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For several decades America has been fed a steady diet of moral relativity, going back beyond Joseph Fletcher's Situation Ethics (1966). The teaching is that there are no moral absolutes. The theory contradicts itself in its opening statement, because one must absolutely accept that there are no moral absolutes. But, aside from its self-contradiction, the ethical philosophy asserts that morals are personal and individual. What is right for one person may not be right for another and what is sinful to one person may not be sinful to another. Each person becomes a moral law to himself and one cannot make absolute moral judgments.
Despite assertions that one believes in moral relativity, no one practices it consistently. Try applying moral relativity to such politically charged issues as racism. Does anyone believe that our media would tolerate moral relativity on racism? Is racism sinful for some individuals but acceptable for others? Is each individual allowed to decide for himself whether or not he will be racist and then everyone told not to judge (condemn) each other? Are we taught to be tolerant of racists or that racists shold be tolerant of those of us who choose not to be racists? In an era of moral relativity, the consistent application of the moral dictum would be acceptance and tolerance of racists and racism. But, the fact is that no one can practice moral relativity consistently. There are always some things that the moral relativist wants to say are always wrong -- whether it be racism or homophobia.
What moral relativism is reacting to is the Christian moral standard that teaches that ethics are determined by the revelation of God's Will. The moral relativist cannot accept that God revealed Himself and gave absolute moral laws to govern human conduct.
Nowhere is the conflict between moral relativity and Christianity more in conflict
than in sexual ethics. The New Testament condemns as sinful fornication (1 Cor.
6:12-20), adultery (Rom. 13:9), homosexuality (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:9,10), lustful
leering (Matt. 5:27,28), etc. Modern ethics in America treat fornication as
a rite of passage for those who enter puberty. Monogamy is thought to be its
own punishment (because one does not "enjoy" sexual experiences with
whomever he wishes). Homosexuality is the natural sexual expression of a segment
of the population which is "programed" differently than the majority
of humanity. One is to be concerned, not about homosexuality, but homophobia.
Pornography is protected under the first amendment rights and men are expected
look lustfully upon naked women. The Christian and moral relativism are two world views with conflicting ethics.
The result of modern relativity is that nothing is right or wrong. Who can unequivocally say that murdering a human being is wrong (think about abortion)? Who can say that stealing is always wrong? Who can say that adultery is sinful? Who can say drinking alcoholic beverages or experimenting with marijuana is wrong? On the other hand, who can say that loving one's neighbor is right and good, that helping the needy is a moral virtue, that honesty and marital fidelity are good? Are they not also just one's personal choice? The problem of moral relativity is that the philosophy blurs the lines between good and evil.
This blurring of moral standards has weakened society. Abortion on demand has led to disrespect for human life. Our society is actually arguing about whether or not partial birth abortions should be legal! In this reprehensible act, a doctor pulls a late-term baby out of the womb feet first until little but the head is inside the mother. Then he pokes forceps through the baby's skull and uses an instrument to suck out the brains and crush the skull. And our enlightened society cannot see anything wrong with the practice! The same moral relativity that introduced abortion on demand is now fighting for legalized euthanasia. Disrespect for life on both ends -- at birth and at the end of life -- has led to disrespect for life in the middle. We live in a society of drive-by shootings and almost nightly murders in major cities because a drug deal went bad or two people living together got in a fight. Our society is breeding pedophiles and child abusers.
Not until men become convinced that something is broken will they look for
its cure. At the present, the majority seem to think that the moral relativity
approach to ethics is better then the ethics of Christianity. But, men do not
have to learn to be content in the society which is. There can be a better
The good news of the gospel is that society can be changed through the influence of the preaching of the gospel. Men and women can be taught moral responsibility to their Creator and given the revelation from God that reveals what is right and wrong. Men can be held accountable for their disobedience to God's Word with reference to "thou shalt not kill" (even with respect to abortion) the same as they are held accountable for their disobedience to the command, "Thou shalt not steal."
Those of us who were raised in an America that was deeply influenced by Christian ethics can remember the days when we left home without locking our doors, parked our car with the windows down because of how hot it was, thought that one who was unfaithful to his mate in marriage was guilty of immorality, and expected children to be reared by both of their natural parents. What was can become what is, if one will reject the world view of our age with its relative ethics and return to the Christian world view with its ethical teachings. What kind of society do you wish for your children and grandchildren?
By Mike Willis in Truth Magazine, Vol. 51, No. 3, March 2007.
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