|revelation or experience|
| How do we do ethics? Does God reveal an ethical standard, or do we derive ethics through experiences? Actually, both are true, but one must precede the other. Before we derive anything through experience we must already have some frame of reference to guide us.
Paul Kurtz, a secular humanist, speaks of the “autonomy of ethics.” He intends to create a moral system based solely on human reason and experience. He says, “Moral judgments should not be derived from antecedent theological, metaphysical, or ideological premises but need to be worked out and formulated independently in the light of reflective inquiry. The main quarrel humanists have had with orthodox religionists has been precisely on this point; the need to liberate moral judgment from undue ecclesiastical or political authority, legislative authorities, rules, and laws. Does humanism have its own unique first principles beyond its commitment to inquiry? I am dubious of first principles, from which we derive basic values.”
Paul Kurtz certainly is dubious. He wants to have ethics without a presumptive basis (first principles). Note how he assumes the autonomy (objectivity) of the human mind and refuses to realize his premises as taken by faith. He assumes objectivity for the human mind, an absurd assumption, an impossible ideal. He criticizes orthodox religionists for basing their beliefs on revealed rules of morality: ideological premises. The humanist premise of autonomy is no less ideological. The laws of logic exist outside of the human mind and militate against the possibility of human objectivity. Paul Kurtz denies the one who taught him right from wrong and instead points to his intellect as if that also hadn’t been given to him.
The moral law is a revealed law. Theists and humanists alike start from antecedent ideological premises before they go anywhere with ethics. We could not know that right and wrong existed unless God revealed it to us.