Why Are We So Confused about Morality?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

My good friend, Wes, sent me a video link (see below) because he knew it would drive me crazy!  (maybe he’s not my friend, after all)  The video features a guy named Lamar talking about illegal activities that people give a pass to.  The speaker mentions several activities that he thinks are wrong, and he even explains why they are wrong, but then he inexplicably trots out the tired postmodern cliche of, “These things are wrong for me, but maybe not for you” and one of my other personal favorites, “I don’t judge other people.”  He says that his position is one of neutrality.

Here we have a textbook example of moral relativism.  There are no absolute moral duties, because, according to Lamar, we were all raised with different moral compasses and we must remain neutral and not judge each other’s moral compasses.  You have your compass and I have mine.   This all sounds so fair and tolerant and high-minded, doesn’t it?

The problem is that Lamar doesn’t believe a word of what he is saying.  He really does believe that stealing is wrong.  The moment you stole something from him, I guarantee he would judge you, and harshly!  And what about moral laws against things like murder and rape?  Would Lamar hesitate to call those things wrong for everyone?  Would he say that he remains neutral about murder and rape?  I think not.

What irritates me so much about this kind of thing is that folks like Lamar are trying to portray themselves as heroes of tolerance and non-judgmentalism when they really are not (almost nobody really is).   I’m guessing  that if we could just ask Lamar’s family and friends whether he never judges anybody else’s morality, we would find out he’s just like the rest of us – judging every day.

And don’t we want there to be some judging?  Do we really want people to remain neutral about stealing?  How would you like it if your neighbor saw someone breaking into your house and taking your new LCD TV, but instead of calling the police, he just thought to himself, “I’m going to remain neutral.  Maybe the thief just has a different moral compass than me.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that my neighbors aren’t neutral.  In fact, I think most of them own guns…

  • Barbara Dugger

    Bill – So glad to find your Blog, thanks to Wes Milam. Really appreciate your solid thoughts. Look forward to reading more of your articles.

  • Bill Pratt

    Thanks, Barbara! Any friend of Wes is a friend of mine and I’m glad to have you on board.