(The following conversation took place about an hour ago. I have not recalled it with word for word accuracy, but what I present here, captures the essence.)
I was a part of a conversation pertaining to morality and whether moral actions could be criticized from an objective standpoint or if such criticism was impossible in light of the subjective situation of all humans. In short: the age-old debate over the objective or subjective nature of morality.
“I’m resigned to the fact that we’re all a bunch of monkeys flinging poo at each other” said one young lady, whose cynicism made her slightly less attractive than she was otherwise. The moral dispositions of a monkey are nothing to take seriously, afterall.
My years of Christian apologetics had prepared me for this. The correct response would be to reduce her position to absurdity (reductio ad absurdum) by demonstrating that ‘subjective morality’ is an incoherent concept and that no one could possibly live that way. To show her, in fact, that those who claim to believe in ‘subjective morality’ do not live as if they believe it at all! Their actions in life contradict their philosophical profession! (As an aside: This method is really an ad-hominem appeal, although arguably non-fallacious.) Then I would demonstrate that there is an objective right and objective wrong in the world such that, even the actions of animals could be judged!
But, just before speaking…something happened to me.
If the reader will pardon a bit of hyperbole, (such is necessary in this case), I believe I heard, off in the distance, the sound of a drum. The Young Drummer, on his quest up the glass mountain, drumming away, sent forth his rhythm echoing across the mountains of old Europe, through the ships of the American pioneers, around the Appalachians and through the hearts of my ancestors where it reached my ear, just for this moment…
I became infuriated that a daughter of Eve so despised herself and her race that she would cynically refer to herself as a poo-slinging primate with no glory…no vision… no concept of the greatness inherent in the desire to rebuild Jerusalem! I wasn’t upset with her, I felt sad for her. I was angry as Hell at the social conventions that had so-captured her proud spirit!
“Don’t you, for just a moment, wonder what the knight thinks about your words?” I asked her.
The buzz around us stopped and everyone listened in. It was novel. Someone was actually talking, and not just pontificating:
“Just for a second, think of how virtuous and wonderful it is to stand, back to the wall, against overwhelming odds, armed only with a sword and a fierce desire to guard the honor of your ancestors by dying for principles that had been given to you by God Himself! Oh what a fight! Oh what a stand!
How must Jane Austin think of your words? (I interjected this here, because most white girls have a sort of odd respect for European literature and are not wont to callously dismiss it.) How would Charles Dickens feel to know that we’re all irrelevant and comical creatures, flinging poo at each other? How would Sir Walter Scott feel about that?
No, I don’t think that’s what you believe at all. I think you know, deep down, your own worth. You know who you are and what is to be expected of you! You know who you are, every bit as much as the princess knows who she is and how she is to be treated by the knight!
You need a princess…you need that knight. Once you meet them, you’ll not shrug off proper affections or scorn noble acts of honor.”
Her cynical mask fell away and I saw, behind it, a vulnerable woman who needed the very thing I had described. She admitted that, “on second thought, there must be something to nobility afterall. Maybe heroism can be meaningful?”
Our people are captured by false doctrines, but many retain their natural affections, even if deeply buried and kept out of sight.
But no heart-cell mutes the sound of drums completely.