Situational ethics and cultural relativism are all the rage nowadays.
Both schools of thought are based on the multi-faceted premise that there is no absolute truth; nothing is fundamentally right or wrong but is merely a matter of personal preferences and our conduct should be driven by each unique situation rather than some arbitrary forced moral code.
We’ve all heard the popular statement and current buzz phrase, “Every person needs to define right and wrong for him or herself.”
That all sounds good, inclusive, warm, tolerant and politically correct, but there is one problem with that premise – it doesn’t work in real life.
If you truly believe there are no absolutes and “right and wrong” are merely societal/cultural constructs that are foisted upon the masses to keep them under control than I would like to ask you one question…..
“Right now, is there ANYONE you can think of in the entire world doing things that you believe they should stop doing regardless of their own personal justification for their conduct?”
If you are intellectually honest with yourself the only answer is “Yes.” All of us can think of people or individuals who are committing atrocities around the globe or around the corner.
Whether it’s torturing a political prisoner; abusing a child; committing wide-scale genocide; routinely driving drunk; violently raping someone; cheating on taxes or a spouse; writing a book to legally protect pedophilia; poaching an endangered species or any other of a thousand different heinous acts – we can identify people who do these things and we want them to stop.
If you answered “Yes” to that question above and agree that there are individuals who are doing things that you want them to stop doing – doesn’t that mean you DO believe in some kind of moral reality?
Isn’t that moral reality larger and higher than the wants and feelings of any single individual – or society for that matter?
The founders of this country thought so, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
While anyone can concoct extreme outlier examples that may pose as weak rationalizations against morality, it stands to reason that life, liberty, human dignity (among others) are absolute truths that can’t be morphed to fit the shifting whims of personal political correctness.
Q: Do you believe that there are moral absolutes? Why or why not?