Once again I find myself reading John Holbo, and immediately thinking: "Hey! This is really good. It will be easy to just excerpt two sentences, and point people to this excellent thing!"
5000 words later…
Read the whole thing:
John Holbo: How Moral Revolutions Happen (They Had A Nightmare):
Exception to the moral complacency point: these [pro-slavery] writers stand very firm when they seize the Biblical high ground… even a George F. Will-type needs moments of rhetorical firmness. (You can’t be effectively complacent, without sometimes seeming the very opposite of that.) But this produces very strange turns. Slavery is a horror, yes, but God says it’s ok… so if you say slavery needs to be abolished… you are holding yourself to a higher moral standard than God, which is surely some kind of Satanic pride on top of all the utopian dangers:
And when men, professing to be holy men, and who are by numbers so regarded, declare those things to be sinful which our Creator has expressly authorized and instituted, they do more to destroy his authority among mankind than the most wicked can effect, by proclaiming that to be innocent which he has forbidden.
(I’m using this one next time I teach "Euthyphro". Divine Command Theory buffs, this is one for the record books!)…