different formulations of the categorical imperative. And I don't know that anybody fully understands how the various formulations fit together. But here's another way to put it. It's actually a different formulation. So act that you always treat other humans or other rational beings. Which raises an interesting question Why does can't talk about rational beings here rather than humans? But we can't say everything. So act that you always treat other rational beings as ends. Never as means as ends. Never as means. This very interesting moral, moral statement here. Give me some examples of human behavior in which we do treat other human beings as means and not as ends. Prostitution. In the case of prostitution, this human being crawling or he or she may be created in the image of God. We ignore their dignity, we ignore their humanity, and we treat them solely and exclusively as a means to our own, to the gratification of our own pleasure. Khan would say that's that's a pretty good reason why that kind of behavior is is evil is wrong. We don't have to take anything as severe as prostitution. We can think of the relationship between many husbands and wives, right? Where a husband, for example, fails to recognize the humanity and the dignity of his spouse and treats her as a means to his own ends. Now, cook that meal, put that barge, lift that bail. So even though even though we've got a moral philosopher, a German who's going to have all kinds of problems in his theory that we're going to notice next week, here is a moral principle that a lot of Christians need could could benefit from reflecting on. Do you know any parents who cheat their children as a means to an end, not as ends, but as a means to an end? I can't. Was very anxious to place morality on a solid and rational foundation. Among other things, Conte wanted to do this so as to rescue morality from the kind of relativism that was running wild in utilitarianism or consequentialist. I mean, clearly what we saw last week was that if you're a hedonist, either like Epicurus or Citron or the X or if you're a utilitarian, the end justifies the means. Anything goes if it produces the desirable consequence. Not so for Conte. Conte is a rationalist in ethics. And let's look at several things that this might mean. There are several several ways in which Conte's approach to ethics represents a rationalist approach. Let me distinguish three or four senses. I won't write them on the board, but I hope that you will get them in your notes. The first set respect in which Karp is a moral rationalist is this He believes the laws of morality are in several important respects, like the laws of mathematics and logic. This is sense one. The laws of morality are in several important respects, like the laws of mathematics and logic. Now let me identify some of those senses. This would be point A, B, and C. For one thing, the laws of mathematics are discovered, not invented. The laws of mathematics and the laws of logic are PRIORE They are independent of human observation and human feeling. They are discovered. No one ever invented them. Secondly, the second reason in which the moral laws, like the laws of mathematics and logic, the moral law, is objective. Now, there are lots of things in life that are subjective, that is, that are related to our feelings, our desires. When we get around to talking about economics and ethics in a week or so, I will I may shock some of you by arguing that what we call econ economic goods have their have their are grounded in subjective feeling and desire. An economic economic value is always subjective value. But the laws of mathematics are objective. They don't they don't care whether you like them or not. They don't care whether those laws mesh with what your feelings are. The laws of ethics are laws of math are hard as nails. Three times three equals nine. And I don't care whether you like it or not. And the principle that three, three, four times three equals nine is discovered, not invented. Likewise, for the moral law, Card says, once you know what your duty in life is, the moral law doesn't care whether you like it or not. It doesn't say please like me, please do this because you want to do it. The moral law says this is your duty. Do it and don't fool around. Thirdly, the moral law is universal, just as the laws of mathematics are. It makes no difference what your cultural situation is, what your historical situation is. Two times two equals four. And it doesn't. It doesn't matter whether you're black or white, doesn't matter whether you're tall is short. It doesn't matter whether you're from Africa or Australia. Two plus two still equals four. The moral law, like the laws of mathematics and reason, are universal. They apply to all human beings. All rational beings Can't did say that mathematical truth is what he called synthetic a priori. And here's what he meant by that fancy language. And you don't have to learn it. You don't have to learn the language. He meant number one, it's it is known independent of sense experience. All right. It is known through reason. It is it owes its grounding to the structure of the human mind. But it is synthetic. That means it is informative. You see, there are people who there are people who teach