Sunday, February 28, 2010

Do you think ethics are relative?

You've heard people say it -- there are no moral absolutes, just moral preferences. Or that we can't legislate morality, this sort of thing.

It astonishes me that people can believe this sort of thing -- I guess you could if you don't think very hard or you haven't met anyone who does this for a living:

We go into a village and find young girls, maybe 14 years old. Often there isn't enough to eat in these villages, so we tell a girl's parents that we can train her for work in a factory in the city; with her wages she can feed her entire family and have some left over.

We have no trouble recruiting lots of girls for this. We have a nice car and we give them nice smiles. But once we get them a few miles away from the village, we drug them. They wake up in the basement, where we "break them in" by beating them with rods, electrical cords, and plastic pipes. We don't want to mark them up too much.

After three days and nights, they understand that they have no hope; they know they're entirely in our power. Then we put them in windowless rooms where they can make us lots of money. 30 men a day, 7 days a week.

As long as there are hungry villagers, we have no trouble getting lots of girls.

Do you know anyone who actually thinks that morals are just preferences, that there are no absolutes? I'm guessing that they've never encountered human trafficking.

Because the story above is true. I've made up the personality of the kidnapper, but the experience of being lured by someone in a nice car, getting drugged, beaten, and subjected to slavery in a brothel is, I'm afraid, not an isolated incident. And I'm sorry to say this, but I cannot understand how people living in today's world can say that there are no moral absolutes.

The idea of moral relativism is a pretty little theory beaten up by an ugly bunch of facts -- only the latest of which is this awful truth that there are millions upon millions of human slaves today. Some are in brothels, some are in brick factories, some are domestic slaves here in the United States.

What does God think about all this? He doesn't think morals are relative. And he cares very much about the poor and oppressed. Here's what the psalmist wrote:

Rise up, O Judge of the earth;
       pay back to the proud what they deserve.

How long will the wicked, O LORD,
       how long will the wicked be jubilant?

They pour out arrogant words;
       all the evildoers are full of boasting.

They crush your people, O LORD;
       they oppress your inheritance.

They slay the widow and the alien;
       they murder the fatherless.

They say, "The LORD does not see;
       the God of Jacob pays no heed."

Take heed, you senseless ones among the people;
       you fools, when will you become wise?

Does he who implanted the ear not hear?
       Does he who formed the eye not see?

Does he who disciplines nations not punish?
       Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?

The LORD knows the thoughts of man;
       he knows that they are futile.

Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD,
       the man you teach from your law;

you grant him relief from days of trouble,
       till a pit is dug for the wicked.

For the LORD will not reject his people;
       he will never forsake his inheritance.

Judgment will again be founded on righteousness,
       and all the upright in heart will follow it.

No comments: