How Do We Explain Moral Relativism?

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If no set of moral ideas were truer or better than any other,
there would be no sense in preferring civilized morality to
savage morality, or Christian morality to Nazi morality.
– C. S. Lewis

If all positions are of equal intellectual merit,
then cannibalism is only a matter of taste.
– Pope Benedict XVI

A system of morality which is bases on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.
– Socrates

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely relative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t. Deconstruction deconstructs itself, and disappears up its own behind, leaving only a disembodied smile and a faint smell of sulphur.
– Roger Scruton

The assumption that all ideas are equally true is false. Philosophically it is very easy to demonstrate that falsity. Any society however sincere that believes in the equality of all ideas will pave the way for the loss of the good ones.
– Ravi Zacharias

If you depart from moral absolutes, you go into a bottomless pit. Communism and Nazism were catastrophic evils which both derived from moral relativism. Their differences were minor compared to their similarities.
– Paul Johnson

If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, we Fascists conclude that we have the right to create our own ideology and to enforce it with all the energy of which we are capable.
– Benito Mussolini

No culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived.
Our own culture, therefore, will either:
(1) be the first, and disprove history’s clearest lesson, or
(2) persist in its relativism and die, or
(3) repent of its relativism and live.
There is no other option.
– Peter Kreeft

How Do We Explain Injustice?

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My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? …Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too—for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies.

— C. S. Lewis,
Mere Christianity

There Is No Other Option

Rome burning

No culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived. Our own culture, therefore, will either (1) be the first, and disprove history’s clearest lesson, or (2) persist in its relativism and die, or (3) repent of its relativism and live. There is no other option. No culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived. Our own culture, therefore, will either (1) be the first, and disprove history’s clearest lesson, or (2) persist in its relativism and die, or (3) repent of its relativism and live. There is no other option.

–Peter Kreeft

We Need a Fixed Point

cms-image-Sextant-000001450In determining relationships we must begin somewhere. There must be somewhere a fixed center against which everything else is measured, where the law of relativity does not enter and we can say “IS” and make no allowances. Such a center is God. When God would make His Name known to mankind He could find no better word than “I AM.” When He speaks in the first person He says, “I AM”; when we speak of Him we say, “He is”; when we speak to Him we say, “Thou art.” Everyone and everything else measures from that fixed point. “I am that I am,” says God, “I change not.”

As the sailor locates his position on the sea by “shooting” the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God. We must begin with God. We are right when and only when we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far and so long as we stand in any other position.

–A. W. Towzer,
The Pursuit of God

The Erosion of Meaning

foundation

No great, inspiring culture of the future can be built upon the moral principle of relativism. For at its bottom such a culture holds that nothing is better than anything else, and that all things are in themselves equally meaningless. Except for the fragments of faith (in progress, in compassion, in conscience, in hope) to which it still clings, illegitimately, such a culture teaches every one of its children that life is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing.

–Michael Novak

The Closing of the American Mind Revisited

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Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind . . . was a real sensation and a surprise bestseller.

. . . He said out loud what liberal elite culture could only regard as heresy: The supposed idealism of the 1960s was, in fact, a new barbarism. Whatever moral and spiritual seriousness the long tradition of American pragmatism had left intact in university life, the anti-culture of the left destroyed…

The result? Higher education has become, argued Bloom, the professional training of clever and sybaritic animals, who drink, vomit, and fornicate in the dorms by night while they posture critically and ironically by day. Bloom identified moral relativism as dogma that blessed what he called “the civilized reanimalization of man.” He saw a troubling, dangerous, and soulless apathy that pleasured itself prudently with passing satisfactions (“Always use condoms!” says the sign by the dispenser in the bathroom) but was moved by no desire to know good or evil, truth or falsehood, beauty or ugliness.

. . . students could master material with amazing speed. They could discuss brilliantly. They could write effective, well-researched papers. But they possessed an amazing ability to understand without being moved, to experience without judging, to self-consciously put forward their own convictions as mere opinions. On the whole, they seemed to have interior lives of Jell-O…

[It is] difficult to induce students to take a passionate and rational interest in fundamental questions. Students are either soulless creatures, or they recuse their souls from any contact with reason and argument. This phenomenon was what troubled Allan Bloom, and this is why he wrote The Closing of the American Mind.

–R. R. Reno,
http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2007/02/the-closing-of-the-american-mi