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
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.
A professor said to his students: “Young men, play the game of life.” A student spoke up and said: “Sir, but there are no goal posts, there is nothing to shoot at.” Are there no goal posts? Nothing fixed in this moral and spiritual universe? No goal posts that are our guide posts? It is unthinkable. A meaningless universe would be a mean universe. And the god behind it would be a mean god, which would mean: no god.
–E. Stanley Jones
We typically don’t have to be told that murder, stealing, theft is immoral because it is self evident. God has written a transcendent moral law on our hearts so that we know that an objective moral standard exists. Without an objective standard, how can we truly measure whether an action is morally good or evil with objectivity? Some declare that morals are merely subjective and dependent on the individual person or society. However, when someone steals their car they’ll be the first complaining about how immoral stealing is. Just remind them, ‘that person must believe stealing is morally permissible so you really shouldn’t be upset’. Moral relativism is truly unlivable.
Most people don’t for a minute think that there are no objective standards of truth, rationality, and logic. . . [A] post-modern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unlivable. Nobody is a post-modernist when it comes to reading the labels on a medicine bottle versus a box of rat poison.
–William Lane Craig