In this lesson we explore some of the cultural beliefs and practices that are defended with moral relativism.Preview This Lesson
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Disputation Over the Trinity
by Andrea del Sarto (1517 – 18)
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Moral relativism is founded on the philosophy that the beginning of knowledge is human perception, and man makes his own instruction. God is the source of knowledge and truth, or man is. Knowledge and truth determine reality, or reality determines knowledge and truth. Universal and eternal, or bound by time and place. Here lies the primary point of antagonism between the Faith and relativism: the limits of human autonomy. Relativists believe that human autonomy—our free will and independence—is the aim and ultimate end of human development.
Relativism in morality generally takes one of two directions. The first is a twisted understanding of man created in the imago Dei, which “supports” full moral autonomy. The second is the deification of human autonomy itself.
A Twisted Imago Dei
We are made in God’s image and likeness; we are a reflection of our Creator. But a twisted imago Dei has emerged from the growth of moral relativism. This new belief is based on the almost unarticulated idea that we reflect the image of a Creator whose image we ourselves made. The belief looks like this: those who believe in a “God” believe that He is essentially “good” (which is true!). God is in all of us, it is then said, so God is the sum of all the different forms goodness takes in the world. Whatever “good” looks like in the world is automatically a part of God’s “goodness.”
For Christians, “good” is guided by the teachings of Jesus. As long as a Christian community is following the teachings of Jesus, the relativists conclude, then that community is as “good” as any other that claim to follow Jesus. This relativistic belief leads people to the amoral habit of frequenting non-Catholic places of worship with the assumption that the ecclesial communities are equal to the Catholic Church in the fullness of Truth and legitimate dispensation of saving graces.
Why is this belief and practice amoral? While God is Good, and the source of all goodness, not everything in the world that looks good automatically is good. Christ specifically said, “For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it (Mt. 7:14).” Good can mean many things, but it does ... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
7th Grade: Morality: Lesson 19: Moral Relativism in the 21st Century, Part I is part of the following course(s):