Moral Relativism

Science and Religion Today had an article this week that I enjoyed. It’s a quick read about Moral Relativism, really a book blurb, from Christian Smith, author of Lost in Transition.

I will quickly let the Moral people define that for me:

“Moral relativism is the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and therefore subject to a person’s individual choice. We can all decide what is right for ourselves. You decide what’s right for you, and I’ll decide what’s right for me. Moral relativism says, ‘It’s true for me, if I believe it.’”

Smith maintains in his article, that moral realism (moral facts existing that are not just human constructions) is what society needs to thrive, but that young people, in an effort to respect and tolerate a “pluralistic world,” have not been taught “how to maintain commitments to moral values while being open, civil, and negotiating differences.”

This rings true to me and relates back to a guest post I did over at The Barn Door about the failings of public school.  Smith affirms what I said in that post, but more eloquently, by saying, “[Schools] confuse promoting one given worldview commitment with helping students learn how to think well about any and all worldview commitments, including moral commitments.”

All good stuff to chew on and if you haven’t been over to Science and Religion Today, you should go check it out.


1 Comment

  1. It does seem to me that if you choose to live in a certain society you instantly lose some relativism. You have signed an agreement by showing up that you will not kill, steal, do drugs, etc.

    So your society has applied a realism that you have agreed to.

    But most people don’t think this way. They have a false belief they have a moral freedom that they actually don’t.

    For what it’s worth: I feel more comfortable with government assigning my beliefs than the church. The beliefs a church suggests seem more relative & optional to me. They are values of that particular subset of the community. Sharia law is a great example.

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