Research Term: Moral Relativism
Have you ever been asked, who are you to judge? Responding to arguments of moral relativism, Francis Beckwith discusses the difference between moral claims and preference claims, how relativists defend their position using the two main arguments, disagreement and tolerance, and offers suggestions on how to respond to these claims.
2010-01 Summit Journal
IN THIS ISSUE:
» pg. 2 | Summit Semester Update
» pg. 3 | Letter from the Editor
» pg. 4 | Highlights from around the Globe
* Christianity, Relativity, Ethics, Global Warming, and Economics
Philosophical Problems with Moral Relativism (via Equip)
In moral debate in the United States today, many people resort to moral relativism. They argue that there are no objective moral values which help us to determine what is right or wrong. They claim "everything is relative." In order to defend this position, the relativist puts forth two arguments: (1) Since people and cultures disagree about morality, there are no objective moral values; (2) Moral relativism leads to tolerance of practices we may find different or odd. These two arguments are seriously flawed. In addition, the moral relativist has a difficult time explaining moral progress, moral reformation, and clear-cut cases of moral saints and moral devils.
Evolution and Ethics (via Equip)
Some people argue that morality is the result of blind evolutionary forces rather than an omnipotent Creator. This view is flawed because (1) it assumes a morality that transcends evolutionary "morality," (2) it cannot explain motive and intent, (3) it denies rather than explains morality, and (4) it cannot account for the "oughtness" of morality. Given the existence of morality as well as the nature of moral claims, the existence of God seems to be the best explanation for morality.
The New Atheists
Perhaps it goes without saying that the "new atheists" have arrived. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens (among others) have recently published volumes capturing many intellects and imaginations. As international bestsellers, their publishing efforts are likely to produce challenges to our faith for years to come. These authors have superb rhetorical skills and deploy the English language to great effect. Dawkins and Hitchens have particular appeal with their posh British accents and witty idioms. It is not that their polemics are novel, however, nor their arguments especially successful. And they have not gone unanswered. Yet it appears they have not...
The Relativistic Fog
Consider the following well-worn slogans: What's right for you might not be right for me; Everyone has to decide for himself what's right; What's right depends on the situation; Do you agree with any of these statements? If so, you are in good company. A few years ago, pollster George Barna documented that only 22 percent of adults and 6 percent of teens affirmed...
The Influence of the Secular Humanist Worldview
Secular Humanism (SH) is a well-defined worldview. The Humanist Manifestos of 1933, 1973, and 2000 explain the details of their beliefs. Topping the list is their belief that God does not exist, or at least there is insufficient evidence for the existence of God. From that theological foundation, Secular Humanists have developed a comprehensive view on various issues, including the nature of man, moral values, the role of the state, plus other areas. Over the past 75 years, Secular Humanists have exerted significance influence over a wide range of culture shaping arenas, including...
The news in recent weeks confirms, once again, that in schools across America, children are learning their lessons well. Of course, the question begging for an answer is: What lessons are they learning? Answering that question involves a little worldview analysis. But first, what was reported?
Being a Christian in the World
Dear Mr. Edwards, I was a student at Summit this summer. I'm a senior at a public high school. I'm writing for some advice in the situation I'm in. I've been a competing cheerleader for about 15 years, and am now on the school varsity cheerleading squad. We do our pep rally routines to different cuts of songs. Last week was our first pep rally. When I heard the music to our routine I was appalled. I asked who the artist was, and at once knew it was a provocative artist. That night I went home and printed off the lyrics. There were numerous cursing and sexual suggestions to say the least. I asked if I could sit out and not participate, because I didn't want to be involved with inappropriate music. I also asked this in a quiet, behind the scenes way. Basically my principal told me...