Posted by: Randall Niles | November 16, 2009

Absolute Relativism

In Hamlet, William Shakespeare declares:

“There is nothing either good nor bad but thinking makes it so.”

This also seems to be the mantra of the day:

There is no universal right and there is no universal wrong –

Morality is relative to the person and place in which it is applied.

You might have heard someone say, “there’s no right and there’s no wrong,” but you have to ask yourself, is their statement right or wrong? And I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “It’s wrong for you to impose your morals on me!” But if you think about it, by them telling you that something is wrong, they are imposing their morals on you! How about this one – “There is no such thing as absolute truth.” I must be snippy and ask, “Are you absolutely sure about your absolute statement?”

The fact is, we all inherently know right from wrong; we just have this crazy tendency to disregard morality when it conflicts with our desire for personal pleasure or personal gain. Sure, we might justify having an affair, but we certainly wouldn’t condone our spouse cheating on us. And we might justify taking something without permission, but if we were the ones being robbed we wouldn’t think it was OK.

Simply, there isn’t a person alive today who would come home from work to discover that their house has been robbed, their dog murdered, and their child kidnapped, and say, “Oh, how wonderful that this person is able to destroy my life and enjoy all of my things. And who am I to impose my view of right and wrong on this poor, misguided soul?”

Here’s a good way to determine right from wrong: turn the situation around on yourself. Jesus said it best: “treat people the same way you want them to treat you.” The truth is we all know that murder, rape, lying, stealing, cheating, child abuse, torture, genocide, and other patent injustices are absolutely wrong. Why? Because we wouldn’t want any of these things to happen to us!

Still Thinking,

Randall Niles


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