Moral Relativism: No MoRe Lies
For many, it seems like living a moral life may be a thing of the past. The ability to discern the difference between right and wrong, to act upon Church laws or commandments, and to accept consequences for one’s actions has taken a backseat to doing what feels good and to having fun. There are more gray areas than ever before and, if you don’t see them, you are oppressing those who believe they have the “right” to choose, to have a good time, or to do what they want with their bodies. But we must understand that there is a clear right and wrong. There is a moral standard that we should all strive to live by. Without this understanding—and actions taken because of it—our society will crumble. Today’s commentary addresses this.
Pope Benedict XVI has addressed the problematic nature of moral relativism (MoRe) on several occasions, including the effect that such thinking, which he calls a “dictatorship of relativism,” has had on young people across the world.
This argument is mirrored by a recent Knights of Columbus/Marist poll. Speaking of that survey while in Rome, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said, “Catholic Millennials support Church teaching in a wide variety of areas, including contentious issues like abortion and euthanasia. In other areas, the cultural relativism that Pope Benedict XVI has spoken so much about is very evident, and it confirms the wisdom of his attention to this question as central to the New Evangelization.”
Such comments remind me of a Celebrate Life magazine article published in the year 2000 and written by then ALL executive director Andrew Daub. In his article, “No MoRe Lies,” Daub spelled it out very clearly when he said, “A better way to describe moral relativism is moral apathy—the absence of truth, interest, emotion, feeling or concern in regard to morals. It’s feeling blah about right or wrong—too lazy or uninterested to make a decision.”
Using three examples, Daub exposed the nature of how moral relativism can affect daily life, each of which remains relevant today.
Considering these options, I wonder: Is it actually the case that each of us carries responsibility for what we do and that we must bear the consequences of the actions we take or choose not to take? Of course this is so, but many people are not willing to accept this responsibility. Many people are happy to blame others and live as if they have the right to be happy doing anything that makes them feel good—no matter the consequences. Understanding this, Daub’s closing insights are worth taking to heart: