In my last post, Moral Relativism and the Dawn of Insanity, I discussed what moral relativism is and how I believe it came to be so widely accepted in our society. I also touched on what happens when you follow relativism to its logical end. The result is nothing less than a complete and utter breakdown of logic and reason. This is because relativism takes objective morality and replaces it with one's feelings. It levels the field of decision making so that all choices are equal. On the surface this looks like a great idea; it looks like freedom and fairness with a big red bow. But try to argue for or against anything once you've made your case for this and you'd have an easier time trying to nail Jell-O® to the wall than make a moral argument.
In this post, I want to take a look at some of the manifestations of relativism in our society. As I said in my last post, I believe the root cause of the prevalence of relativism today is the sexual revolution. This becomes quite clear when we look at some of the major ways it has played out in society and our culture.
Widespread use of birth control and legalized abortion
Last time, I shared this reference to Peter Kreeft's A Refutation of Moral Relativism, but I think it's worth sharing again, especially for anyone who might be reading this post separately:
"Obviously, the strongest and most attractive of the passions is sexual passion. It is therefore also the most addictive and the most blinding. So, there could hardly be a more powerful undermining of our moral knowledge and our moral life than the sexual revolution. Already, the demand for sexual freedom has overridden one of nature's strongest instincts: motherhood. A million mothers a year in America alone pay hired killers, who are called healer or physicians, to kill their own unborn daughters and sons. How could this happen? Only because abortion is driven by sexual motives. For abortion is backup birth control, and birth control is the demand to have sex without having babies. If the stork brought babies, there'd be no Planned Parenthood."
Both the use of birth control and the legalization of abortion are considered justified by the right to bodily autonomy and so-called "reproductive freedom." What we are actually saying with these ridiculous notions is that we somehow have the right to engage in the act specifically intended to create babies without creating babies. The total lack of logic in that should slap you in the face. How dare we demand such a thing? That's like saying I demand to go swimming without getting wet. Whatever you believe about birth control or abortion, nobody can deny that the purpose of sex is procreation. What's worse, as Kreeft points out, one of the strongest instincts we have is to reproduce. In an effort to satisfy our urges without inconveniencing ourselves with unwanted children we are literally defying nature and our very existence. Take a look at this article which announced recently that Italy is officially dying as a country. There are more deaths every year now than births. They aren't alone either. Japan is in the same boat, and right here in the United States, Maine officially had more deaths than births as detailed back in May 2013. We are contracepting and aborting ourselves out of existence like lemmings running off a cliff.
All self-interest aside, abortion is the murder of a human being. There's a lot more to be said against abortion, and I'll cover it much more thoroughly in the future. But for now, the point I want to make is something that is so objectively wrong is now considered acceptable in our society. The only way this is possible is if we reject the objective truth that all human beings have the right to life and declare that everything is relative. Moral relativism requires us to put aside the most fundamental right we have: life. Why and for what? So we can do as we please with no consequences? Since when does anyone consider that moral? And if unborn babies don't have a right to life then who does? Where is the line drawn and who chooses? If it's morally acceptable to kill a baby immediately before it's born then why not immediately after or six months after? If all human beings do not have the inalienable right to life, then nobody does. This is the tangled web of relativism. This is what happens when we set aside the objective truth that all human beings have the right to life and replace it with the idea that we only have the right to life when someone else decides they feel like letting us live.
Dissolution of marriage, the family, and sexuality in general
This topic is undoubtedly a live wire as well, but it needs to be addressed. Marriage and the family are hanging by a thread in our country. And why wouldn't they be when our society has decided to base all its decisions on feelings? We only stay in a marriage so long as our feelings toward our spouse stay the same. We only bring the children we've created into the world if we feel like we want to and we're ready. Because we have made the mental separation between sex and procreation, we no longer recognize marriage as the unique union between a man and a woman or that the conjugal act should be reserved for marriage for the purpose of creating families. We have even gone so far as to declare that biological sex and gender are two different and independent things and the latter is based on how we feel.
Feelings are fleeting and transient. They are unpredictable and cannot be the basis for decision making. Mothers of babies with colic actually confess to wanting to throw their babies out the window after hours of endless crying. Catch your spouse in the act of infidelity and you may well find yourself experiencing feelings of homicidal rage. People who stand on the side of a bridge contemplating ending their lives feel as though their lives are hopeless and without meaning and that the best solution is to end it. Yet in all of these instances we encourage people to work past those feelings. We tell them it will get better and they won't always feel this way.
Enter the deranged world of relativism and we should be telling those mothers to fling open their windows and send those babies flying. After all, who are we to judge them and how they feel? You can't tell that woman she is obligated to endure this suffering for the sake of her child. How dare you suggest that she should put her own needs and feelings aside? Stop pushing your morality on her! While we're at it, grab the nearest lethal weapon and have at it with that no good dirty cheating bastard! Don't worry, we know better than to judge you and your feelings. Your life seems like it's over? Hey man, I don't want to tell you how to feel, go for it.