mathematics today who believe that two plus two equals four is simply an empty, empty tautology. It does not give us information about the real world. It's simply a manipulation of symbols. For example, concept position on that point was I was one. I think that any sensible Christian will take the laws of mathematics. The laws of logic apply to reality. They are not empty content, less tautology. And if you don't know what we're saying here, don't worry about it. Okay, so the moral law is like the laws of mathematics at Universal. It's discovered, not invented. It applies to all human beings. It's known by reason. Here's another way in which morality has to do with reason for can't. I'm now down to this point for can't people who will immoral actions that commit a kind of logical contradiction can't believe that people who violate the categorical imperative are violating the laws of reason? And let's just move on. I'll give you some specific examples of that shortly. Thirdly, and let's let this be our last point here. The third reason why Epic is a is a kind of rationalism. Can't believes that people proceed rationally when they ignore factors that vary from person to person. People proceed rationally when we ignore factors that differ from person to person and focus on factors that are common to all rational beings. For example, people differ according to race sex height concerns. When you add with a view to those things with with which human beings differ, we're not treating them as rational ends. You're not acting rationally yourself. What we want to do is rise above the individual ways in which people differ and treat them in response to the factors that they all have in common. The fact that we are all well, I'll give a kind of a Christian spin to this. The fact that we are all creatures of God, for example, that we're all created in the image of God. You don't distinguish between human beings on the basis of eye color or skin color or hair color, or certainly on the quantity of hair. You don't. You don't do that. All right. So you if you treat human beings as rational beings, conscious says that that gets us that helps us to rise above discriminatory behavior and so on. Well, the morality of an act and record has nothing to do with its consequences. In fact, can't sometimes suggest that if you calculate the consequences of an action when you when you make a judgment about its morality, you may be relinquishing the morality of your own behavior. In that case, don't pay any attention to consequences. Don't pay any attention to your feelings. There is only one thing that makes an action good, and that is a sense of beauty. Tom calls it the goodwill. There is only one thing in life that is good without exception, and that is the goodwill. And what is the goodwill? It is the will of a human being who acts solely in view of his duty. If you act with a view to consequences or feeling, you're not exhibiting a goodwill. Now it's at this point that cart appears to to fall into absurdity. Let me give you an example. And this example is designed to show you one difference between concept and a Christian ethic. I have certain duties to my children, let us say. All right. We all know what those duties are. I have a duty to treat them with respect. I have a duty to try and train them to grow up in the right way. I have a duty to provide for their needs. I have all kinds of duties with regard to my children. Now, most sensible human beings who are parents not only perform those duties, but find themselves, find their performance of those duties accompanied by all kinds of feelings and emotions. Right. And often in the lives of most of us, it's difficult to draw any clean line between the feelings we have for our children, let's say, and reduce our recognition of our of our duties. And so I may find myself, for example, saying, well, I got to help my daughter out in this particular matter. And then I find myself saying, Well, why am I doing this? It's because I love her. Okay, now here is work that appears to lapse into absurdity. And I must confess to you two things. It's difficult to believe that any philosopher as good as can't would be this stupid. But point number two, his writings certainly leave us with this impression. They leave us with the impression that he really was this stupid. In other words, if you take everything that I've been telling you about God, he would look at the Christian father who performs certain duties, acts of duty towards his daughter, for example, because he loves her and can't would say, Oh, that's a shame that you love your daughter because the feelings of love that you have in this case negates the morality of of your fulfillment of your duty. Cardboard card almost implies that you can't be a morally good person unless unless you do your duty. Well, not. Wanting to do your duty. It's as though he's suggesting the Christian parents despise your children and then do it anyway, because that's what the moral obliges you to do. Now you see how stupid that is? What am I supposed to do? Learn to hate my child in some way and then support her anyway? Because that's my responsibility. No, no. In fact, this, I hope you will see, is one of the first issues over which Christians disagree with