Almost Every Young Person Believes Truth and Morality are Relative

We live in a world of cause and effect. People act on what they believe. Some people are more consistent than others. While there is a call for banning guns, the ban we really need is on the teaching of moral relativism and promoting it in every medium known to man, especially in our nation’s schools.

We won’t hear one word about how moral relativism is corrupting the youth of America. There’s still a remnant of moral absolutism among older generations and among liberals who have created a new moral absolutism. Liberals, of course, will deny that their brand of moral absolutism is having a negative effect on society so they blame guns, poverty, and conservatives for our belligerent culture.

Allan Bloom rocked the educational establishment with his 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind. Unfortunately for students, most professors didn’t pay much attention to what Bloom had to say:

“There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4. These are things you don’t think about. The students’ backgrounds are as various as America can provide. Some are religious, some atheists; some are to the Left, some to the Right; some intend to be scientists, some humanists or professionals or businessmen; some are poor, some rich. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality.” (25–26)

Why do we think it’s any better 25 years later? It’s probably worse. If truth is relative, then moral relativism can’t be far behind. In fact, moral relativism is leading the way.

Of course, it’s not true that every person is a moral relativist. It doesn’t take a majority; it only takes a few to turn a tranquil town into a community overwhelmed with grief.

When some internal switch goes off in some misfit’s mind, an ungovernable worldview takes over. All the community standards, cultural taboos, and religious prohibitions became irrelevant.

Barbara Reynolds, former columnist for USA Today, wrote the following in 1993:

“If evolution is forced on our kids, we shouldn’t be perplexed when they beat on their chests or, worse yet, beat on each other and their teachers.” ((Barbara Reynolds, “If your kids go ape in school, you’ll know why,” USA Today (August 27, 1993), 11A.))

Reynolds’ comments are reminiscent of what C.S. Lewis wrote more than a generation ago: “We make men without chests and we expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and we are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” ((C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan, [1947] 1972), 35.))

We strip men and women of the certainty that they are created in the image of God, and we are surprised when they act like the beasts of the field.