The Significance of the Parable

What is the significance of the parable about little Dave the emotivist?

Well it might help us to understand why so few young people are interested in the Christian faith in the UK today. Emotivism has captivated their hearts and imaginations.

Emotivism can be explained in the following way. Something called 'science' gives us the 'facts' and this is the proper sphere of hard, 'objective' knowledge. Young western citizens are often taught to distinguish between 'facts' on the one hand and 'opinions' or 'feelings' on the other hand from an early age. A fact is often defined as a statement that can be 'proven true'. Here are some facts.

  • The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall.
  • The Empire State Building has 6,500 windows.
  • The Empire State Building weighs 300,000 metric tonnes.

Emotivists contend that moral judgments do not communicate assertions that can be either true or false. Moral judgments, such as – 'cannibalism is wrong' – merely express our feelings of approval or disapproval. The emotive theory of ethics was first put forward by a native of Scotland named David Hume in the 18th century and was aggressively propounded by A.J. Ayer and other European 'logical positivists' in the 20th century. At the end of the day ethics boils down to your feelings. Cannibals have nice feelings about eating human-beings (it tastes like pork) whereas Europeans and North Americans have nasty feelings about the issue (how revolting).

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