Moral Relativism

Moral Relativism is the belief that there are no absolute moral truths. It teaches that what is true for you is not necessarily true for anyone else. Anything goes because life is without meaning.
  • Words like 'ought' and 'should' are rendered meaningless in the aim to be morally neutral.
  • 78% of college professors teach that there is no such thing as right or wrong.
  • If there is no morality there can be no ethics - except for 'the ends justifying the means.'
  • If there is no God, and if humans have no true value, then suicide, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia are logically permissable.
  • If each side have a right to believe what they want to believe, then appealing to moral relativism to solve the abortion conflict is an intellectual impossibility.
ll ancient civilisations have acknowledged that mankind needs rules to be able to function properly. Laws are one of the cornerstones of a civilised society. If there were no laws, society would be uncivilized and in a chaotic state of anarchy. These laws are decided and administered usually by leaders in the society.

A good society is said to be one that makes it easy for its citizens to be good. Western civilisation has, until now, based its laws on the principles of Judeo-Christianity. Principles mean moral absolutes. During the 20th century things began to change. There has been a shift in education, the media and politics towards moral relativism.

Moral Relativism teaches that there are no absolute moral truths...what is true for you may not necessarily be true for me. It believes and teaches there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Essentially, moral relativism says that anything goes, because life is ultimately without meaning. Words like 'ought' and 'should' are rendered meaningless. In this way, Moral Relativism claims to be morally neutral.
"...teaching morality doesn't mean imposing my moral values on others. It means sharing wisdom, giving reasons for believing as I do - and then trusting others to think and judge for themselves."

Evidence that moral relativism is seen as more 'fair' or 'neutral' than a 'hardline' stance on morality is seen in a 2002 column from Fox News analyst, Bill O'Reilly, who asked "Why is it wrong to be right?" In his article, O'Reilly cites recent Zogby poll findings regarding what is being taught in American universities.

Studies indicate that 75% of American college professors currently teach that there is no such thing as right and wrong. Rather, they treat the questions of good and evil as relative to "individual values and cultural diversity."

The problem with this, according to O'Reilly, is that "they see the world not as it is, but as they want it to be and annoying questions about moral absolutes and unacceptable behavior are usually left unanswered."

By accepting the doctrine of Moral Relativism, those who could obtain power could justify state-sponsored murder and plunder by pointing out that since morals don't really exist and are merely a product of one's class or upbringing, there is no moral argument against the state version of murder and plunder.

This is what happened in Nazi Germany, where the extermination of many thousands of mentally ill and disabled Germans was perfectly legal under the German T4 programme of that time.
By accepting the doctrine of moral relativism, those who could obtain power could justify state-sponsored murder and plunder.

With no moral argument, it could be argued that natural rights don't really exist, since to defend natural rights one would have to say that it's unethical to violate natural rights, but since there is no morality there can be no ethics - except when it's modeled under the pretense of "the ends justify the means."

Relativism and Euthanasia
With Moral Relativism, the moral code of a society determines what is right within that society; that is, if the moral code of a society says that a certain action is right, then that action is right, at least within that society.

In Western society, generally, the whole outlook of Moral Relativism that has gained prevalence. In such a moral climate, laws easily become subject to the shifting sands of public opinion. Politicians and judges are increasingly making laws and judgments based less upon right and wrong, than on that public opinion.

The New Zealand Medical Association's position on Euthanasia is as follows:
"The NZMA does not accept or support the concept of Euthanasia.

The NZMA encourages the concept of death with dignity and comfort and supports a greater understanding and awareness of terminal care management by the medical profession, and restates the obligations of the profession to support the health and well being of patients.

The NZMA is aware of public apprehension about misguided medical intervention and the fear of uncontrollable pain. The NZMA will continue to give full consideration to public opinion on the matter of euthanasia."

Adopted by NZMA Board 1996. Reconfirmed (with wording clarified) on 12 June 2001.

This position statement seems to make it clear that public opinion will have a bearing on whether or not the NZMA continues to oppose euthanasia, or, like the British Medical Association, withdraw it's opposition.

Relativism and God
The opposite to Moral Relativism is Objective Morality. Objective Morality, which is a fundamental principle of Christianity and many other religions, holds that right and wrong are concrete truths that begin and end with God.

Christians and many others not only believe there is a God, a Creator, but also that truth and morality are absolute (i.e., complete and unconditional). They believe that every human is created by God and will one day have to give an account to God for the way they have lived their lives.

This not only means being judged for what they themselves have done that might have violated 'God's Law,' but also for what they failed to do to prevent others violating those Laws. Those who have religious reasons for opposing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide believe that they are obliged to do so. They hold that they have a moral obligation to defend the 'sanctity of life' for themselves and others.

It seems, then, that appealing to moral relativism to "solve" any ethical debate is an intellectual impossibility and possibly a very real threat o the patients' lives.

If there is no Creator - no God - then humans have no intrinsic value for simply 'being.' If, as humans we have no true or sacred value, then suicide, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia are logically permissable.