A friend asked me a question on Facebook about moral relativism. He said he was debating a Christian and he told the Christian that morality is relative. He messaged me and asked if that position was good. I told him I did not think so and for this post I’ll paste in the answer I wrote to him in the Facebook private message.
By way of brief explanation, someone might appeal to moral relativism either as a direct defeater for Christianity or as a defeater-defeater. The latter might go like this: A believer says morality is objective, so Christianity is true. The non-Christian might respond by saying that morality is not objective, it’s relative, and so that reason for belief in Christianity has been defeated. The direct argument might go like this: (1) If God existed, morality would not be relative. (2) Morality is relative. (3) Therefore, God does not exist.
I realize the issue of moral relativism is very complicated and there’s a lot of literature on the matter. There are some very sophisticated relativisms out there, but to address them would require to much set up. What I’m going to paste in is fine as far as it goes, and I believe it covers a lot of ethical ground in a short space. While the below is not the final word, it’s at least good for the main intended audience of this blog (see “Read this first” up top) as an introduction to some ethical terms and concepts, and as a conversation starter. Below is pretty informal, but as I said, it was a Facebook message to a friend that I wrote fairly quickly: Continue reading