The Wayward Catholic e-Letter – November 2015
Here is a quick question: How many choices are there to any particular action? One, two, more?
Most people can’t answer this question without some difficulty. They will answer with something like “It depends on the situation and X, Y and Z factors.” In computer programming, there is something called the “If, then Else” statement. This means if the user makes a certain choice then the computer will perform this action. If the don’t then the program will perform another action.
“If Choice ‘Yes’ then open a web page, Else, don’t open the web page.” This is a pretty simple example. There might also be choices or conditions attached to the statement. “IF Choice = ‘Yes’ and User = Sam then open a file, else if choice = ‘Yes’ and User = Spade then open a different file.” I am not a programmer, but this illustrates that you can make a lot of choices based on different factors.
Going back to my question, do you believe there should be more than one right choice? Instead of everything being black and white should there also be a gray?
What about moral issues? Should there be a well-defined line that never moves or should it be changing? This is what we see today. A moving line that is sometimes okay to cross and sometimes not. We live in an age when moral relativism is the norm.
Moral relativism is the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and therefore subject to a person’s individual choice. We can all decide what is right for ourselves. – http://www.moral-relativism.com
If this is true then how do we decide what is right? Let’s take a look at an example of where the line seems to be constantly changing.
Recently there have been news stories about the death penalty and abortion funding, via government funding of Planned Parenthood. Supreme Court Justice Anthonin Scalia stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if soon the death penalty is struck down. There have also been several stories relating to the inability to obtain the drugs needed to inject into those who are sentenced to death. There have been several executions by legal injection lately that have gone wrong causing the defendants severe pain and suffering. This has reopened the debate whether the death penalty and especially if done by lethal injection is morally right or wrong.
On the defunding of Planned Parenthood (PP), this has come as a result of a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress showing officials at PP discussing how they are selling fetal tissues and body parts after they perform abortions. These videos claim that the fetuses are dissected and their tissue and various organs are then sold to various research companies.
This is not a discussion on either the death penalty or abortion and whether they are right or wrong. Rather it looks at how our moral compass has turned upside down. The same people who are the first to rail against the death penalty because it is inhumane and violates a person’s civil rights are the same people who claim that it is okay to kill unborn children claiming it is a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body? There is never any mention about the unborn baby’s body and the inhumane way it gets treated. In other words, the line is always moving.
In one case it is okay to tear a body apart. In another, it is considered cruel and unusual punishment to kill someone for committing a crime because they have to suffer. We move the line.
When you practice moral relativism you are always moving the line. The problem we will run into is this. Once a majority of people become coerced into believing something that was morally wrong is now okay, we continue to spiral down into more evil.
There are only two choices we can make for any decision:
Our answer must be based upon one of these two. Good or evil, right or wrong, black or white, there is no gray.
Next month: How do we decide?