Any answer to a question may be categorized as objective or subjective.
It is not that the question itself is objective or subjective, but
that the answer to the question is either objective or subjective.
So, if a question must be answered from an objective perspective,
I have termed it an objective question. On the other hand, if the
question must be answered from a subjective perspective, I have
termed the question a subjective question.
Objective is "belonging to the sensible world and being observable
or verifiable esp. by scientific methods," "emphasizing
or expressing the nature of reality as it is apart from personal
reflections or feelings," and "expressing or involving
the use of facts without distortion by personal feelings or prejudices"
(Webster). One example of an objective question and answer is: What
does two plus two equal? Of course the answer is four. This question
is answered upon undeniable scientific fact and is therefore objective.
Subjective is "relating to or determined by the mind as the
subject of experience," "characteristic of or belonging
to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind,"
and "lacking in reality or substance" (Webster). One example
of a subjective question and answer is: When does a fetus become
a living human being with unalienable, personal, human rights? The
answer to this question cannot be scientifically proven at this
time; therefore, any answer must be subject to an individual's application
of unscientific knowledge such as religion and philosophy.
For this article, I am not considering the ramifications of those
who are suffering from mental illness wherein that which is objective
to the mentally healthy may be subjective to the mentally ill. Nor
am I considering those (such as children) who are, through education,
growing in objectivity and moving away from subjectivity. But, I
am considering those things that healthy, mature adults consider
existing in objective reality in contrast to that which is subjective
because of a lack of convincing scientific evidence.
For example, two plus two equals four is objective. But, genetics
in relationship to homosexuality is subjective since only some speculative
scientific data, upon which is much disagreement, has been presented
on this subject. We can also look back into history to observe questions
and answers that began as subjective, but later became objective.
One example of this is the argument concerning the shape of the
earth. When men first espoused the position that the earth is round,
it was from a subjective perspective. But the earth's shape is now
an undeniable scientific fact and is therefore considered objective.
Can you think of one question concerning morality that does not
demand a subjective response? I cannot. It is important for Christians
to properly approach questions concerning morality to produce an
answer in accordance with the will of God. This reminds me of a
professor at Indiana University from whom I took trombone lessons.
During a lesson one day, he told me that to produce a proper sound
on the trombone (or any wind instrument), I only had to properly
blow into the instrument.
Now this seems over simplified, but is it not the truth? If we
approach a thing properly, will it not produce the proper results?
If I blow a trombone as a trombone is intended to be blown, will
it not sound like a trombone, or will it sound like a violin? Similarly,
if we approach God properly, will we not be the individuals He desires
us to be?
Jesus taught on this subject. He says as recorded in Matthew 12:33-35:
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make
the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For
out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out
of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and
an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things."
Living before God can be boiled down to basics just like playing
the trombone. If we approach God properly, with a good heart, we
will be a proper individual in relationship to Him. If we approach
God improperly, with an evil heart, we will not be a proper individual
in relationship to Him. So, if my heart is right with God, I will
be right with God because my heart will cause me to do what He desires,
not what I desire in personally gratify my flesh.
So ask yourself: Is my heart right with God? In the next article,
we will begin discussing three specific steps in answering moral
questions. If we approach moral issues properly, we will find the
moral answer to our questions. And, if our heart is right in relationship
to the Lord, we will do what is right to produce godliness.