The anthem of western civilization for the last 100 years could well be Frank Sinatra singing, “I did it my way.” Morality has become a matter of preference rather than principle. As the Creator God has been either denied or relegated to the closet of human thought, the Ten Commandments as absolute standards have also been rejected.
Indeed, if mankind had an impersonal beginning there is no basis for absolute standards of right and wrong. If we are nothing more than an evolved combination of forces and elements, then we must do what our genes tell us to do. Why question any action? Cruelty will occur in some cases and generosity in others and there is no difference. As a result of such thinking, we have fluid and ever-changing ethics. Abortion is justified. Euthanasia will shortly be acceptable. Sex in any combination and situation is promoted. How can rape be defined? How can pornography in a free-speech society be curbed? Gender becomes what I feel I am, male, female, transgender, whatever.
Moral freedom defined by personal preference rules. Hugh Heffner, founder of the Playboy empire who brags about having slept with 1000 women, told the Daily Telegraph “I’m a very
ethical guy. I’ve managed to live on the edge. But I’ve done it with a lot of class.” Without a glimmer of irony, he said, “Moderation is the key.” When individuals like Heffner manipulate morals these ethical choices become nothing more than subjective personal preferences. The results are outrageous.
When Woody Allen was challenged about having an affair with the adopted teenage daughter of his live-in partner, Mia Farrow, he defiantly replied, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” In other words, his heart’s desire determined what is good and his decision was no one else’s business.
As someone has said concerning letting feelings define sexuality: “Shouldn’t a 16-year-old teen-ager who identifies as a 21-year-old be allowed to purchase alcohol? Shouldn’t a 40-year-old who identifies as a 70-year-old receive social security and get a senior’s discount at the movie theatre? If we are going to identify people by their feelings, doesn’t anything go?”
But is moral relativism really morality at all? If there are no absolute, unchanging standards of right and wrong, why or how can we condemn human cruelty? On what basis can we condemn Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or ISIS?
These approaches to morality fly in the face of the innate sense among people of all cultures that certain things are right and others wrong. As Scripture declares, [Those] “who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law [of God]…they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness , and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them” (Romans 2:14,15). There are, whatever society might say, absolute, unchanging standards of right and wrong written into the consciences of all mankind and into the fabric of the universe.
Moral relativism has led to the horrific events of the twentieth century and continues to create a harvest of misery in our day. Millions of unborn people continue to be killed. Sexually transmitted diseases continue to thrive. The number of single mothers increases as does the number of fatherless children. Pornography and addictions will surge higher. Wars will increase.
If we are to see the disastrous results of moral relativism curbed, we must re-instate the Ten Commandments personally and socially. What may be impossible in society, without
revival, must at least be the absolute norm in the Church and in our Christian families.
We were created in the image of God as moral creatures responsible to him. And we should remember, “As it is appointed onto man once to die, and after that the judgement”.
(Much of this meditation came as a result of re-visiting Francis Schaeffer’s “He Is Not There And He Is Not Silent”.)
(Further articles, books, and stories at: http://www.countrywindow.ca –Follow him on Facebook: Eric E Wright; on Twitter: @EricEWright1; on LinkedIn: Eric Wright )