In my final installment on objective morality, let me conclude with a very practical summary.
If you want to converse with a moral relativist you need to understand…
What is moral relativism?
Remember moral relativism teaches that right and wrong is determined by the beliefs of an individual or society. The majority of relativists believe society determines morality.
How to use the arguments against their viewpoint
Once you establish a person is a moral relativist begin with the first question:
- If you believe all morals are relative, then do you believe what Hitler did by exterminating 6 million Jews was wrong? Watch them squirm. This is always my first question to a relativist. I did this to my relativist older sister and her husband. They both said they didn’t like the fact Hitler murdered over 6 million Jews. I then said was is it wrong for everyone, everywhere and at all times, to murder millions of innocent people? They again told me they didn’t like what Hitler did. I again said to them, I am not interested in what you like or don’t like, I just want to know if it was wrong for Hitler to do that. Finally, my sister’s husband Rich said, Steve you are manipulating us. I asked how and he said he didn’t know. Bottom line this is a killer question to ask.
- Follow that question with this one: If killing Jews is the moral view of that society, then saving Jews is immoral. Is that your view?
- Next question: If moral relativism is true, who is your moral hero? Let them know it is a sociopath and most sociopaths are in prison. Do you want to follow a moral system that promotes a sociopath as their moral hero?
- Finally, show them no one can live consistently as a moral relativist. Use an illustration, such as stealing something from them, to demonstrate this truth.
How to answer objections to objective morality
- Remember just because societies seem to have different moralities it doesn’t mean objective moral truth doesn’t exist.Usually, it isn’t a problem of different moral truths; it’s a problem of facts. Give them the cow example.
- Explain how when 2 moral absolutes conflict with each other you make a decision and choose the higher moral value. Just because they come into conflict doesn’t argue against the existence of objective morality.
- Show them why morality couldn’t have evolved. Explain how morality couldn’t be hardwired and that evolutionists are relativists.
This idea of making up your own morality is very appealing to people. Many people are attracted to relativism because it allows them to live any way they want to. They only want to follow their own rules. This is especially true in the area of sex. Relativists sense God is a cosmic killjoy and wants to keep them from having all the sexual fun they can have. Having multiple sexual partners are much more fun than having sex only inside the confines of marriage.
Once you understand this, you’ll understand why they tenaciously cling to their viewpoint and refuse to give it up even they are shown to be wrong. They want moral relativism to be true so they can live according to their desires. However, some like Mahito will be honest enough to admit they are wrong. We can then share arguments why true morality comes from God and is revealed in the Bible.
If you want more information I have some resources listed below. My encouragement to you is to learn this material. If you only remember the Hitler example, you still have a powerful argument against moral relativism. I have used these materials with lots of people; this is not difficult to do. Everyone reading this blog can do this.
- Relativism feet firmly planted in mid-air by Greg Koukl & Frank Beckwith
- Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
- Total Truth by Nancy Pearcy
- Stand to Reason web site: www.str.org