What The Protests Profess

Many cities across the United States and around the world have been filled with people protesting following the tragic death of George Floyd.

Jakayla Toney Gv9f8ek8izc Unsplash

The shocking video of his last moments has sent a jolt through the human consciousness, bringing out our innate awareness of a couple of huge realities. What I want to point out though is that the only way these realities are realities is because of God. The two things these protests reveal are:

  1. We know there is objective human value
  2. We know there are objective moral duties

We know there is objective human value

The outrage over George Floyd’s death was a declaration that his life has value – it matters. But why does any life have value. If we are just matter then we don’t matter. If we are the end-product of mindless processes then human life has no objective value, it only has subjective value – that is, we are only valuable because there are people that love us and care for us, and we are only valuable to them (which would mean that we aren’t equally valuable, some are more valuable than others). But the outrage over the death of George Floyd isn’t based on how loved or popular he was. When someone is murdered, we don’t do an investigation to see who cared about them before we decide whether it was a tragedy. The protests over the death of George Floyd are based on the fact his life mattered, and you don’t need to ask or know, “To whom did his life matter?” The only reason any human life matters is because it has been created by God, and that means every human life matters.

We know there are objective moral duties

As the protests have gathered steam, one of the things we have seen is a desire to get rid of statues of people who were involved in the slave trade or held racist views. The premise for this is that what those people did and believed was evil. The protestors aren’t saying, “Slavery and racism is wrong to me,” or, “In our society, we have determined slavery and racism to be wrong.” They are saying, “Slavery and racism is wrong.” It’s not wrong because society says so – even when society said it was fine, it wasn’t. But how can that be? Only if there is a law above human law. If there is no God, then what any society says is right, is right – there’s nothing beyond us – we are the highest authority, we are the ultimate standard. But the moment you say that a society was wrong, you are saying there is a law that is binding upon us that we didn’t invent, and the only source for that is God.

The anger that has exploded across our world is an anger that can only be fuelled by the reality of objective human value and objective moral duties, and that means that people can only justify their anger if they acknowledge the reality of God.