Moral Relativism Is Responsible for Abortion and Euthanasia

We would once have thought it unconscionable to facilitate the suicide of those who are depressed, a practice now legal in countries such as Canada and the Netherlands. Depression was seen as something to be battled, not something to which we capitulate. The change in mood can be explained by a greater change in society’s approach to personal autonomy: the great virtue of the modern world.

A person’s belief about himself is now the ultimate moral arbiter. Self-identity is non-negotiable. For example, a mother’s outlook on her pregnancy now determines whether or not her baby is a human. If the baby is an inconvenience to the mother, the baby is transformed into a mere clump of cells, no more important than a pebble or tea stain: indeed the lives of farm animals and long-dead microorganisms on Mars have greater significance. Doctors and nurses sanitise the subject with Latin, describing the baby as a foetus to undermine its personhood. But if the mother desires her child, her pregnancy is celebrated as the miracle it is. She is shown ultrasounds of her baby, a being now treated as something objectively valuable. Taking this life would certainly be murder. So, what changed? The opinion of the mother.

And so it is with euthanasia. If an innocent person does not want to die and someone kills him, he has been murdered; but if an innocent person does want to die and someone kills him, he has been euthanised instead. This is, of course, ridiculous because killing is something which involves the killer as much as it involves the killed; in fact, the killer is the one who remains to experience the consequences of the event. Murder is not only wrong because it violates the wishes of the person who is murdered but because it violates an objective moral law. The murderer degrades himself by his moral transgression. By analogy, lower order animals cannot observe or experience their own pain like we can, yet it would be wrong for us to torture them. Torturing these creatures is not merely wrong because of what it does to them, it’s wrong because of what it does to us. It’s wrong because it is.

This view of morality is unfashionable in the modern world because the modern person is enamoured of, more than anything, his own will. And it is this selfishness and abandonment of objective moral values which has persuaded us to kill the weak and vulnerable en masse in our societies – societies which are more concerned with eugenic efficiency than they would care to admit.

Without an appreciation of objective moral laws laid out by a moral law giver, we are prone to devise our own arbitrarily, and to manipulate for our own selfish motives those laws which were previously understood as unchangeable. God is probably the most unfashionable idea in the modern world, but without Him we have lost the saving principle that law is above power, that some things are always wrong, and that we have no right to bend the rules. No longer adhering to his unchanging guidance, we are able to argue ourselves into the most appalling positions without resistance. Otherwise civilised people describe unborn babies as ‘not really human even though they might look like it’, and others now encourage the suicide of those they would once have sought to help at all cost. If we aren’t able to say, definitively, whether or not we should be allowed to kill innocent people, then what can we really say about anything?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top