“With no fact as a referent, what is normative is purely a matter of preference.” – Ravi Zacharias
Our world is on a slide, and with the slow death of moral absolutism, we are ever closer to the abyss. With increasing frequency, we are taught that moral relativism is the premier progressive philosophy. Rather than the root of the tree feeding the branches, we are taught that the branches can, and should survive on their own. Most of us understand that a branch must remain connected to the tree in order to survive, but when it comes to understanding the root of our moral code, that logic has been erased in favor of a code which gives us more freedom to do what we want, at the expense of reason, and ultimately sanity.
Richard Dawkins is one of the leaders of the philosophy of moral relativism. His work pushes the argument that man must not take our moral cues from God, but that man’s morality comes from his societal surroundings, his culture. Relativism, as defined by Google, is “the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute.”
Relativism sounds incredibly sexy, especially to young minds. It gives them the right to do whatever they please, without any hint of moral consequences. It also allows them to choose their own personal evils. It’s a playground of morality in which we are kings, and queens.
Recently, Richard Dawkins Tweeted a response to a woman who brought up the “dilemma” of whether or not to abort a child with Down’s syndrome. His response was that it is morally wrong to allow a child with Down’s syndrome to be born.
“Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
Dawkins’ response has created a stir in the news. As I am a moral absolutist, and am ardently pro-life, his answer disturbs me, but I’m not sure why it’s disturbing to everyone else. For those who are moral relativists, the notion of aborting a fetus solely because it has a disability shouldn’t be groundbreaking.
Relativistic morality cannot make judgements on other moralities, because, as it is relative, it has no anchor. There is no high ground from which to declare what is right, and what is wrong. When your morality comes from your own heart, what comes from the hearts of others is equally valid. Everyone is on a level playing field, and no one can call reference to their own authority because every authority has equal value. If one is to take the moral high ground, there’s is the burden of proof.
Given the diverse, and ambiguous nature of relative morality, abortion—no matter the reasoning behind it—cannot be called into question. One abortion is as valid as another. To abort a child for purposes of convenience is no better or worse than to abort a child because it has been prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.
The problem with moral relativism is that it extends to all aspects of life. Were I to murder someone, a moral relativist could not pass judgment on me. The relativist would have to explain to me why murder was wrong, and in their explanation, not call to a higher power, or moral code of some kind. It is their code against mine. They could tell me that morality is based on cultural preferences, and that murder is culturally considered evil. But that brings up the question of time, and differing cultures. In some cultures, female genital mutilation is the accepted practice. In America, it is not. What does that mean for the morality of genital mutilation? Is it evil, or is it acceptable? There was a time when slavery was the accepted practice. Does that mean that at the time, it was a morally acceptable practice? If culture defines morality, then the answer is an unequivocal yes.
Given that, aborting a child because it has been prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome cannot be any less moral than aborting a child because you simply don’t want it. Yet the self-proclaimed progressive relativists of our time are outraged by Dawkins’ suggestion that the infant be aborted.
Lastly, Dawkins suggesting that not aborting would be immoral is ludicrous. As a relativist, he has no authority to proclaim what is and is not moral. Yet, he makes proclamations. He is as hypocritical as those who condemn his comment regarding abortion.
Moral relativism is an incoherent and wildly dangerous philosophy that many people unknowingly adhere to. They don’t believe in a higher power, or if they do, it is merely an extension of their heart’s rule. They live on the principles that they themselves have created, and condemn those whom they have judged to be immoral. Yet their morality is just as fluid as the moralities of those whom they condemn. Most don’t realize that they are the bearers of an asinine and arbitrary philosophy.
There is only one way to ensure moral cohesion, and it is thorough Christ.