So said Lord Melbourne, William Wilberforce’s chief opponent in the drive to abolish slavery throughout the British realm. A sentiment echoed throughout history – up to and including the present – by those who believe religion to be strictly a private affair, having no real import or impact on what we do or say on a daily basis. Certainly irrelevant to politics and the personal ethics of those involved in running “the real world.” Scripture’s response to such nonsense aptly expressed in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proponents of relativism – past and present – have always sought ways to excuse their behavior. In believing that all ethical decisions are relative or derived from their own personal perspectives and almost totally independent of anyone else’s, they free themselves of all responsibility to conform to any code of conduct but their own. In recognizing no moral absolutes – principles that transcend all people and their circumstances and therefore applicable to most every situation – they essentially believe nothing or no one capable of advising their actions. Thus Lord Melbourne and his companions actually convinced themselves that slavery benefitted everyone involved. Like-minded slave owners on the American continent likewise used the labor of black men, women and children to create a profitable plantation system of agriculture that spurred the creation and growth of southern cities and culture; while – so the argument went – benefitting the slaves by removing them from the poverty, strife and ignorance of jungle life in Africa. They might even be allowed to hear the gospel and its message of salvation, if sub-human beings in fact had a soul to save, as a result of their “employment.” Again, scriptures response found in Proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
Many in the world today have replaced relativism with the near worship of man found in humanism. This value-system holding mankind to be inherently good, needing only the right environment, education and technology to prove himself. The premise being that there is no need of a God or Godly directives; self-actualization – not the supernatural – being where man’s future lies; man being the pinnacle of physical, mental and moral evolution. Which is an extremely subjective way of thinking, freeing us to say and do pretty much anything we please!
Subjectivity is defined as a belief-system that allows its adherents to view the rest of the world through a very narrow lens based almost exclusively on their own personal feelings, preferences and needs of the moment. Objectivity, on the other hand, is based on observable causes-and-effects; principles consistently applied and proven true – its existence derived not from feelings but on a well-defined pattern of behavior or laws – both civil and natural – that help create a universal sense of right and wrong that in turn fosters a sense of well-being for most people. It’s a way of engaging the world through ethical behavior based on something other than ourselves. They are sufficient in and of themselves, having proven themselves over time to be dependable and beneficial for the greater good, refuting “the way of a fool (which) seems right to him,”; even as it commends the “wise man (who) listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 (The debate concerning the existence of ultimate truth and moral absolutes having as its source some men’s doubting God’s existence, prompting them to then question anyone’s right to advocate principles based on God’s word and example; impacting our personal identities, our sense of purpose and our influence on those around us – as well as our destiny in the hereafter.
Subjective relativism and secular humanism are selfish world-view systems that degenerate into chaos; Old Testament scripture describing this condition as, “…everyone (doing) as he saw fit” or “…that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6 & 21:25 (NIV & KJ) The New Testament admonishing those with this mind-set with, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7,8 So stand true, be strong; do right, be a light. For, “…the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9 (See also 1 Peter 3:10-12)
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