To be sure there are cultural differences. Some eat with a spoon, some don’t. Some practice arranged marriage; some believe that marriage is a personal choice. These are just a few examples; and people conclude the cultural values are relative. That’s fine for as long as you mean that cultural values are relative to the country that practices it. A cultural value is not any worse or better than a value of another culture. It’s just different. Cultural relativism, you might say.
What about morality? If cultural relativism is accepted and acceptable, can we likewise conclude that moral values are relative? What is implied in moral relativism?
An Indian mother living in Canada had been convicted for ‘taking the life’ of her second daughter. She and her husband have no sons. They wanted so much to have a son. But, they didn’t. So, the mother did what she did. In Canada, that’s a crime. In India, it’s a practice to which many Indians in India adhered. It is a cultural value, and also perceived as a moral value. Is this a case of a cultural value being perceived as a moral value? If so, can we then conclude that that moral value is no worse or better than loving a child who happens to be a female? Can we then say that it’s alright to have children killed simply because the parents did not get what they had hoped for?
Is evil relative? Is good relative? Is it a matter of one culture imposing its morality on another culture? I was brought in a Christian environment. Does it follow that my moral values are relative? In other words, is the Christian belief in ‘Do unto others as you want others to do unto you’ is therefore relative?
But, does it matter whether it is a Christian belief or not? Harming and exterminating the life of another person is always perceived as harmful to the person who is inflicted with pain. Would you for no other reason except for the fact that the person does not like you, that you just didn’t fit to his or her plan of what life is or should be?
Moral values are not a matter of subjective opinion. They are not an opinion. They exist for the simple and plain reason that the person is to be held with the highest regard. The person is a value in himself, by himself. He is not to be used for someone else’s utilitarian purpose or pride.
Yes, there are cultural differences. But I judged the Indian mother to be guilty of murder. You can imagine that the 3 year old didn’t die without putting a fight to save her life.
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