Tag Archives: Moral Relativism

Lets remind the world what marriage is…

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In the mist of the sexual revolution Pope Paul VI issued an encyclical letter titled Humanae Vitae to address moral issues facing the church about marriage, sexuality and moral law. It was a beacon of light and clarity in a much confused and troubled time. It was also a prophetic text that has been maligned and ridiculed by those who opposed its content.

Humane Vitae directly addresses the issue contraception among      married couples. It states that contraceptive acts are against natural and divine law and reaffirms the institutional foundation of marriage as the union between a husband and a wife for their own benefit and the rearing of new life:

“Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives”.

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Contraception frustrates the total act of unconditional self-giving between a husband and a wife by divorcing the conjugal act from procreation. This ultimately reduces the conjugal act to a mere instrument of self-gratification between couples thereby eroding the unitive foundation of marriage. This erosion has directly led to devaluation of marriage to a commodity. This is clearly reflected by the normalization of sex outside marriage, the advent of no fault divorce laws, and the advocacy to redefine marriage as the legal union of two consenting adults irrespective of their sexes.

The advent of “same sex marriage” partly grew out of a vacuum left by the erosion of marriage as an institution and the rise of relativism. The re-definition of marriage as a “bond of love” rather than total self-giving union between a husband and a wife for the upbringing of children depreciates its value and relevance. If marriage is just a union between people who love each other then why not polygamous marriage or marriage between siblings? After all love is love!

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Pope Paul VI warned the world about the adverse consequences of contraception on moral values, life, womanhood and marriage. No other document of its time has so accurately predicted today’s culture but at the time such warnings were met with outright mockery. Many contemporary evangelicals and some Catholics argued that the used of contraception was intended for married couples to “judicially” space their children, nothing more and the idea of handling contraception to six graders was viewed as delusional and reactionary. Today calling “same sex marriage” as the dissolution of marriage as an institution is met with mockery or outright moral indignation but history will look back as the pinnacle of the sexual revolution and the abolishment of a social construct design to reinforce a patriarchal hierarchy.

As the words of Humanae Vitae become true today it is time to remind the world what marriage really is: a total self-giving of a husband and a wife with an unconditional openness to life for the greater good of the fruit of that union, mainly children.


HUMANAE VITAE

ENCYCLICAL LETTER 
HUMANAE VITAE 
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
 PAUL VI 
TO HIS VENERABLE BROTHERS 
THE PATRIARCHS, ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS 
AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES 
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE, 
TO THE CLERGY AND FAITHFUL OF THE WHOLE CATHOLIC WORLD, AND TO ALL MEN OF GOOD WILL,
ON THE REGULATION OF BIRTH

Honored Brothers and Dear Sons, 
Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The transmission of human life is a most serious role in which married people collaborate freely and responsibly with God the Creator. It has always been a source of great joy to them, even though it sometimes entails many difficulties and hardships.

The fulfillment of this duty has always posed problems to the conscience of married people, but the recent course of human society and the concomitant changes have provoked new questions. The Church cannot ignore these questions, for they concern matters intimately connected with the life and happiness of human beings.

To continue reading click here: Humanae Vitae

Relativism and Abortion

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The coup of relativism in the abortion holocaust is that it convinced societies that abortion does not end a human life but stop it from being. It created a false distinction between biological potentiality and actualization of that potential. The argument often goes like this:

Something is not truly alive until x or y or personhood is not achieved until z or w.

The biological fact that a unique human being is created at the moment of conception is irrelevant because biological potentiality does not equate with personhood only the fulfillment of some arbitrary or subjective developmental landmark. In other words life that is afforded rights only begins after some subjective conditions have been fulfilled. One extreme example, is clearly articulated by Joyce Arthur in an article titled the Fetus Focus Fallacy:

“We all have our own opinions about what the moral status of the fetus might be. Some people believe a fertilized egg is a full human being with an absolute right to life that supersedes any right of the woman. Others believe that a fetus attains moral value only after it becomes viable, or upon birth. But that’s all these beliefs are – opinions. There’s no way to decide between them, because they’re entirely subjective and emotional. Therefore, the only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman. The status of her fetus and any moral value accorded to it is entirely her call. A fetus becomes a human being when the woman carrying it decides it does.”