Christ. I would take it that one mark, one sign of a properly moral person is the fact that his sense of obligation and his feelings cohere. They match each other. A little later on today, and I hope I remember to do it. I'm going to I'm going to be commenting on some things that Aristotle said about our relationship to virtue. I don't want to steal my point from a little bit later on, but Aristotle recognized that the way in which you tell a truly virtuous person is when he feels pleasure doing the right thing. Can you imagine a person saying, Well, I. I did this yesterday for my child and I felt pleasure doing it today. I've got to get that pleasure out and just do it because, you know, something very weird going on here. And what's weird is that Conte was so concerned to avoid consequences that he went overboard. Conte says the moral law assumes three forms. It assumes three forms. First of all, it assumes the form of universality. Now, this is what I called last week the cantor, the the first version of the categorical imperative always act that you can will your maxim to be a universal law. And of course, we recognized last week that this has some obvious affinities to the golden rule. And we also pointed out to you last week that that's not an accident because that was raised in a in a pious Christian home. And much of the work that he did as a philosopher was a technical way of trying to make respectable. Some of the more important remnants of the Christian faith that still survived from from his early upbringing. All right. So here we have a rational principle. Always act in such a way that you can will you're at your maximum and your maxim is to be your subjective principle here. And you can will that to be a universal law? Let me give you a couple of examples of how Kant's principle of universality works and how it ends up being a kind of rational principle. Suppose you're thinking about going into business as a counterfeiter, right? I mean, you're having a little trouble making ends meet. Whatever. So what would be better than going into business as a counterfeiter? Well, Conte says this would this would clearly be illegal, but it would also be immoral. And one of the ways in which you can see its immorality is by asking this question, could any counterfeiter consistently rule it to be the case that everybody else be free to make his own money any time he wants? Of course not. If everybody were counterfeiting his or her own money, then nobody would trust the money that's being passed by the counterfeiter. And so that rascal is involved in willing a logical contradiction. He's willing. One principle for everybody else in the world don't counterfeit, but he's willing that he be allowed to be the one and only exception to this. Because only if he's the exception will he likely get away with his behavior. Counterfeiting, then lying. I may wish to lie at this particular time, but can I will it to be a universal law that everybody be be permitted to lie? No. Because then that no one would trust anybody else. I can get away with my own lies only in a context in which people are trusting everybody else. But in a situation in which everybody is lying all the time, nobody's going to trust anybody. And so there's going to be no possible advantage to my lying. This is this is a sense in which cops rationalism comes to the surface again. He wills one moral maxim for himself, and he wills a different moral life for everybody else. So he's contradicting himself. Now, let me just point out to you that there are some problems with this principle of universality. Lots of philosophers have pointed out that there are moral actions that are wrong, which are not precluded by the principle of universality. Let me give you an example. Suppose I am a misanthrope. Suppose I hate the whole human race and I suppose I find myself contemplating suicide. The reason I'm contemplating suicide is I'm just fed up of you and the whole rest of the human race. So I want to end it all. The principle of universality does not rule out suicide. I mean, I suppose I'm applying current principle. Can I will it to be a universal law that everybody commits suicide? Now I'm a misanthrope. Remember, the prospect of everybody committing suicide not only gives me such pleasure, but it might even give me a reason not to commit suicide myself. You see, if the rest of us did it, I'd say, Well, you guys go first and then I'll come along at the end. I'll close the door and I'll turn off the light, see? So there are lots of there are lots of wrong kinds of behavior that can't very former principle won't work. Well, dear wimp. And the reason is this camp was looking for a moral principle that was so general and so vague that he thought it would cover every particular instance. But the catch is it's too vague. It's so vague that in many cases, we can't really get any specific moral guidance from it. Duty for duty sake is really what Card is saying. But what does that mean? Duty for duty sake? What we want and what we need is an ethic that gives us more specific guidance in the difficult decisions of life. And so now we have still another difference between concept work and the biblical ethic. The biblical ethic doesn't just say so act in such a way