I sit in history class listening to my classmates talk about how religion has caused division and conflict. I can't deny it: it's obvious to anyone paying attention that religions—both "Christian" and otherwise—have played a role in many wars and conflicts throughout the history of the world. But one of my classmates seems to be trending towards a sort of universal control as a solution. And so I have to speak up.
I've read far too many dystopians and far too much history to believe there should be any kind of absolute control by man, I say, but there absolutely needs to be a universal standard for morality. As a Christian, I continue, that moral standard comes from the Bible.
But I'm not religious, one girl protests, though I am reminded how earlier in the semester she admitted to knowing right from wrong.
People are raised so differently, another girl says. Right and wrong comes from how they were raised.
A person could steal, and feel he has no choice, one boy suggests and I am not a quick enough thinker to point out that a person could have a perfectly justified reason in his own mind for killing another person.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.—Judges 17:6
I do not mention that verse, though it plays over and over in my head—I know it won't do any good. But I can't stay silent either.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, is what I end up saying, and love your neighbor as yourself. Treat others the way you want to be treated. No one wants to be burned at the stake, so don't burn people at the stake. And so on.
My professor seems to agree with that, but I'm not sure if my classmates really understand my point. Still, I've said what I can. But I can't help but continue to think about the conversation. And about how clearly it shows the moral relativism that has become so prevalent. How everyone does what is right in his own eyes. How while we still do have laws against murder and theft and so on, people still get tried and convicted for crimes, more and more sin and violence is condoned.
Theft and vandalism is okay if you're "protesting" a media-approved event. Violence and murder is okay if it's against the people politically and/or racially condemned in the mainstream narrative, or if the victim is your own unborn child. You apply this filter of cultural acceptance of sin to history and how can you say the human sacrifice of the Aztecs was wrong? What's wrong with cannibalism if you were raised to think it was normal? Is there really anything wrong with cheating on your spouse, especially if you've agreed to have an "open marriage"? Is pedophilia actually wrong if it makes you happy? Why can't I go stab someone because I disagree with what they believe and want them to stop spreading their ideas? (To clarify, while I may kill characters, I have zero desire to harm any real people, even people I don't like very much. I would far rather they come to know Jesus.)
Where does it stop?
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
You see, without an absolute universal standard for morality, there is no morality. What is right? What is wrong? It's all up to your own interpretation, your own judgement. It starts small...Sure, I can lie if I think it'll be more beneficial than telling the truth. Cheating at a game doesn't really hurt anyone. Walmart's a big company, they can afford it if I shoplift a small item.
But it's a slippery slope. Man can justify pretty much anything. You might start with seemingly harmless missteps, but the things get bigger and bigger. They grow until you're destroying the property of innocent business owners because their shops happen to be in an area where you're protesting an incident. You can kill your unborn child because you don't want/can't handle the responsibility of raising a child. You can ruin a person's career and reputation because they're not ashamed to say that they disagree with the prominent political view. You can put people in camps and gas chambers because they don't fit whatever predetermined standard for the only acceptable citizen you've established.
And where does such a thing lead? Only to death and destruction, both in this world and the next.
Because there is a moral standard.
The self-proclaimed not-religious girl in my class said earlier in the semester that people do know what's right and what's wrong. I didn't ask why or how. Maybe I should have. I'm genuinely curious where people draw their moral standards from if not from the Bible. But what I did say is that I agree, people do know. And I believe that is because, as the Bible says, God has written His law on our hearts. That's what a conscience is.
"That was your conscience punishing you, Davy.""What's my conscience? I want to know.""It's something in you, Davy, that always tells you when you are doing wrong and makes you unhappy if you persist in doing it. Haven't you noticed that?""Yes, but I didn't know what it was. I wish I didn't have it. I'd have lots more fun. Where is my conscience, Anne? I want to know. Is it in my stomach?""No, it's in your soul," answered Anne, thankful for the darkness, since gravity must be preserved in serious matters."I s'pose I can't get clear of it then," said Davy with a sigh.—Anne of the Island, L.M. Montgomery
Love your neighbor as yourself.
That's truly what it all comes down to. It really is that simple. Don't mistake that for easy. It's most certainly not easy. But if you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself, your morals will not be relative. You won't be justifying stealing, lying, murder, and all manner of other cruel, destructive practices. You will be doing those things that are good, right, and noble.
Moral relativism may be on the rise, but that doesn't mean it is right. That doesn't mean an absolute moral standard no longer exists. On the contrary, with the prevalence of moral relativism, a true moral standard is even more important. Right and wrong matter, and always will.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Do this, and you will live.