Is Immorality Only that which Harms Others?

A common defense of “sexual liberty” is that it is limited to the private conduct of consenting adults — in other words, it doesn’t “harm” anyone else. Similarly, a frequent retort to opposition to the normalization of homosexual ‘marriage’ is “what marriage was harmed by this homosexual union?”

Dr. Albert Mohler and Pastor Tim Keller have a fascinating discussion on this topic in a panel for the Gospel Coalition:

Their discussion is a fairly thorough breakdown of these canards about morality. Can “harm” be defined on an individual basis? Can morality be legislated? Can you even discuss morality outside of an acknowledgement of man’s purpose?

The discussion is long (16 minutes), but it addresses some very relevant points in a clear and concise way.


  • Thoughts as I watch..

    First it makes unsupported assumptions such as the existence of purpose of humanity.

    Then they just make claims that something like pornography will harm society with no evidence of that harm. And then they compare watching porn to Hitler.

    Their argument about abortion is staggeringly insulting to women. To think that women don’t really want abortion but are forced into it by men is so patronising.

    Then he says you could make the argument that his idea of immoral action are harmful. He doesn’t actually make the argument. Thats pretty weak.

    It becomes undeniable that all wrong doing makes harm. Again, supported without evidence.

    The discussion about sperm donors was just odd. What part of that was supposed to be immoral?

    No. Not everyone has ideas of morality based on what humans are “for”. The idea of humans having a purpose is NOT universal.

    Yes, they have the right to say that something is immoral, but again, that is not an argument, it is just an assertion.

    Again, an unsupported claim that not doing what these guys tell you leads to a lack of “human flourishing”.

    Oh.. I see.. now he just says what we all know. We all agree with him anyway!

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Basically two men sat agreeing with each other putting up strawmen arguments and then not supporting their own claims. Delightful.

  • @Donalbain
    You appear to be looking for scientific rigor in a discussion among those who share a worldview. You also read as categorical assertions some of their conditional statements. It would seem you watched with your mind made up already. But at least you watched it, and that is appreciated.