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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Swallowing the Poison of Moral Relativism

As society continues down the path of moral relativism, the principles we rely on to live our daily lives become more and more muddled. Because there are no real boundaries, we lose focus on where we should approach boldly and where we should approach cautiously. Because there is no yardstick for good and evil, we now begin to call evil "good" and good "evil," just as the Bible warned.1 The relativist becomes detached from reality and misidentifies what was supposed to protect us as being "restrictive" and what was supposed to help, encourage, or teach us as something oppressive.

Sexual promiscuity is a good example here. God's original plan was to keep sexual relationships reserved for a husband and wife after marriage. But many deem such standards as a repressive approach to a natural feeling. Of course, the natural consequences of such actions, such as sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy, soon follow. So rather than treating the cause of the problem and tying to demonstrate that sex should only be practiced within the commitment of the marriage relationship, most schools are now dropping an abstinence-based philosophy and adopting a "comprehensive" sex education curriculum that at its core seeks to reduce the unwanted consequences of premarital sexual behavior.2 Even though humanity for millennia have understood that loose sexual practices lead to pregnancy, disease, and emotional injury, our modern society seeks actions without repercussions.

Relativist claim: "Don't push your beliefs on me!"

Of course, such an approach is never consistently applied. No one is a relativist when it comes to prescription medication, for example. When receiving medicine from a pharmacist, I read the label carefully to see just how much I should take and when. I never think, "The doctor prescribed an antibiotic for my infection, but he's just trapped in his own biases, so I think I'll take some morphine instead." No, we rely on the training and expertise of the doctor, who knows that certain medicines have one outcome and others have a different outcome. If you seek to take only what feels good instead of what is good for you, you will end up in worse condition than when you started.

One aspect of moral restraints is that they function to protect us from overdosing on our cravings. Yet, the relativist objects to such normative rules for society by shouting, "Don't push your beliefs on me! You have no right to force me to accept your beliefs." The Christian can simply respond to this by asking, "Are you saying it's wrong to think that a personally held moral view should be applied to another? But isn't that a view that you personally hold? I mean if something is wrong, then it's a moral value. So, why are you trying to push that on me?"

Relativism offers up conflicting rules. Relativists seek freedom from traditional moral laws and are offended if anyone else tries to point out the fact that their actions have dire consequences. They believe a "healthy" morality is one that is right for them, yet they would never take such an approach with their physical health. But as we see with the rise in pregnancies out of wedlock, climbing STD rates, abortion, and ever younger children engaged in sexual activity, their actions are having dire consequences. Even the relativist becomes an absolutist when it comes to medical treatment! To believe that moral decisions are consequence-free is to swallow poison instead of medicine, and it is making our society very sick.


1. Isaiah 5:20
2. The state of California, with the largest student population in the U.S., is a good example of this standard. The legal requirements for sexual education in California public schools comes from The California Department of Education, who published The California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act (Education Code [EC] sections 51930-51939). They write that the Act "has two primary purposes:
  • To provide a pupil with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect his or her sexual and reproductive health from unintended pregnancy and STDs;
  • To encourage a pupil to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender roles, sexual orientation, dating, marriage, and family
The statute goes on to say "Abstinence shall be taught within the context of HIV/AIDS prevention education (EC 51934 (3), however, abstinence-only education is not permitted in California public schools" (emphasis theirs).


  1. God bless your ongoing ministry Lenny! The world has truly lost its collective mind. No reason for us to lose ours!

  2. "Sexual promiscuity is a good example here. God's original plan was to keep sexual relationships reserved for a husband and wife after marriage."

    You are being philosophically inconsistent. If sexual purity is so important, why did God NOT ever condemn King David for having over 1,000 wives/concubines? Was he some sort of super sexual pervert?

  3. Lenny wrote: "There's so much wrong with that objection, not the least of which is that silence somehow implies approval. God did say it. David had the scriptures, just as we do today."

    If it is such a terrible sin, why didn't God say anything? You rail against a promiscuous kid today, but it is nothing compared to King David's sexual behavior. Over 1,000 partners... at one per night, it would take 3 years to cycle through all of them.


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