Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Crime and culture

An opinion piece on the lack of prosecutions in the UK for female genital mutiliation:

Amongst other things, I think it is revealing to see how opinion-formers and commentators in our secularist, post-Christian society are now speaking.

" Moral relativism has long been thrown out as a sensible argument" - good, but what have you got to replace it? Next lines: "One person taking a knife to a young girl's genitals is a crime. A million people doing it doesn’t make it culture." - and then, the end of the article.

So, just a declaration, with no argument. If you dare to raise a question, then presumably you'll be shouted down for supporting the mutilators. (And comments are closed on the piece, though that may be because it concerns a matter that is sub judice). What's my point? My point is that we're seeing this pattern of argumentation more and more frequently. People realise that moral relativism clashes with reality. It is self-contradictory in theory, and doesn't work in practice. So, what's next to try? If you don't have moral relativism, then you must have moral absolutes. But absolutes need grounding in something. What are the commentariat going to ground them in? The answer appears to be in the force of their declarations, followed by their ringing full stops. It's a crime... so shut up. Got any quibbles with the concept of two men "marrying" each other? It's obviously right, so you're a hater, so put a sock in it! When I was at university, the student union was a "no platform" policy for anyone who wasn't in favour of ending children's lives in their mother's wombs - not just that they were held to be wrong, but that they weren't allowed to speak; giving them the "oxygen of publicity" would, for the elite in the student union leadership, be itself morally wrong. Etcetera.

In fact, when you get down to it, this is just moral relativism re-branded. Rather than "everyone's chosen morality is right for them", it's "the chosen morality of those in power is right for everyone". The same question is ultimately begged - why is it right? What does "is right" mean? Where's the external measuring stick - beyond man's ability to choose or change - that we can use to make this evaluation?

Christianity provides moral absolutes that are grounded. Our Maker is good, and we are living in his creation. His essential nature binds us, and he has given a law that reflects that nature. Morality is not arbitrary - whether the arbitrariness is personal and different for everyone, or just the arbitrary choices of the leaders of society. It is binding upon us, becomes it proceeds from our Creator and Judge. Secularism and atheism provide no logical foundation for morality; Christianity does.

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