Secular Morality

“Empiricism cannot establish any norm of morality. I am not saying that secular morality and Christian morality are different. A recent defense of abortion, a TV interview, was that the government should enforce only rational morality and not revelational morality. My point is that so-called “rational morality” does not exist. The reason should be easily understandable. Empirical philosophy claims to base all its truth on observation. Therefore any evaluations or moral judgements that empiricism makes must be inferred from observation. Now observations, at best, can only give statistical information as to what is the case.  It can record how many murders occurred in Philadelphia last month, how many divorces were granted in Washington, and how many cases of arson there was in Boston.    But a simple logical principle prevents the empiricist from concluding that murder is unjustifiable.  One of the essential requirements for a valid argument is the presence in the premises of every term found in the conclusion.  If any term in the conclusion is missing from the premises the argument is a fallacy.   Empirical premises contain nothing but statements of empirical facts.  They give observational data. They state what is.  Hence, nothing but observational data can be placed in the conclusions.  If the premise state only what is the conclusion can what ought to be.  There is no way of deriving a normative principle from an empirical observation.”

-Gordon H. Clark, Empiricism Lecture, Min 24-26


About douglasdouma

I am a husband to beautiful wife, an ordained minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church - Hanover Presbytery, and founder of Sola - Appalachian Christian Retreat ( In addition to blogging at this site I am the author of The Presbyterian Philosopher - The Authorized Biography of Gordon H. Clark (Wipf&Stock, 2017) and compiling editor of Clark and His Correspondents: Selected Letters of Gordon H. Clark (Trinity Foundation, 2017). I have a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering (University of Michigan), a master's in business administration (Wake Forest University) and a master of divinity (Sangre de Cristo Seminary). I'm an avid hiker, having completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian trail in 2013 and the first 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016.
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One Response to Secular Morality

  1. Seamus says:

    Not having morality might be the best part of being an atheist 😉 I do not worry about having to make it right with the big guy. I only have to contend with the laws of man, which is a lot easier. Especially when I do not have to follow rules like keeping the sabbath holy and not eating pork. Thank God for free will 🙂 Keep on preaching brother Doug, you may one day save my soul from eternal hell fire. One last thing, if I die and find out there is a God, I will come back and haunt you just to tell you that you were right. Hope school is going well. If you are ever in Austin again let me know, so we can hang out and wax intellectual. Maybe by then I will be at UT finishing my engineering degree.

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