Joyce Arthur
The Fetus Focus Fallacy

The beginning of life, according to Joyce Arthur, is a matter of opinion, an arbitrary delineation that can only be bestowed by an “act of the will” of the biological mother. This absurdity states that being human is not an intrinsic property of humanity, but rather an acquired trait that is only bestowed by an intellectual accent of another human being: “A fetus becomes a human being when the woman carrying it decides it does”. This is perfectly consistent with relativism. In that it presupposes that A) objective truth cannot be known and therefore B) truth is only relative to the opinion of the individual. In the case of abortion the only opinion that matters is that of the mother. The explicit outcome of such argumentation is the denigration of the dignity of human life to a subjective opinion. The consequence is about 730,000 abortions in the US alone in 2011, according to the CDC. That is almost a million lives quenched before they were born.

The problem with such a framework is that it removes the intrinsic value of human life by imposing conditions on it. It ignores the biological fact that at the moment of conception a unique and different human being is created. That its value is not dependent on achieving some developmental stage, but that is intrinsic to its creation. In the words of Dr. Zeus: “A person, is a person no matter how small.”

This post was a continuation of Relativism and Natural Law.

For a detail and frankly better explication of the issue of Abortion read Trent Horn book, from which I draw guidance in writing this post:

Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk about Our Culture’s Toughest Issue

 

Relativism and Natural Law

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“What is true for you may not be true for me”.

Is an axiom of today’s culture. It plays as a subliminal call for civility, tolerance and understanding. It is also the hallmark of a confused and decaying society, for civility, tolerance and understanding are meaningless in a worldview that forswears objective truth and embraces relativism.

Relativism is the idea that moral truth has no objective or absolute value. Relativism reduces moral truth to a subjective opinion that is variable and contingent on experiences and perspectives. This equivocation makes relativism an existential threat to any civilization that embraces its abnegation of objective truth because it undermines its moral foundation. The absence of objective moral truth subjugates morality to a consensus of opinion at best and at worst to the rule of the mob. In such framework rights are not indelible or universal. They are subjugated to the disposition of a society and subject to change. Thus, under relativism there is no ethical or moral framework upon which to condemn the slave trade or a legal justification to adjudicate crimes against humanity. For relativism disparage the notion that as rational beings, we can discern what is right, proper and just and condemn what is wrong, improper and unjust.

As Professor Peter Kreeft aptly puts it:

“But in fact it is only the believer in the old-fashioned natural moral law who could be a social radical and a progressive. He alone can say to a Hitler, or a Saddam Hussein, “You and your whole social order are wrong and wicked and deserve to be destroyed.” The relativist could only say, “Different strokes for different folks, and I happen to hate your strokes and prefer mine, that’s all.”

Peter Kreeft
A Refutation of Moral Relativism—Transcription

It was precisely the “old-fashioned natural moral law” that afforded the Dominican Friar Bartolomé de las Casas an intellectual framework upon which to argue against the slave trade of the 16-century and for the universality of human rights. He argued that every human being has an intrinsic and objective dignity and thereby should be universally respected. His arguments were not only based on his Christian faith but also on Natural Law. A fundamental principle in classical philosophy that states that there are objective and universal ethical principles that are inherent in all human beings and that these principles can be known through reason.

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Moreover, the intellectual and judicial arguments against Nazi war criminals during the Nuremberg Trials were firmly grounded on Natural Law:

“When I say that we do not ask for convictions unless we prove crime, I do not mean mere technical or incidental transgression of international conventions. We charge guilt on planned and intended conduct that involves moral as well as legal wrong…It is not because they yielded to the normal frailties of human beings that we accuse them. It is their abnormal and inhuman conduct which brings them to this bar.”

Robert H. Jackson
Opening Statement Nuremberg Trials, 1945

Relativism begs the question whether the outcome of the Nuremberg trial was justifiable if the moral values of the tribunal were conditioned by the experiences and perspective of the Nazis. For under a relativistic intellectual regime, the slave trade and crimes against humanity are just a matter of opinion. The only logical conclusion under relativism is that such atrocities are only atrocity because we view them as atrocities. Not because they are intrinsically evil. They are just a value opinion. This is a devastating thought.

Yet the appeal of relativism is inescapable to a self-centered culture. That is obsessed with denying the nature of sin or wrongdoing. It is no wonder that Relativism is today’s most profitable currency in the economy of progressivism. It gives an effective, albeit intellectually unsustainable, framework upon which to justify anything. Its effectiveness in today’s culture is self-evident in its successful devaluation of human life to a commodity through its rationalization of abortion and euthanasia. The former led to an ongoing holocaust of countless generations of human beings whose life are ended by abortion and the latter provided the means to justify the cleansing of those that society considered to be undesirable, i.e. a burden. Its inhumanity is hidden behind the doors of abortion clinics and exposed behind the gates of Auschwitz.

To be continue…