The Dangers of Moral Relativism to the Ethical Landscape

In today’s rapidly changing world, the concept of moral relativism has gained significant traction. This philosophy asserts that no universal, absolute moral law applies to everyone at all times and places.

Instead, moral relativism suggests that morality is subjective and dependent on individual perspectives and cultural norms. While this idea may seem appealing on the surface, it is crucial to understand the dangers that moral relativism poses to society and the ethical landscape.

Thus, moral relativists disregard any accountability to any law, including the absolute law of the Word of God.

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Judges 17:6

The foundation of moral relativism.

Moral relativism originates in rejecting absolute moral standards and the belief that morality constantly evolves. This perspective often stems from the theory of evolution, which suggests that humanity has evolved physically, and so too have our morals and ethics. According to moral relativism, there is no fixed certainty or objective truth in the realm of morality.

The contradiction within relativist arguments.

While moral relativists argue for the relativity of moral values, their arguments often fall into logical contradictions. They propose a “right” moral scheme that everyone should follow, which inherently contradicts the idea of relativism.

Moreover, even self-proclaimed relativists reject relativism in certain cases, such as when it comes to condemning heinous acts like murder or rape. This selective application of relativism undermines its credibility.

Cultural relativism and its flaws.

Cultural relativism is a common argument used by moral relativists, asserting that different cultures have different values and, therefore, morality is relative to each culture. However, this argument confuses individual actions with absolute standards.

If culture determines right and wrong, how can we objectively judge cultures like the Nazis who committed atrocities based on their own moral framework? The existence of universal moral principles becomes apparent when we consider that diverse cultures still share a common morality, albeit with variations in practices.

The fallacy of situational morality.

Some proponents of moral relativism claim that morality changes based on different situations. They argue that what may be considered right in one situation may not be right in another.

However, moral decision-making involves assessing the situation, the act, and the intention. While circumstances may influence the specific moral act chosen, the underlying universal principles remain constant. For example, attempted murder is still morally wrong, regardless of the outcome.

The illusion of tolerance.

Moral relativists often appeal to the concept of tolerance, asserting that telling someone their morality is wrong is intolerant. However, this argument is misleading.

Tolerance should never extend to evil, such as tolerating a pedophile’s view that children are objects of abuse. Furthermore, relativists themselves do not tolerate intolerance or absolutism, undermining their claim to embrace all views.

The very notion of tolerance is based on an absolute moral rule that advocates fair treatment of others, highlighting the presence of universal moral principles.

The inherent conscience and shared morality.

Regardless of cultural or individual differences, all humans are born with a conscience and an innate sense of right and wrong. From childhood, we instinctively recognize the concepts of fairness and justice. This inherent understanding of morality suggests that there is an objective moral framework that transcends cultural and individual variations. It takes a distorted worldview to convince us otherwise and embrace moral relativism.

The search for objective standards.

Moral relativists face a significant challenge in providing a satisfactory answer to the question of objective moral standards. Without an unchanging standard to reference, recognize, and have absolute authority to impose moral obligations, moral relativism reduces ethics to mere personal preferences.

For example, without a universally valid standard, it becomes impossible to deem actions like rape as objectively wrong. The search for objective moral standards within the framework of moral relativism leads to a dead end.

The Christian worldview as an alternative.

In contrast to moral relativism, the Christian worldview offers a solid foundation for morality. Christians believe in a God who has revealed Himself through His Word, providing a clear standard and authority for moral principles.

God’s nature, characterized by truth, holiness, righteousness, goodness, and justice, is the ultimate reference point for distinguishing right from wrong. Humans, created in God’s image, possess an innate understanding of His moral law, even if they deny Him. Denying this transcendent source of morality leads to a world where everything becomes permissible.

We must base our morality on the Word of God, not culture, personal opinions, or situations. Culture, personal opinions, and situations can change, but God’s Word is constant.

Therefore, the Christian worldview is that the Word of God is the standard of morality.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalms 19:7-8

The consequences of moral relativism.

Moral relativism can have severe consequences for individuals and society as a whole. When moral absolutes are rejected, personal desires and cultural norms become the sole determinants of right and wrong. This opens the door to subjective interpretations and moral justifications that can lead to unethical behavior.

The financial and banking industry meltdown of 2007-2008 is a stark example of the dangers of relative morality in action. Those who embraced relative morality based on their philosophy and business ethics courses engaged in deceptive practices, causing devastating consequences for others. Interestingly, even staunch moral relativists expressed outrage and demanded punishment for these unethical actions, exposing their beliefs’ inconsistency.

When a society turns its back on God and His Word, it always produces the downfall and destruction of the people’s morality.

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Psalms 9:17

Moral relativism poses significant dangers to society by rejecting absolute moral standards. While it may initially seem appealing to embrace subjective morality, moral relativism ultimately fails to provide a solid foundation for ethics. The inherent contradictions and flaws within relativist arguments, as well as the search for objective moral standards, highlight the fallacies of this philosophy.

In contrast, the Christian worldview offers a coherent and objective moral framework rooted in the character of God. Understanding the dangers of moral relativism is crucial in navigating the ethical landscape and promoting a society based on universal moral principles.

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