Rejecting Biblical morality is common, even among clergy, but that doesn’t make it any more reasonable. Here is a typical example from David Bryant, a former Anglican bishop, who argues that the Bible’s injunctions concerning sexual relations should be ignored because they are archaic. We now face a myriad of different societal challenges, he says:
We have to confront this mishmash by constantly reinventing our personal morality, trying to take quality-weighted decisions and making tentative value-judgments. No one else can do it for us, least of all a code of rules laid down three millennia ago. It is a lonely path, but offers immense rewards. We need to put an upbeat spin into our thinking about sexual morality, starting from the point of original blessing rather than original sin.
The problem with this is, of course, that if you throw out God as the standard for morality, you are left without a standard. Inventing a "personal morality" is the same as not having morality because there is nothing outside of yourself (or anyone else) by which to make judgments. This dilemma is made clear in the article’s closing paragraphs. Mr. Bryant sees the problem with his thesis and tries to head it off:
Is this to advocate unbridled sexual license? Of course not. That would lead to moral anarchy. Our sexual encounters need to be infused with a non-exploitative compassion, or they become empty and ultimately destructive. That rules out of the equation sexual violence, degradation, coercion and deceit.
But wait, lets think about that. Who decides what is "exploitive," "compassionate" or "destructive?" These are value-laden terms that require a moral standard to be judged by in order to have meaning. If personal taste is the standard (I am the inventor of my own morality) then I decide what is compassionate, etc. and what isn’t. What is exploitive to you may not be to me. In the same manner, who says that violence, degradation, coercion or deceit are "bad" things? By what moral authority is this author condemning them? If it is anything outside the system I have invented for myself, then, according to his own words, I can ignore his injunctions.
Mr. Bryant may not want moral anarchy, but that is what he is promoting. His argument is slain on its own sword.