“Who am I to say someone else’s morality is wrong?” the moral relativist asks. It is a stance of humility that he takes, at least on the surface; for how could he be so arrogant as to say what another’s values ought to be?
I choose the male pronoun here because of recent dialogues about this with Paul and doctor(logic) (also male), on this website. At one point Paul had this to say about something I had just written on relativism (my emphasis added).
PAUL: Tom wrote:
TOM: It changes the whole meaning of morality from right or wrong to powerful or powerless. That may not seem wrong, incoherent, or illogical to you, but it absolutely turns my stomach.
PAUL: Yes, I agree about the definition change to the extent that absolute morality disappears, and all that’s left is 1) within an accepted moral code, people say “A is moral” or “B is not moral,” but 2) when looked at from an incompatible culture, or better, from above both cultures, what is right is defined by those with power (the relativistic Golden Rule is “He who has the gold makes the rules”), However, that doesn’t mean that people don’t feel like things are right and wrong, which is why the words are used as if absolutes, even by relativists, but, strictly speaking (or, from the vantage of being above two competing systems), it does come down to a matter of power as to which system will prevail, or, better, seem to be absolute from within one culture.
This is where this “humility” leads. Feelings rule–the feelings of the powerful, that is.
Even one-to-one it is this way. The humble relativist may not decide another’s morals, but he will certainly insist on determining his own. He will not be subject to anyone or anything in making this choice.
Christian humility is nothing like this. It hesitates not a moment to acknowledge there is truth, truth that applies to all persons; but this is not our own truth. It comes from the One to whom all of us must be subject. We are, each of us, tested by it. Through it we come to know our need for grace, for none of us scores perfectly on this test.
Humility is in the reception of grace, not in the rejection of truth.