Is morality relative?
What does that question even mean?
Does morality change frequently or it is absolute & unchanging?
Put in the simplest terms possible, moral relativism is the belief that there are no objective moral statements – it’s the belief that all moral viewpoints are equally valid because they are subjectively based on a person’s or people’s culture, environment, life experiences and other contextual variables. For example, arranged marriages are commonplace in some parts of the world but are, for the most part, taboo in Western countries.
Over the last hundred years, this relativist view has gained considerable acceptance among academics, intellectuals and the public. A moral relativist sees the cultural and social context of a moral action as fundamentally relevant to whether the action is morally right or wrong. Moral relativism is associated with secularism and post-modernist critical theory.
Moral absolutism, on the other hand, is the belief that there are objective moral statements that exist independent of context or consequence. So, a moral absolutist believes that all actions are intrinsically either always right or always wrong. Period.
To some, this might seem like an esoteric issue unrelated to everyday life. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The values and moral principles of a civilization form the foundation that everything is built on. It’s also quite difficult to imagine how a religion would work without the existence of objective moral statements.
We need to speak the same moral language – whether religious, spiritual or atheistic. How do Christians engage in moral judgment if they have nothing universal to tether their moral compass to? The same question applies to atheists.
The presence or absence of objective moral standards is just as consequential for Christians as it is for secularists. If our conceptions of morality are axiomatically opposed, society’s problem-solving ability is crippled. When the target constantly moves, it’s difficult to hit.
If morality, as we’ve understood it for millennia, is nothing more than subjective cultural bias, we need to have a serious conversation about how to move forward.
Will our plight mirror Rome in 476 CE, consumed by the various barbarian hordes with no unified set of values or principles? Or, will a new moral world order emerge that dispenses with objective moral standards in favor of a more inclusive and elastic ethical creed?
There is a harsh, but necessary truth that we all have to stop ignoring.
There are certain cultures that espouse values that are fundamentally at odds with Western morality and principles.
If moral relativism continues to gain support, this politically correct orthodoxy will prevent anyone from trying to protect human rights in the name of objective moral values.
We cannot let this happen.