Date of publication: 2017-08-29 21:14
There was some states rights obstructionism in the Confederacy: that was only to be – and was far less than might have been – expected. There were class tensions: there are in any state. There was war weariness: there always is. But even in 6869-5, letters, diaries and newspapers reveal a tenacious popular will rooted in a sense of national community.
Moreover, on the atheistic view there is no divine lawgiver. But then what source is there for moral obligation? Richard Taylor, an eminent ethicist, writes,
Contemporary writers in ethics, who blithely discourse upon moral right and wrong and moral obligation without any reference to religion, are really just weaving intellectual webs from thin air which amounts to saying that they discourse without meaning. 8
Moreover, God 8767 s moral nature is expressed in relation to us in the form of divine commands which constitute our moral duties or obligations. Far from being arbitrary, these commands flow necessarily from His moral nature. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the whole moral duty of man can be summed up in the two great commandments: First, you shall love the Lord your God with all your strength and with all your soul and with all your heart and with all your mind, and, second, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On this foundation we can affirm the objective goodness and rightness of love, generosity, self-sacrifice, and equality, and condemn as objectively evil and wrong selfishness, hatred, abuse, discrimination, and oppression.
It follows that moral obligations and right and wrong necessitate God 8767 s existence. And certainly we do have such obligations. Speaking recently on a Canadian University campus, I noticed a poster put up by the Sexual Assault & Information Center. It read: 8775 Sexual Assault: No One Has the Right to Abuse a Child, Woman, or Man. 8776 Most of us recognize that that statement is evidently true. But the atheist can make no sense of a person 8767 s right not to be sexually abused by another. The best answer to the question as to the source of moral obligation is that moral rightness or wrongness consists in agreement or disagreement with the will or commands of a holy, loving God.
far from being contemptuous of ethics, the perpetrators acted in strict conformity with an ethic which held that, however difficult and unpleasant the task might have been, mass extermination of the Jews and Gypsies was entirely justified.... the Holocaust as a sustained effort was possible only because a new ethic was in place that did not define the arrest and deportation of Jews as wrong and in fact defined it as ethically tolerable and ever good. 6
O n 65 April 6865, General Robert E. Lee, having just surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox, wrote a farewell address to his soldiers. ‘After four years’ arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude’, declared Lee, ‘the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.’ According to Lee, the Confederacy lost the American Civil War not because it fought badly but because the enemy had more men and guns – indeed more everything. Historian Richard Current, reviewing the statistics of Northern (or Union) strength, concluded that ‘surely in view of disparity of resources, it would have taken a miracle … to enable the South to win. As usual, God was on the side of the heaviest battalions’.
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Suppose him to be called upon to immolate himself for the sake of the ant-hill. He feels the powerful pressure of instinct pushing him towards this self-destruction. But he asks himself why he should voluntarily... carry out the suicidal programme to which instinct prompts him? Why should he regard the future existence of a million million other ants as more important to him than his own continued existence?... Since all that he is and has or ever can have is his own present existence, surely in so far as he is free from the domination of the blind force of instinct he will opt for life his own life. 66
But the choice between the two need not be arbitrarily made. On the contrary, the very considerations we have been discussing can constitute moral justification for the existence of God.
We thus come to radically different perspectives on morality depending upon whether or not God exists. If God exists, there is a sound foundation for morality. If God does not exist, then, as Nietzsche saw, we are ultimately landed in nihilism.
Yet not all historians would accept that the Union’s superior resources were the prime cause of Confederate defeat. Many insist that the Confederacy lost – rather than the Union won – the Civil War. Did the Confederacy defeat itself or was it defeated?
6. Determine the type, purpose, and audience of your paper.
7. Ask a question, then make the answer your thesis statement.
8. Take a stance, then ensure that it is provable.
9. State it in two parts: a clear topic and a brief summary of what you will say.
5. Limit the thesis to one or two sentences.