In these examples, it sounds silly doesn't it? It sounds completely insane and that's because it is. The problem arises when we think there is a difference between the examples I posed above and walking out on your spouse because you're tired of their nonsense or encouraging a boy to dress and act like a girl because he said he feels like a girl. This is madness; this is relativism. Ask yourself why you would tell a mother on the brink of a breakdown to go take a hot bath while you watch the baby, but your friend tells you he feels like a woman on the inside and you would encourage him to start dressing the part and look into surgery. We now encourage people to mutilate their bodies beyond recognition because of how they feel.
When did we lose our collective minds? How did we come to decide that certain feelings can and should change and others can't and shouldn't? Who wrote the criteria for this? Because some people are born that way? Scientists tell us that alcoholics are born that way. Shall we tell them to drink up, they can't help it? If science tells us pedophiles are born that way shall we decide that's okay too? Love is love! That's different you say? Why, because it involves children? But we've already decided that children can declare themselves homosexual, transexual, transgender, intersex and whatever other permutations they've come up with in the last five minutes. If they can decide these things why can't they be in love with an adult? Indeed, how many cases have we seen over the years when children were in sexual relationships with adults and declared that it was completely consensual?
If marriage isn't the unique and permanent union between a man and a woman then what is it? The complementarity of man and woman is what makes marriage unique - throw that out and you throw the whole lot out. Marriage becomes meaningless and undergoes the same endless permutations of sexuality and for the same reason. Man-man, woman-woman, man-two women, man-woman-cow...what difference does it make? It's just an arrangement. Consider what Peter Kreeft said in regard to divorce, again from his Refutation of Moral Relativism:
"Divorce is a second example of the power of the sexual revolution to undermine basic moral principles. Suppose there were some other practice, not connected with sex, which had these three documentable results. First, betraying the person you claim to love the most, the person you had pledged your life to, betraying your solemn promise to her or him. Second, thereby abusing the children you had procreated and promised to protect, scarring their souls more infinitely than anything else except direct violent physical abuse, and making it far more difficult for them ever to attain happy lives or marriages. And thirdly, thereby harming, undermining, and perhaps destroying your society's future. Would not such a practice be universally condemned? Yet, that is exactly what divorce is, and it is universally accepted. Betrayal is universally condemned unless it is sexual. Justice, honestly, not doing other harms-these moral principles are affirmed, unless they interfere with sex."
He has hit the proverbial nail on the head. We have placed ourselves in a bottomless moral quagmire. Because we decided that the primary purpose of sex is pleasure rather than procreation we have opened Pandora's box. What's worse is that we don't want the genie back in the bottle. Even with all the evidence piling up in one huge festering heap that this has done endless damage to our society and humanity in general, we're not willing to give up our free sex. We continue to allow the consequences to unravel like red-faced toddlers insisting on having our way, consequences be damned.
These things are hard to talk about. We live in a society where political correctness has run rampant and a country which once prided itself on freedom of expression is choked with an endless list of things you can't say and opinions you can't hold. But I'm hoping to make people see that when we turn away from objective morality it all falls apart. Moral relativism pulls the rug out from under us and sends us down the quintessential slippery slope. It demands that we contradict ourselves and our own logic (used very loosely) while we pick and choose what sounds good and acceptable to us today. All the while we have removed the guardrail and are about to hurl ourselves off a cliff. Again I ask, why and for what? I'll tell you why. We have removed the true source of joy from our lives: God. Not only are God's laws written on our hearts, but we naturally seek and long for Him. There is a place in us where only He fits and when we try to fill it with anything else we are endlessly frustrated. We try more and more but to no avail. As St. Thomas Aquinas said:
"Man cannot live without joy; therefore when he is deprived of true spiritual joys it is necessary that he become addicted to carnal pleasures."
It's not too late to put the genie back in the bottle, friends. It's not too late to return to God and return to reason. I invite everyone to visit this website to find out more about the Catholic Faith and always feel free to ask questions. I'll leave you with this, and until next time, may God bless you:
"The security we all need as a presupposition of our freedom and dignity cannot ultimately be derived from technical systems of control. It can come only from the moral strength of man, and where this is lacking or insufficient, the power man has will be transformed more and more into a power of destruction...the attempt, carried to extremes, to shape human affairs to the total exclusion of God leads us more and more to the brink of the abyss, toward the utter annihilation of man. We must therefore reverse the axiom of the Enlightenment and say: Even the one who does not succeed in finding the path to accepting the existence of God ought nevertheless to try to live and to direct his life veluti si Deus daretur, as if God did indeed exist." - Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures