Morals: absolute or relative?
As we continue to delve into a culture that is part of the “instant gratification” generation, people continue to question why their life choices are right or wrong. Moral
relativism is the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead, make claims relative to social, historical, or personal circumstances. The common aphorism may describe it: " When in Rome, do as the Romans do." This has become rather evident that much of our society today embraces the idea of moral relativism. It does not necessarily deny the possibility of absolute truth; however, it does not actively seek it either. It is much more convenient for the natural, secularized world to have the flexibility to make moral decisions without having to meet a standard. This has continued to become a normal occurrence as many have continued to misinterpret laws of various countries, i.e. the U.S. Constitution, to determine truth based upon the cultural desires.
If morals are relative for the time, then consider the following questions: How do we know that marriage was designed to be between one man and one woman? When does a child’s conception constitute its ability to have rights? Is abortion an immoral act or permissible so long as it is in the “best interests of the mother?” Is capital punishment a violent, hateful act that denies one’s Constitutional right to live with his or her punishment so long as his or her life is not the punishment? Shouldn’t the judicial and prison systems have the right to reform and reshape this offender’s life?
How do we tell “right” from “wrong”?
How do you know that a decision is right or wrong? Is it an inherent, instinctive reaction to the natural world? Do your decisions actually require absolute truth, or can various circumstances allow for personal interpretation based upon other variables? For example, is it a crime for someone to take another person’s life? As morally-conscious, law-abiding citizens we would all agree that murder is essentially wrong and an immoral act; however, what is the basis for this judgment? Does it relate to a law document for a particular country? Is it based upon the popular ideas of the time that are expressed by a country or its leaders?
Do we make this decision based upon the media’s interpretation of morals? How do we make a judgment for the question: Why is murder wrong, or an immoral act?
There have been many people over time, however, that have used murder, genocide, or just isolated incidents of murder to justify their emotional desire for various reasons. Adolf Hitler believed that the Jewish people and many other minority groups were less than human because he felt that they had not “evolved enough.” Consider the following quotes from Hitler’s book Mein Kompf:
“The Jew has always been a people with definite racial characteristics and never a religion.” Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: ‘by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord. I was not in agreement with the sharp anti-Semitic tone, but from time to time I read arguments which gave me some food for thought. At all events, these occasions slowly made me acquainted with the man and the movement, which in those days guided Vienna's destinies: Dr. Karl Lueger and the Christian Social Party.”
Much of his rationale for commanding the extermination of various groups of peoples (primarily Jews) could be justified based upon the evolutionary mindset that the Jews were sub-human. Dr. Karl Lueger that was referenced, led a social Christian (anti-Christian) movement to oppose the Jewish people. One of Hitler’s mentors opposed God’s chosen people! Some have tried to say that Hitler grew up in a Christian/devout Jewish home; however, anyone could challenge that statement on two points:
1) Children are not robots of their parents and grow to make their own choices. Children do not always grow up to advocate the belief system they were raised to believe as truth. Many children, particularly from Christian homes, fall astray and follow the world system without much acknowledgement for God as their Creator. This does not mean that they are not saved nor that they intend ill will; however, it does show that moral relativism does not discriminate in terms of the people whose lives it affects.
2) Traditional Christianity and Judaism both deem murder and genocide as breaking God’s commandments. There are many times in Scripture where God allows for capital punishment (Gen. 9) and other various forms of death to be allowed because of His original law’s violation (Gen. 3:3). God commanded, “Put no other gods before me, and do not kill.” (Exodus 20:11-13) God’s chosen people often disregarded His commands; therefore, they have been enslaved more over the last 4,000 years than any other group in human history. One could make the case that Adolf’s Hitler basis for believing that Jews were lesser than human stemmed from his ideological premise of social, Darwinian evolution being a fact of life. The Bible states on numerous occasions (II Chronicles 19:7, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, Colossians 2:34) that God is no respecter of persons. His creation is special to Him and He has longed to have a personal relationship since the beginning.
The necessity for genesis
How should one build a house? Anyone that has studied architecture or has spent time in construction can tell you that the most important facet of any structure is the foundation. A strong foundation is crucial not only in home-building; however, it is essential for our every decision made on a daily basis. Our conversations should be led with an emphasis for directly or inadvertently acknowledging our worldview as the basis for passing judgment or simply making a topical statement. Let us take the example of creation versus evolution.
This has become a topic that science has not settled by removing God as the universe’s designer for random (or orderly, non-God) processes. It has actually continued to spark debate amongst believers, non-believers, scientists, and the everyday Lehman. Does Genesis specifically promote creation, evolution, the possibility for both, or is there any conversation on the topic at all? This question cannot be answered without going to the source: Genesis 1:1.
Genesis actually means “beginning” and (Greear, 2005) states that chapters 1-11 actually discuss the origin of many components of our daily lives. The following is not an exhaustive list: the universe, life, marriage, language, culture, religion, the solar system, man, evil, government, nations, God’s chosen people, capital punishment, etc. In other words, every main component of our existence can be traced back to the book of Genesis.
Every main question in our lives can be attributed to the God of Scripture. Psalm 11:3 (KJV) states: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” If someone believes that Genesis is literally true because it serves as the foundation of our faith, then without it, everything becomes relative in the eyes of mankind. If God instructed Moses to write Genesis, then He issued authority for mankind to be informed that the universe did not create itself. Genesis 1:1 (KJV) states: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” We will continue to discuss this topic throughout the coming weeks in terms of how a scientific argument can be established by this very verse. This verse does not prove that there is a God; however, it establishes the mindset that one’s faith in the Biblical God would be the basis for understanding that the universe was made by Him.