Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Three Parts of Morality

Back to Mere Christianity!

I actually don't have much to say or argue with for this chapter.

Lewis posits that there are actually three facets to morality.

1. It is concerned with fair play and harmony between human individuals

2. Harmonizing the internal drives of an individual

3. The general purpose of human life

I have no argument with those. I even agree with Lewis when he says that people tend to focus far too much on only the first aspect, thereby ignoring the second two.

People can legislate morality, sort of, by making laws. But as Lewis says, all the laws in the world won't actually *make* a person moral, internally. They can act moral on the outside and still turn around and beat their spouse when no one can see. An immoral person, a bad person, will still be like that no matter what the law says. They'll just have to find ways to go about doing what they want without getting caught.

It does lead back to the question of where morality comes from. I tend to think that it is not something that we know innately as I think you all remember, but that it is something that is taught to us. The teaching starts so young and is so pervasive that it seems innate to many people but if you took a child and raised them on an island without ever teaching them right from wrong they would not have the same moral values as any society on earth. They wouldn't understand why theft is wrong, or killing someone else because they'd never had the interactions that would teach them the consequences of those things.

We invented morality (or it was invented for us) to protect and preserve society and the human race from extinction. Morality is not universal - the details vary so widely from age to age and society to society that I don't know how anyone could make that claim with a straight face.

But I digress. As I said, I don't disagree with Lewis that morality has three aspects. And they're all related - they all lend themselves towards the goal of morality which is to help keep humans from killing ourselves off.

This was just an introductory chapter so we'll see what else Lewis has to say.


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