There are no moral absolutes

What is moral relativism?



Moral relativism can be more easily understood in comparison to moral absolutism. Absolutism claims that morality is based on universal principles (laws of nature, conscience). Christian absolutism believes that God is the ultimate source of our usual morality, and that morality is unchangeable, just as God is unchangeable. Moral relativism claims that morality is not based on an absolute standard, but that ethical "truths" are based on variables such as situation, culture and one's feelings, etc.

We can say several things about the arguments for moral relativism which demonstrate their dubious approach. First, while many of the arguments in support of moral relativism sound good at first, there is a logical contradiction in all of the arguments because they all propose the "correct" moral code - the one we should all follow. But this argument alone is already absolutism and not relativism.

Second, most so-called relativists reject relativism itself. You would never say that a murderer or rapist is free from guilt until he has broken his own standards. Relativists argue that different values ​​among different cultures show that morality is relative for different people. But this argument messes up a person's act (what he does) with the absolute standard (what he should do). If culture determines what is right and wrong, then why could the Nazis be criticized and punished for their actions? After all, they actually only followed the morals of their current culture and legislation. Only when murder is viewed as universally wrong did the Nazis act wrong. The fact that they had "their morals" doesn't change that. In addition, many people have different practices of morality and still share a common understanding of morality. For example, abortion advocates and opponents of abortion agree that murder is wrong, but they disagree on whether abortion is murder. So even here it becomes clear that an absolute universal morality counts.

Some say that changing situations requires changing morals - different situations may require different actions that would be wrong in other situations. There are three criteria by which we must judge an action: the situation, the action, and the intention. For example, we can convict someone of attempted murder (intent) even if the murder (act) is unsuccessful. So situations are part of a moral decision because it establishes the context after a moral / immoral act is judged (the application of universal principles).

The main argument of the relativists is based on tolerance. They say that it is intolerant to tell someone that his / her morality is wrong; Relativism tolerates all views. But this is misleading. First, evil should never be tolerated. Should we tolerate a rapist's view that women are only there for the satisfaction of men? Second, relativists “shoot themselves in the knee” for not tolerating intolerance or absolutism. Third, relativists cannot explain why one should be tolerant in the first place. The fact that we should tolerate people (even if we disagree) stems from the absolute moral rule that we should always treat people fairly - but that's absolutism again! And there is no goodness in the world without universal moral principles.

It is certain that all people are born with a conscience and we instinctively know when we have done wrong or done wrong to others. We act this way because we know that others will see it too. Even as children, we know the difference between "fair" and "unfair". Not even a good philosophy can convince us that we are wrong about Christian moral absolutism and that moral relativism is true. English



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What is moral relativism?
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