Is There Such a Thing as Subjective Moral Truth?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 20, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Last week we discussed absolute truth, and whether it’s real. The answer is yes, it definitely is real, and it is found in God’s Word, the Bible. But what about the other side of that - subjective moral truth?

Let’s start with some definitions. Subjective means that something depends on a person’s opinion, whereas objective is the opposite of that; objective means there is a clear right or wrong answer. Think about taking a test in school. True/false questions or multiple choice questions are objective; there is clearly a right and wrong answer. Essay or short answer questions can often be subjective, meaning that the teacher has to decide if you’ve answered it well enough, and there may be multiple answers.

Objective moral truth is what we talked about last week, also known as absolute truth. So what is subjective moral truth? It is “truth” (and I use that word loosely) that is defined by the person who believes it. It is only true sometimes, and can change as time goes on. It is not necessarily true for all people, in all times, and in all places.

For example, I can say that lying is ok in some situations. If a person asks me if that outfit looks good on them and I lie that it does to make them feel better, that makes it appear that lying is ok. That is a subjective moral truth, because it’s what I believe to be true at that time. While some may say that lying is always wrong, others may say it’s ok in certain situations. That is subjective moral truth.

In a perfect world, there would be no such thing as subjective moral truth. Everyone would live completely by the absolute truth of God’s Word. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. People cloud God’s absolute truth with our opinions, sinful though they may be. We bend God’s truth to fit what we want it to fit, like in the example I gave above, how I seemed to believe lying is ok for that situation. When we do this, we are putting ourselves in God’s places, and considering ourselves to be more important than Him. If I believe “my truth” is better than God’s absolute truth, I’ve just called myself better than God!

Subjective moral truth is a real thing in this world, thanks to sin. Watch out for it, because it is very dangerous! We are warned about this in Romans 1:18-19: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” When you suppress God’s truth because of your own sinfulness, the wrath of God will be revealed against you. God’s truth has been made plain to us in the Bible; it is not hidden or secret in any way.

Discover what God’s absolute truth is to fight against subjective moral truth. Keep holding on to God’s truth and don’t let your own opinions influence it in any way.