"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
There are no absolute truths…except that one
February 14, 2011Posted by on
The previous post stirred Kevin and I to begin to look at the issue of moral relativism. This is an issue that, not only permeates society at large, but also has reared its head more and more in the church. Many in the church have fallen prey to the idea that some things are okay. This is due to the acceptance of some things that are glorified or deemed acceptable to society. To stand up against these immoral values requires courage, and faith. Many Christians are afraid to take that stance, while others take their stance to an extreme. We touch on this topic in the very first post of this blog (No Shame + No Fear = No Apologizing).
As Christians, we are called to believe in an absolute moral authority and live by it. This
means that there is an ABSOLUTE right, and an ABSOLUTE wrong. Kevin and I understand the position that this creates. You might be saying “How can you say (insert moral value) is wrong?” My response…would be to ask you the exact same question you asked me.
Let’s back track a little… How do we know there are absolute moral values? The Bible says that Gods Word (i.e. moral law) is implanted in our hearts. These are the values that define whether a society is good or bad, or whether an action is right or wrong. Now, there are a number of absolute values listed in the Bible. A good place to start is at the Ten Commandments, and then end with New Testament. These echo the natural laws, the absolute values that are in grained in our hearts.
Think about it. How do you feel when someone lies to you? Do you feel wronged? What if someone stole from you, cheated on you, murdered someone you love… Do you feel wronged? You do! Why? Because God’s law is implanted in your heart. The best thing about God’s law is that it transcends society, it transcends cultures, and is transcends individualistic views.
Now let’s take a look at two of the more common arguments you would hear from a moral relativist.
- “Who are you to say what is right or what is wrong?” You will hear this frequently from a moral relativist. The bottom line is that as a Christian, we have the luxury of pointing to God’s Holy laws. They tell us what is right and what is wrong. If you ask a moral relativist this same question…their answers will vary, but some examples include: “what’s right for me is right for me and what’s right for you is right to you” and “society defines it.” The inherent flaw with this argument is that it is inconsistent and self-defeating. According to a moral relativist each individual or their society becomes the acceptable definer of morality. In which case, the values that Jeffery Dahmer had (for example) would have to be acceptable to moral relativists and what Hitler and his Nazi regime did would have to be okay (because they were the laws endorsed by his society and accepted by his culture) – Can see how this makes moral relativism untenable? Now an interesting spin on this is if you were to ask a moral relativist if they believe something like murder was wrong they would say “of course!” But then if you ask them on what grounds they base that, they have no answer that doesn’t contradict their own worldview. Since there is no absolute moral authority in their worldview, how can they come to the conclusion that anything (even something as serious as murder) is wrong? This is why many scholars have labeled the moral relativism as “feet planted in midair”. There is no foundation for a moral relativist to judge anything without first admitting there is a universal moral authority (which they cannot admit to and retain the arbitrary nature of their relativist claims). The truth is, they can say only with confidence that murder is wrong… unless they can affirm that there are absolute values.
- “There are no absolute truths”. I have heard this before. The key here is that this statement alone represents a truth (or law), as presented, by the moral relativist. This is natural contradiction, and can be immediately disregarded.
Now a couple of things that you need to think about if you fit the description of being a moral relativist.
- Following God and obeying his absolute moral law benefits us.
- Having a natural absolute moral law is the ONLY way to define those who are unrighteous. Who is that? It is the culture in general (2 Timothy 3:1-8), and ourselves (James 2:10).
- Since there is an absolute law from God…it reminds us that we need a savior or we face the consequences.
Fact: we will all be judged on the absolute moral authority of God.
Fact: The wages of those sins we commit is death. This means hell.
Fact: Christ paid for those sins through the crucifixion. He fulfilled this law (Matthew 5:17)
Jesus traded our unrighteousness for his perfection (Romans 5:8).
To deny an absolute moral law is to deny the fact that we need a savior. This problem doesn’t exist only for those who do not believe in God, but it also exists for professing Christians whose deny that absolute right and wrongs exist.
We all need salvation from sin. Christ is the only answer to that salvation.