I heard on the radio recently that only one-third of Americans believe in absolute moral truth. It made me think of people I have heard about who committed terrible crimes, and when asked if they thought what they did was wrong they responded by saying that the concept of “wrong” or “moral” is relative.
That answer is likely what most of these criminals were taught in high school and college, and certainly represents what a growing segment of our society believes. Moral relativism is a philosophy that teaches that truth is subject to each person’s interpretation of it, and that morality should not be dictated. Even back in the 1970s, when I was in elementary school, I remember being taught that ethics might need to be modified depending on the situation, thus the term “situational ethics.”
If you asked the victims of various crimes if what their perpetrators did was wrong, they would rightfully scream, “Yes!” But according to the misguided logic of humanist thinking, who gave those victims the lordly right to determine what is right and wrong? But the epitome of hypocrisy is a society that promotes moral relativism but then condemns someone to prison for buying into that lie. I’m not saying that people who break the law shouldn’t be held accountable for their behavior. But isn’t it interesting how our society doesn’t seem to want any accountability for anything — until someone gets hurt.
Well, you can’t have it both ways.
Either there are clear standards of right and wrong that provide strength and stability to our society and protection for its citizens, or we have moral anarchy where everyone makes their own rules, the final result of which would be utter and complete chaos.
OK, then; who gets to make the rules of what is morally right and wrong?
I believe our forefathers answered that question correctly when they looked to a higher power to guide them in law and morality. The holy Bible was very instrumental in forming the laws that helped forge the most powerful and prosperous empire the world has ever known. And as our society now abandons those biblical standards, this is the result: people doing obviously wicked things and then justifying them by saying that morality and truth are relative.
What I find rather humorous about the logic of moral relativists is that they say there is no absolute truth, and they state that absolutely. So then, if there is no absolute truth, then why do they hold to their arguments with such ardent devotion as if they are absolutely true? Again, hypocrisy.
The infamous Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVey, who murdered 168 innocent men, women and children when he bombed a government building in 1995, made a chilling statement just before his execution. He said he was glad he did what he did, and if given the chance he would do it again. McVey’s twisted mind was the result, in part at least, of humanistic indoctrination. He believed that truth and morality are relative. This is the kind of behavior that situational ethics and moral relativism ultimately leads to in the most extreme cases. Therefore, relativists have no right to cry foul if one of their daughters happens to be victimized by someone whose conscience has been seared by the hot iron of their own perverse philosophy of moral relativism.
There is indeed a standard of morality dictated by the one who made this world. And those who will not concede to that truth must answer how anyone can possibly justify acts like murder, rape, torture, slavery, genocide and other horrific crimes against mankind, even if those things were part of a culture or upbringing, such as in the cases of indigenous tribes who perform human sacrifice, for example. Since human sacrifice is part of the culture of some people groups in the world, a moral relativist is forced to believe, then, that human sacrifice is OK depending on the culture.
However, the God who made this world and dictates standards of morality to mankind says that there are certain things that we already know intuitively regarding good and evil, because he has written those laws on the heart of every person. Thus, no one can claim ignorance before him.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” — Romans 1:18-20
Andy Robbins is senior pastor at Blessed Life Fellowship in Columbus. Please send comments to [email protected].