that you could always will your maximum to be a universal law. Now, the biblical ethic gives us concrete guidance. It says, Don't lie, don't steal, don't commit adultery, have no other gods before me. And then when you get into the moral prescriptions of the New Testament, you get even more specific guidance. Counseling is simply too vague. It's too ambiguous. It's too nebulous. I mean, you've got to have a Ph.D. in philosophy to be a moral person in this universe, and heaven help us. We would not want a world full of PhDs in philosophy, believe me. Right now, we told you that there was a second formulation of the categorical imperative. It's called the principle of, Well, I hate to use this word, but let's use it anyway. It's called the principle of teleology. We're using the word teleology in a somewhat different sense than we did last week. Kai here is said, as we noticed last week, always act in such a way that you treat other rational beings as ends, never as means treat other rational beings as ends, never as means. We noticed several examples of immoral human behavior that do indeed treat human beings as means rather than ends. Prostitution is evil because it does subject human beings to instruments of pleasure. And we we notice those other examples. But lest we get lost, we get carried away here and conclude too quickly that cop has nailed this thing down properly. Let's recognize as many critics of can't have that There are some problems with the principle of teleology. There are lots of times when we do treat other human beings as means without engaging in immoral behavior. Every time you walk into a bank and a cashier cashes a check or makes a deposit in your checking account, you're using that other person as a means to an end. But there's nothing. Morally improper about that. When we watch an athlete perform, we are using that athlete as a means to an end. There's nothing morally improper about that. So it appears as though Conte thought he had something more important than he really did. Clearly, there are times when failing to treat human beings as ends, treating human beings as a means to an end. Clearly, there are times like that where we are engaged in immoral behavior. But there are other times when we are not. So it does appear as though, once again, we're conscious position is lacking in any kind of proper moral guidance. Now we come to the third way in which Khan formulated his moral, his categorical imperative. He said the moral law must be self imposed. The moral must be self imposed. And a little on a little leery of getting into this because I'm going to use a word in a moment that makes some reformed Christians lose control. So I guess we're going to know if any of those people are in this audience. All right. In setting this up. Can't introduces three important terms in the philosophical language. He uses the word heterogenous. He uses the word thing on Imus, you know, pants, the guy who coined that word. But then he used and this is the word that makes some reformed Christians break out in a rash. He used the word autonomous. Anybody collapse? All right. No, I guess maybe we're safe with his audience. Autonomous. Here's what these words mean. Ahead. Anonymous law is a law that is imposed by other people. Hatteras would be the Greek word for other mammals, as the word for Hatteras is the word for others. So a heteronormative law is a law that is imposed upon you by other people. Obviously, there are lots of laws that we encounter every day that are heteronormative speeding laws. Ahead, anonymous law is imposed on you. Don't park your car here, but drive over 50 miles an hour. Don't do this. Those are laws imposed on you by other people. Now, court says heteronormative laws can never be the moral law. They can never be the categorical imperative. And here's why. When you act in obedience to a heteronormative law, you were acting solely out of feeling or desire. Your obedience to heteronormative laws are always hypothetical imperatives. A hypothetical imperative is an if then statement. If you don't want a speeding ticket, then don't drive too. Then you ought not to drive too fast. But the point is, if you don't care about a speeding ticket, then the obligation is relative. You see, heteronormative laws bring us in touch with hypothetical imperatives which are relative and which are related to feeling and desire. Now, I want the audience that will be listening to this by tape to see how great you are. You now know what the word heteronormative means. What would be a synonymous ball? This is real tough. And a law imposed by God. Yeah. You have no mass law and fiat. Now, why would Card have a prejudice against you? Ornaments, laws, Laws imposed upon human beings by God. Some of one of you. One or two of you put yourself in [Unrecognized] shoes and figure out what his what his objection to the animus law would be. All right, Now what we're hearing here is someone saying that proper authority comes from God. Whether we want to do this, whether we fear this God in this case shouldn't make any difference. We should obey him anyway. That's his definition of duty. Doing what is right. Doing your duty. Could we agree with this? Could we agree that when we make Christian moral obedience a