Do Objective Morals Exist?

by Dave DeSonier

“Is there anyone in the world right now doing things you believe they should stop doing no matter what they personally believe about the correctness of their behavior?” [1]

  • What about poachers slaughtering animals to extinction
  • Or psychopaths torturing babies for fun?
  • The Nazi genocide against the Jews?
  • Trafficking women as sexual slaves?
  • Attacking homosexuals simply because of their beliefs?
  • Allowing mega-corporations to profit by polluting the earth?

If, like most people, you answer “yes” to the original question, doesn’t that mean you believe that there is some kind of moral reality not defined by us that we are all obliged to follow regardless of what any of us feels or thinks?[1] That ‘moral reality’ is called an objective moral.

Moral Relativists don’t believe any objective morals exist. They claim there is nothing  — no act, or emotion, or impulse — that can be declared morally wrong for all people at all time, because each person or society gets to determine their own morals. In recent decades moral relativism has broadened its following. You can identify relativists by the quite catchy slogans they use to respond to objective moral statements:

“You’re being intolerant.”

“Live and let live.”

“Who are you to judge?”

“That’s true for you but not for me.”

“That’s just your opinion.”

“Quit forcing your morals on others.”

These slogans resonate with a broad variety of people. In fact, some surveys conclude only one-third of Americans believe in objective moral truths.[2]

But there is a problem.  Even though relativists have a large following, relativists’ views are intellectually bankrupt. The premises of moral relativism are logically inconsistent; in fact, it is impossible for relativists to consistently live out the principles they espouse

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