Sunday, October 23, 2011

Moral Relativism

By My Annonymous Friend

I watched a documentary yesterday telling the story of the Canadian military in Afghanistan. At one point the narrator opened a window to his mind and world view when he stated that Afghanistan created a problem for him intellectually. He said that he was raised to believe in a morally relative world where distinctions between right and wrong, or good or evil, were blurred or perhaps non existent. It is true that this view is prominent in western culture. A Zogby poll some years ago showed that 75% of American college professors teach and believe that there is no such a thing as right or wrong. Individuals and cultures must make decisions about what is right or wrong for them. This is how we hear statements like "I decide what is right for me!" or, "This is my truth!" A variation of this thinking is an absurdity I sometimes offer in jest – "I stand up for the truth whether it is right or wrong!"

Back to the Afghan documentary. Why did the narrator face an intellectual dilemma? The reason he cited is that is that he could not explain the Taliban who restrict education, force women into despicable life styles, blow up historic and religious shrines and monuments, and so on. I smiled when I heard him talk about this. Of course he faced a troubling situation. The world he was told existed was in reality a different kind of world. Some have said that moral relativists in fact see the world more as they would like it to be rather than how it is in fact. I think that is true. For many moral absolutism is annoying and interferes with how they live. I commend the narrator for his honesty!

I am aware that I have selected a major and very serious topic. There is a great deal in ancient philosophy and religion about the topic of good and evil. It is for some a reason to believe that God does not exist because if He is a good God then He could not allow evil to exist. This argument has an answer. In Taoism, the ying and yang concept is an effort to show that there is a complementarity between good and evil. I reject this way of thinking as well.

Today's disciples of moral relativism claim that tolerance and neutrality are their virtues. For example, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America once stated, "…teaching morality doesn't mean imposing my moral values on others. It means sharing wisdom, giving reasons for believing as I do - and then trusting others to think and judge for themselves." She claims to be morally neutral, but this is categorically untrue. Recent talks about defunding Planned Parenthood have been met with howls of protests and incredibly dishonest propaganda. Those who promote abortions are in no mood to hear the arguments of those who value the life of the unborn. Here is another example of supposed tolerance and neutrality. I found it amusing and also disappointing that a recent climate change (it is now embarrassing to call it “global warming”) conference refused to allow a leading British author and skeptic of this politically fashionable theory to speak at a conference on climate change. So much for tolerance!

Our society is paying a huge price for the false teaching of moral relativism. Contrast today's world with the thinking of George Washington. In his September 19, 1796 Farewell Address to the nation, George Washington stated, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars."

William McGuffey, author of the McGuffey's Readers, which were used by students in America's public school system from the early 1800's to the early 1900's, wrote, "Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man." McGuffey's ideas are being validated every day when we watch the evening news!

God is not the author of evil! Mankind was given a choice and chose evil. Ever since, humans have been born with both an evil nature and an evil desire. I marvel that it is not necessary to teach small children to be naughty, mean-spirited, to fight with each other, to take away each other's toys, and so on. Even my angelic children, and now grandchildren, seem to take to all these kinds of behaviors with ease. As we continue in life, we continue to make wrong and hurtful choices at times which have horrible consequences.

I commend the honesty and integrity of the narrator of the documentary I saw. Would that others in our society would honestly examine the world in which we live and question their presuppositions and theories. Moral relativism has serious flaws. It cannot answer for the behavior of brutal regimes like the Taliban and others. Nor can it answer for the evil nature that is present in each of us as well.

The great news is that God has an answer for evil. Without compromising His own righteousness and perfection, He established a way for forgiveness and restoration to be possible. This was accomplished by asking His Son, a perfect and thus legally acceptable sacrifice, to assume all the guilt of humanity by dying. Now the offer of salvation and forgiveness has solid philosophical and theological grounds. Justice and mercy were perfectly combined on the Cross.


  1. Great post. I especially liked the McGuffey Reader's quote: Quite prophetic.

  2. We are all engaged in a war within our human bodies. We must fight evil forces every day. God Bless You.


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