Post Author: Darrell
Re-post from Aug. 11, 2010
Beckwith and Koukl’s sixth fatal flaw reads as follows: Relativists can’t hold meaningful moral discussions. To the relativist, morals are formulations that exist only in the minds of human beings, and as a result, objectively true moral standards do not exist. Consequently, there is no way to compare and contrast different moral points of view as all views are considered equal and no true transcendent standard of morality exists. However, having a coherent meaningful conversation regarding morals necessitates the ability to compare and contrast different points of view.
Some moral relativists may respond by saying, “All views are not equal. There is a view which is better than others – my view!” However, one is left asking, “Why is your view better?” To what standard does the relativist appeal in order to claim that their view is better?
In the first post in this series, DagoodS claimed that the “Veil of Ignorance” standard as formulated by John Rawls demonstrates that Hitler’s actions were wrong. But the big question left unanswered is, “Why is the Veil of Ignorance standard better than Hitler’s standard of morality?”
In reality, the moral relativist has nothing to which they can appeal to show that another moral view is wrong. Therefore, there is no way to have a meaningful moral discussion, because there is no way to compare and contrast views in order to show that one view is better than another. DagoodS may love the “Veil of Ignorance” standard, but if someone believes it to be utter hogwash and believes that murdering millions of people is perfectly moral, e.g., Hitler, the relativist is completely powerless to meaningfully and logically counter their claim.
Seventh Flaw: Relativists can’t promote the obligation of tolerance. Moral Relativism is built upon the virtue of tolerance. Relativists claim that we should all be willing to tolerate the moral views of others because morals are an individual and/or community driven issue and we have no right to push our views on others. What is morally wrong for one person may be morally good for another, and we should all be open minded and willing to tolerate those with whom we disagree.
However, the worldview of the Moral Relativist makes their cry for moral tolerance incoherent. In reality, to claim that tolerance is something to which we all should adhere is to claim that it is a moral standard to which all should be held. This then makes tolerance a universal moral standard and is self-defeating given the worldview of the moral relativist. In fact, for the moral relativist to say that all should be tolerant is actually intolerant of them!
In conclusion, as each of these seven fatal flaws demonstrate, the worldview of Moral Relativism has several practical and logical problems. It creates a world where nothing is wrong and nothing is praiseworthy. If Relativism were true, there would be no such thing as justice or fairness, no such thing as moral improvement, and nobody could be expected to be tolerant. In short, Moral Relativism would create a world in which no one would truly want to live.