Morality from Nature? (Audio)

Greg challenges the idea that we can derive proper morality by appealing to nature. 



0:00 Morality from nature? It's common of late to justify one's sexual orientation by

0:06 an appeal to nature. The claim, "I was born that way," is all that's needed to stem

0:11 moral criticism, for example, of homosexuality. But why settle for this

0:16 approach? Why think that the state of nature is an appropriate guide to

0:20 morality? You know, 17th century philosopher Thomas

0:23 Hobbes noted famously that life in an unregulated state of nature is solitary,

0:28 poor, nasty, brutish, and short. It was precisely this fact, according to Hobbes,

0:35 that caused humans to enter into social contracts, gladly accepting the moral

0:40 constraints of civilization to its alternative - the law of nature. Morality

0:45 is an extension of that contract, he thought, as a way of protecting ourselves

0:49 from the brutality of living in a world where people simply did what came

0:53 naturally. Now, I think Hobbes was wrong on this analysis of morality, but that's

0:59 not my point right now. My point here is that since living according to nature

1:03 would easily justify all kinds of barbarism, how does it make sense to

1:08 invoke the natural state of things to justify anything? Behavior that's natural

1:14 is the very thing morality is meant to protect us from. Remember, animals

1:20 always do what comes naturally. By contrast, morality that counters one's

1:24 natural inclinations rather than commends them is our only refuge from a

1:30 life that is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. For more information on the

1:39 problem of moral relativism, see the book, "Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air

1:43 by Greg Koukl and Frank Beckwith. Or, also find some talks and articles on the

1:50 topic available at In addition, the complete text of these

1:55 comments are available at under the title, "Morality from Nature?" I'm Greg

2:00 Koukl for Stand to Reason.

quick thought |
Greg Koukl