matter of fear, we do. We do the Christian ethic and we do the Christian faith a disservice. I'm getting a lot of affirmative here and getting a lot of yeses. Is there anybody here who wants to disagree with that? See, what I'm saying is. Conte's objection to the ornaments law has a point to it, but perhaps that point can be twisted in a way to reflect favorably upon a Christian interpretation of this. There is something dishonorable about people who obey God only because they're scared to death of what might happen if they don't. That's not proper Christian morality. Of course, though, what would be proper Christian morality? I would suggest obeying God because you love him can't would be unhappy even with that. And I think that's where we have to that's where we have to disagree with him. So fear. Yes. Concern about punishment? Yes. A desire for rewards. Yeah. That there always is less than noble. But to obey God because you love him or you love his law, which court would find equally offensive that I think avoids the stigma that would clearly attach to fear and some of these other things. If a general animus law is a law imposed upon you by others and a see animus law is a law that's imposed upon you by God, what is an autonomous law and or a self-imposed law? Because the Greek word autonomous means. So the moral law should never be a law that others impose upon you or the God. It should always be a law that you impose upon yourself. Now, strangely enough, Khan has a point here. It seems to me that properly understood a well-informed Christian could put a little spin on what Khan is saying here. Why should I obey the law of God? Simply because it's imposed on me by my parents or by some authority? No, that's going to leave you with some more behavior simply because it's imposed upon me by a God who can, you know, send me to judgment forever. Nonattendance That doesn't strike us as a particularly moral reason for behaving. So perhaps what we could do is recognize this once we know what our duty is. And for Christians, that duty has an inseparable link to the moral God who is the creator of all that exists. We must impose it upon ourselves as the law that functions in our life. In other words, we say you, regardless of selfish reasons or motives, I'm going to obey this law because it's the proper thing to do. But what the Christian, of course, does in going beyond court is to recognize that without the moral God, there would be there would be no moral law to impose upon us. Well, let me quickly give you some criticisms I've already given suggested some criticisms, but here are some other problems with Kant's system. We've already noted his vagueness, the fact that you can know the moral law, what cons formulation of it is, and still not have a clue as to what your duty in life is. The apparent conflict that Conte sets up between duty and love and feeling that seems on natural conscience failure to do justice to the relationship between God and the moral law is clearly a defect in his system. But you want to know what else is wrong here? Nowhere in Kant's ethic does he talk about sin. Does he talk about sin? You can read card forwards and backwards. You can read the critique of practical reason and the foundations of the metaphysics, of morals and everything else, and not know that there is something wrong with human beings that prevents them from doing their duty, that prevents them from keeping the moral law. What was wrong with Kant's family upbringing that he didn't carry with him? An understanding of the radical nature of sin? Well, he got too big for his britches, You see, he was a Ph.D. in philosophy, one of the great philosophers. He didn't have to worry about sin. One other thing that I mentioned by way of criticism. Can't make the same mistake that the consequentialist makes. The consequentialist says it's all consequences. Motive. Duty. Responsibility plays no role in the moral life. Can't. Makes the opposite mistake. Somewhere. A proper ethic must do justice both to duty and consequences. No sensible person performs his or her duty without some attention to the consequences. We might also notice here this is still a related point that I think in a proper understanding of the moral law to whom we perform certain duties is also a very important matter. I have I have duties to my family that may negate my duties to you. I had to call somebody on the phone today and they weren't in the office. And by not being in the office, they were failing in a responsibility that they have to me. All right. Why weren't they in their office? Well, can you imagine? They had a sick child and they were in the hospital attending to the needs of that sick child. Isn't that terrible? Letting their responsibilities to me fall by the wayside while they're in a hospital attending to the needs of a sick child? Now, that's pretty sensible. Way too. Way to view life. It makes a difference to whom we owe our responsibilities and my responsibilities to my family. I'm sorry to say I'm going to take precedence over my duties to you all over my duties to, let's say, George Bush or somebody else. So there is a personal dimension to duty that is also missing and consistent, but it is certainly not missing in the New Testament ethic.