Moral Relativism—Who Decides?

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The rapidly declining moral state of America was the subject of a recent New York Times opinion piece. In it, the author bemoaned the deplorable state of many of today’s families and nationwide moral problems. He wrote, “We now have multiple generations of people caught in recurring feedback loops of economic stress and family breakdown, often leading to something approaching an anarchy of the intimate life.”

This opinion piece is titled “The Cost of Relativism,” and it certainly shows what moral relativism is costing this nation. The author, David Brooks, states,

It’s increasingly clear that sympathy is not enough. It’s not only money and better policy that are missing in these circles; it’s norms. The health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues of its citizens. In many parts of America there are no minimally agreed upon standards for what it means to be a father. There are no basic codes and rules woven into daily life, which people can absorb unconsciously and follow automatically.

What Brooks is saying is that moral relativism—the idea that there isn’t an absolute standard for right and wrong—has created a generation that is morally sick because this generation has no agreed upon standard to follow. Now this is something Answers in Genesis has been warning for years concerning the increasing rejection of the absolute authority of the Creator God and His Word in the culture.

Brooks’ solution to this pervasive problem is first “reintroducing . . . a moral vocabulary” and then “holding people responsible” and “holding everybody responsible.” But how will this relativistic culture ever decide on what values and morals to hold? And who gets to decide? Our culture has, by and large, replaced God’s absolute foundation for morality—His Word—with the idea that man decides truth. As soon as man decides truth, “everyone does what’s right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25) and you end up with a society like ours! We see this pattern repeated over and over in Scripture, especially in the book of Judges, and the pattern still repeats itself today. I predicted in the 1980s in my book The Lie: Evolution that the turn of our culture from basing its thinking on God’s Word to man’s ideas in the issue of origins would result in a steady loss of biblical morality and values across the nation, and that’s exactly what has happened.

Moral relativism doesn’t work. There must be a standard for morality and ethics, and the only absolute standard that transcends culture, society, and generation is God’s unchanging Word. Sadly, our culture, and even much of the church, rejected what God’s Word said about our origins, and the result of that has been a rejection of what God's Word says about morality as well.

While Brooks pointed out the need for agreed-upon values and morality, and accountability to these values, he did not point out the only true solution to moral relativism and moral decline. Jesus Christ and the gospel message are the only answer to our society’s problems and tremendous moral decline. As Christians, we need to be bold and unwavering in sharing the good news of the gospel to our dying culture.

I believe the evangelistic ministries of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the coming Ark Encounter have been raised up in our day to call church and culture to stand on the authority of the Word of God. Make sure you’re connected with the Answers in Genesis ministry at

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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