The seven fatal flaws of moral relativism

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Moral relativism is the view that moral values and moral duties do not exist in reality, but only exist as opinions in people’s minds. When you ask a moral relativist where the belief that stealing is wrong comes from, he may tell you that it is his opinion, or that it is the opinion of most people in his society. But he cannot tell you that stealing is wrong independent of what people think, because morality (on moral relativism) is just personal preference.

So what’s wrong with it?

I found this list of the seven flaws of moral relativism at the Salvo magazine web site.

Here’s the summary:

  1. Moral relativists can’t accuse others of wrongdoing.
  2. Relativists can’t complain about the problem of evil.
  3. Relativists can’t place blame or accept praise.
  4. Relativists can’t make charges of unfairness or injustice.
  5. Relativists can’t improve their morality.
  6. Relativists can’t hold meaningful moral discussions.
  7. Relativists can’t promote the obligation of tolerance.

Here’s my favorite flaw of relativism (#6):

Relativists can’t hold meaningful moral discussions. What’s there to talk about? If morals are entirely relative and all views are equal, then no way of thinking is better than another. No moral position can be judged as adequate or deficient, unreasonable, acceptable, or even barbaric. If ethical disputes make sense only when morals are objective, then relativism can only be consistently lived out in silence. For this reason, it is rare to meet a rational and consistent relativist, as most are quick to impose their own moral rules like “It’s wrong to push your own morality on others”. This puts relativists in an untenable position – if they speak up about moral issues, they surrender their relativism; if they do not speak up, they surrender their humanity. If the notion of moral discourse makes sense intuitively, then moral relativism is false.

I sometimes get a lot of flack from atheists who complain that I don’t let them make any moral statements without asking them first to ground morality on their worldview. And that’s because on atheism morality IS NOT rationally grounded, so they can’t answer. In an accidental universe, you can only describe people’s personal preferences or social customs, that vary by time and place. It’s all arbitrary – like having discussions about what food is best or what clothing is best. The answer is always going to be “it depends”. It depends on the person who is speaking because it’s a subjective claim, not an objective claim. There is no objective way we ought to behave.

So, practically speaking, everyone has to decide whether right and wrong are real – objectively real. If they are objectively real, that means that there is a right way for human beings to behave, and a wrong way for human beings to behave. It means that things that are really objectively wrong like rape are wrong for all times and all places, regardless of what individuals and societies might think of it. In order to rationally ground that kind of morality, you have to have a foundation for it – a cosmic Designer who decides for all times and places what the conduct of his creatures ought to be. And then our moral duties are duties that are owed to this Designer. It is like playing football or playing a boardgame – the person who invents the game decides the rules. But if there is no designer of the game, then there are no rules.

Without a designer of the universe, the question of how we ought to act is decided by people in different times and different places. It’s arbitrary and variable, and therefore it doesn’t do the job of prescribing behavior authoritatively. It’s very important not to get involved in any serious endeavor with another person or persons if they don’t have a sense of right and wrong being absolute and fixed. A belief in objective moral values is a necessary pre-requisite for integrity.

4 thoughts on “The seven fatal flaws of moral relativism”

  1. This might fall under reasons 2 and 4 but relativists also can’t complain that God’s actions in the OT were immoral like allowing slavery or the killing of the Canaanites when Israel began to settle the promised land.

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  2. The 1 ultimate flaw of moral relativism is moral imbecility.

    And since the no. 1 trait that characterises :
    – psychopathy
    – sociopathy
    – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    – Borderline Personality Disorder
    is also moral imbecility, moral relativists are in effect, all sub-clinical psychopaths, ASPD, NPD, BPD.

    By calling evil good, calling good evil, and generally calling both good and evil irrelevant, the moral relativist cannot avoid the ultimate outcome of “do as thou wilt”.

    And since “do as thou wilt” is the first precept of Satanism, the moral relativist inevitably ends up walking this deterministic path of :
    – they are moral imbeciles
    – since moral imbecility is the no.1 component of psychopathy, they eventually become conformed to the image of the psychopath (since they are not born psychopaths, the do the second best and become sociopaths, NPD, BPD – i.e. they become Cluster 2)
    – and since psychopathy and all personality disorders are ultimately satanic (i.e. they live a life of “do as thou wilt” and no fear of God), moral relativism ultimately leads to unconscious satanism (whereby someone walks like a Satanist, quacks like a Satanist, but doesn’t realise they are a Satanist because they never sent an application form to The Church Of Satan and never pay annual membership fees and receive weekly/monthly newsletters)

    All this results in 1 extremely scary outcome :
    – love your neighbour as yourself = this is the Christian’s prerogative

    The conscious/unconscious Satanist’s prerogative is :
    – exploit your neighbour without limits because they are not you

    All psychopaths pamper and preserve themselves while exploiting everyone around them without conscience or restraint or limits.

    We have entered the age of post-conscience, post-truth, and post-morality. We are living in the age of personality disorder. We are living in the age of unconscious Satanism.

    Does all this sound preposterous? Well, if you ever meet a self-declared Satanist, and discovered that they are quite personable and agreeable and don’t eat babies for breakfast, that they wait in queues, and say “please” and “thank you”, then you wouldn’t think unconscious Satanism is that preposterous either. Someone can have no conscience, no morals and still be very civil and a highly functional member of society, they don’t look like Hannibal Lecter.

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  3. Moral relativism is a recipe for passive aggression, because the moral relativist will still get narcissistically offended when :
    – someone insults and offends them
    – someone provokes them
    – someone breaks or steals their things or ruins their day
    – someone opposes or disagrees with them

    But since a moral relativist cannot ever think or talk about anything from a :
    – morality
    – transgression
    – sin
    – unrighteousness and iniquity
    – unfairness
    – wrongdoing
    viewpoint, all they have left is impetuous passive aggressive rage and covert retribution in the future.

    A moral relativist has the high minded delusion that humans can not take anything personally or feel wronged by others nor seek some form of justice.

    This delusion can only create passive aggressive immature people who refuse to tell you what you did wrong, refuse to accuse you of anything, but secretly backstabs you later for revenge.

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