The Truth is Relative Fallacy

“Rape is okay when…”, he couldn’t answer it.

When asked to complete the sentence, “Taking pleasure in cruelty to children is okay when…”, he couldn’t answer that one either.

Then he blurted out that such things although not right for him, in someone else’s opinion would be ok.

When asked, “If you saw someone doing such a thing, would you stand back and say, ‘That’s not okay with me, but I’m not going to interfere because it’s okay with the other guy, and he’s entitled to his own opinion’, or would you object and assist the one being assaulted?”, he began to see the fallacy of his world view!”

– Michael Robson

The Two Religions

If you survey the religious landscape of modern culture, you will encounter an astonishingly diverse range of views. But beneath the surface, these seemingly disparate spiritualities share a common worldview, one that is radically opposed to the Christian faith. In the final analysis, there can be only two religions—worship of the Creator or worship of creation.

On September 30, in a Google Hangout, Dr. Peter Jones, the Executive Director of truthXchange, discussed his new Ligonier teaching series, Only Two Religions. You can watch this below.

The Law without Law

In an insightful and yet pithy article entitled the idea that there are no transcendent, binding rules for right and wrong that all humans are morally required to submit to, is that it allows us to live in peace. That is, if you have your ethics, and I have my ethics, well then there is no real need for us to fight over whose ethic wins. (So long, as, of course, our lives never actually cross.) The real value is far more sinister. We find ethical relativism appealing because we find our own guilt unappealing. Though we seek to suppress such knowledge, we all know that God is, that He is holy, that we are not, and that we are in trouble. Not the kind of pleasant thoughts one wants to go to sleep thinking on, so we suppress that truth. Do away with ethics and we do away with His holiness, our guilt, and therefore our trouble.

Trouble is, we don’t live in our own solipsistic bubbles. Our worlds do collide. Consider the case of Jason Collins, the NBA player who recently announced in Sports Illustrated, that he engages in sexual acts with men. On the one hand we are not supposed to judge him. After all, there is no transcendent standard that says men should only take their pants off with their wives. On the other hand, we are supposed to not judge him. Wait. How did that get in there? Sodomy is fine because there is no moral standard we all must meet. But we must all approve sodomy because there is a moral standard we all must meet. Says who? If there is no transcendent moral standard by which we must condemn sexual perversion, where did this transcendent moral standard come from, that insists we must not condemn sexual perversion? Somebody is imposing their own ethic here, and it’s not the Christians.

Jason Collins is the first male professional athlete to admit he mistreats men. For that he has received magazine covers, applause from the entire Good Morning American television crew, congratulatory phone calls from the first lady, and a thumbs up from her husband. Where, I am left wondering, was all this for the first male professional athlete to admit he mistreats dogs? Where was the Michael Vick coming out party? I want to live in a world where dog fighters need no longer live in fear and shame. How many young dog fighters could have been set free from unspoken bigotry if the world had simply affirmed Michael when he bravely acknowledged his habits? It’s a cold world when a dog fighter can’t be affirmed in what he is.

That’s different? Why? Because dogs can’t give their consent, while Mr. Collins’ victim and victimizers can and do? So who made consent the magic word? (And is it really that magic? What about adult incest? Will we celebrate our diversity, and hand Jackie Robinson’s mantle to the first professional athlete to come out of the adult incest closet?) Why does consent make all personal moral decisions now become transcendently sound moral decisions? Did God say consent is the key? Or was that just some men? And if other men disagree? Why is consent privileged, thereby making child molesters suddenly become evil? By what standard?

Ethical relativism is not merely absurd. It is instead that tool by which God’s judgments are not just banished, but judged as beyond the pale. The end game isn’t “Nobody gets to affirm right and wrong” but “You Christians may not affirm right and wrong.” Which is why sexual perverts do not merely ask for tolerance but demand affirmation. Their own worldview won’t allow it, but when has that ever stopped them?

Seven Fatal Flaws of Moral Relativism

Seven Fatal Flaws of Moral Relativism

Greg Koukl is a Christian apologist, radio talk show host, author and blogger in Los Angeles, California. He is the founder of Stand To Reason, a Christian evangelical organization dedicated to the articulation and defense of the Christian worldview.

Concerning moral relativism he writes:

Moral relativism is a type of subjectivism which holds that moral truths are preferences much like our tastes in ice-cream. Moral relativism teaches that when it comes to morals, that which is ethically right or wrong, people can and should do what ever feels right for them. Ethical truths depend on the individuals, groups and cultures who hold them. Because they believe that ethical truth is subjective, the words ought and should are meaningless because everybody’s morality is equal; no one has a claim to an objective morality that is incumbent on others. Relativism does not require a particular standard of behaviour for every person in similar moral situations. When faced with exactly the same ethical situation, one person may choose one response while another may choose the opposite. No universal rules of conduct apply to everyone.

Flaw 1

Moral relativists can’t accuse others of wrongdoing. Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behaviour of others, because relativism ultimately denies such a thing a ‘wrongdoing’. If one believes that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you surrender the possibility of making objective moral judgments about the actions of others, no matter how offensive they are to your intuitive sense of right or wrong. This means that a relativist cannot rationally object to murder, rape, child abuse, racism, sexism or environmental destruction if those actions are consistent with the perpetrator’s personal moral understanding of what is right and good. When right and wrong are a matter of personal choice, we surrender the privilege of making moral judgments about the actions of others. However if we are certain that some things must be wrong and that some judgments against another’s conduct are justified – then relativism is false.

Flaw 2

Relativists can’t complain about the problem of evil. The reality of evil in the world is one of the first objections raised against the existence of God. This entire objection hinges on the observation that true evil exists. Objective evil cannot exist if moral values are relative to the observer. Relativism is inconsistent with the concept that true moral evil exists because it denies that anything can be objectively wrong. If there is no moral standard, then there can be no departure from the standard. Thus relativists must surrender the concept of true evil and, ironically, must also surrender the problem of evil as an argument against the existence of God.

Flaw 3

Relativists can’t place blame or accept praise. Relativism renders the concepts of praise and blame meaningless, because no external standard of measurement defines what should be applauded or condemned. Without absolutes, nothing is ultimately bad, deplorable, tragic or worthy of blame. Neither is anything ultimately good, honourable, noble or worthy of praise. Relativists are almost always inconsistent here, because they seek to avoid blame, but readily accept praise. Since morality is a fiction, so too relativists must remove the words praise and blame from their vocabularies. If the notions of praise and blame are valid, then relativism is false.

Flaw 4

Relativists can’t make charges of unfairness or injustice. Under relativism, the notions of fairness and justice are incoherent as both concepts dictate that people should receive equal treatment based on some agreed external standard. However relativism does away with any notion of external binding standards. Justice entails punishing those who are guilty of a misdemeanour. But under relativism, guilt and blame do not exist – if nothing is ultimately immoral, there is no blame and therefore no guilt worthy of punishment. If relativism is true, then there is no such thing as justice or fairness because both concepts depend on an objective standard of what is right. If the notions of justice and fairness make sense, then relativism is defeated.
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