A moral is the belief that a person holds about what is right and what is wrong. Moral relativity consists of the idea that what is right for me is not necessarily right for anyone else. The same goes for everyone. Because everyone has a unique experience, we all have unique wants and needs. The idea of unique experience also suggests that no one is ever in exactly the same situation as someone else. There are always some differences that give each person, even if they were twins, a different experience of those situations and events.
First, moral relativity must set aside any beliefs about God, because it denies absolute truth. If there is no certain definition for good or evil that applies to everyone, then the being that one person labels a God might just as well be seen as devil. Or seen as some other imperfect and fallible creature. Without the conception of being good, which necessitates the existence of a definite value for goodness, we could never believe in God (at least not with any consistency in our beliefs). This is certainly hypocrisy among Christians and others who claim to believe in God, yet also claim a belief in moral relativity. Such an amazing stretch of the imagination seems to be an effort to avoid conflict, but conflict, or opposition, is a basic natural law.
Few people actually follow moral relativity to its terminal end. If we are to believe that there are no definite laws that determine right and wrong for all people, then there can be no exceptions. If there are exceptions, however rare those may be, there must be definite, absolute laws that determine right and wrong.
This recognition leads us to consider the most vile and despicable acts that a person could conceive. We cannot simply dismiss these as coming from the insane unless we admit that a definite law applies to those who are insane, where it does not apply to everyone else. Allow me to suggest some despicable acts that should be accepted by moral relativists: murder; murder of little children; cannibalism in any culture, for any reason, and on a regular basis; sexual acts on infants and children; rape; genocide; and slavery. We have examples of each of these being excused by the people who have committed these acts for one reason or another.
If you believe that any or all of those acts are wrong for everyone, then why are they wrong? What is it about that act that offends your conscience?
The answer will come down to a belief about what is right. A moral. Anyone who holds the belief that those are wrong does not believe in moral relativity.
If you believe there are definite morals—there are things that are definitely right and wrong—then where did those morals originate? They must have a source. Some might argue that they are unnatural. Yet they have occurred in different cultures, throughout the world, and across time by people who apparently knew little or nothing about these practices in other areas. If that is the case, how can it be argued that it is unnatural? If we find it in human nature, it suggests two things: 1) Immorality in the nature of humans; 2) The source of morality (right and wrong) is outside of nature. But this tends to lead us back to God and the fallen nature of humans, so let’s consider the next problem with moral relativity.
Second, advocates of moral relativity tend to suggest that, if something is right for an individual, we should not forbid it or even tell them that it’s wrong—because it’s right for them. The inconsistency here should be obvious. If we should not forbid people from doing something, that suggests it is wrong to do so, which is a moral. Otherwise, it may be just as right for me to forbid or ridicule something that I don’t like as it is for them to do it. If I cannot be wrong for ridiculing or forbidding someone else’s actions, then the entire philosophy of moral relativism falls into the realm of “survival of the fittest,” because those who survive will be able to continue their own actions. As such, either moral relativism demands a conception of absolute moral truths (including human rights) or the entire concept consists of useless mental gymnastics. Since, moral relativism demanding absolute morals invalidates itself, I am left to conclude the latter.
In other words, moral relativity is an excuse that attempts to avoid the real conflict, which is the attempt to replace the morals of religions, such as Christianity, with conflicting actions and beliefs. Some recognize that this is the debate: what set of morals should we follow. This is at least an upfront debate in which we can address the conflicting morals, or the different beliefs about right and wrong.