Australia: A nation guided by the moral fashion of the day

Australia: A nation guided by the moral fashion of the day, by Ben Davis.

Philosophers have tried to grapple with the subject of morality in a multitude of ways, but perhaps we could reduce all of our options down to two: Either morality is defined by individuals and culture, or outside of individuals and culture.

In the first instance, the moral relativist would suggest morality is essentially a social construct, and therefore, non-existent apart from individuals and culture. What is normative is purely a matter of preference. There are no absolute truths, only those which a particular individual or society may choose to accept. Ultimately, right and wrong only exist in relation to a particular standpoint which is defined by time and culture.

This is the thinking many adopt in a post-Christian climate. Unsurprisingly, this is also the reason why the majority voted in favour of redefining marriage. Voting “yes” was the right thing to do because in the end, good and bad, right and wrong, are defined by the moral fashion of the day. …

If right and wrong are defined solely by democratic vote, then one must concede, if Australia ever voted in favour of hurling homosexuals off rooftops, any opposition must be regarded as immoral. …

In the end, no culture can stay afloat long without a moral compass to guide them. In fact, Peter Kreeft has called moral relativism, “the single most important issue of our age” because “no culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived…” …

The alternative view, that of the moral absolutist, argues that good and bad exist outside of the thoughts of the individual, or collective thinking of a society. That’s to say, an action is either moral or immoral, regardless of context. The ancient practice of child sacrifice was just as immoral then as it is now. Right and wrong exist outside of time and place — it is not something we create, but something we conform to. It’s the only basis we have for arguing that throwing homosexuals off rooftops is as immoral in Iraq as it is in Australia.

This reality has been rejected because, quite simply, we don’t like to live our lives governed by laws and standards that we can’t define ourselves. If a moral standard exists outside of our own thoughts, then somebody has defined that standard. Often the notion of a moral lawgiver is ridiculed. The proposed alternative for those “enlightened” enough to do away with the idea of God is: If it feels good, do it. If it hurts anyone, don’t. They are one proposition above the animal kingdom.

The frightening reality is: moral relativism can turn a democratic vote into two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Removing God from morality, law, and even politics, may work in your favour today, but tomorrow, there are no guarantees. Would you rather a nation that submits to the equality, freedom, and love as defined by Christianity, or an unrestrained nation at the mercy of the moral fashion of the day?

hat-tip Stephen Neil