7 Things You Can’t Do As A Moral Relativist by Greg Koukl

Moral relativism is the theory that denies that humans can posses any objective, universally meaningful knowledge, that there are ultimate and unchanging metaphysical realities or that there are any moral absolutes. Philosopher Peter Kreeft said that “No culture in history has ever embraced moral relativism and survived.”

If you don’t think objective moral values exist, Kreeft is an expert on that (see his website link on this blog). But what’s the problem with moral relativism? Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason (who along with Francis Beckwith wrote Relativism) wrote an excellent article in Salvo Magazine on that topic (he gives detailed reasons for each of these seven points in that article).

Here are the 7 things you can’t do as a moral relativist:

(1) Relativists Can’t Accuse Others of Wrong-Doing

(2) Relativists Can’t Complain About the Problem of Evil

(3) Relativists Can’t Place Blame or Accept Praise

(4) Relativists Can’t Claim Anything Is Unfair or Unjust

(5) Relativists Can’t Improve Their Morality

(6) Relativists Can’t Hold Meaningful Moral Discussions

(7) Relativists Can’t Promote the Obligation of Tolerance

*Greg Koukl is the founder and president of Stand to Reason (www.str.org). Greg started out thinking he was too smart to become a Christian and ended up giving his life for the defense of the Christian faith. A central theme of Greg’s speaking and writing is that Christianity can compete in the marketplace of ideas when it’s properly understood and properly articulated.

Greg’s teaching has been featured on Focus on the Family radio, he’s been interviewed for the BBC, and did a one-hour national television debate with Deepak Chopra on Lee Strobel’s “Faith Under Fire.” Greg has been quoted in U.S. News & World Report, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the L.A. Times. An award-winning writer, Greg is the author of Tactics: A Gameplan to Discuss Your Christian Convictions, Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air with Francis J. Beckwith, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has spoken on more than 50 university and college campuses both in the U.S. and abroad.

Greg received his Masters in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, graduating with high honors, and his Masters in Christian Apologetics from Simon Greenleaf University. He is an adjunct professor in Christian apologetics at Biola University.

Some Gems From Peter Kreeft’s Booklet “A Pocket Guide to the Meaning of Life”

Peter Kreeft is one of my favorite writers – He is a Catholic Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and teaches as well at the King’s College in New York. One of my top five favorite books of all time was written by him called “Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing.” I have a Book Review – which comes nowhere near to doing the book justice on this site. I don’t agree with everything Kreeft writes in this little booklet, nor in most of his writings, but he always gives some great insights, makes one think, and always provides fantastic food for thought.

In this booklet he asks 67 questions related to the meaning of life. Here are a few of the profound insights he gives in answer to some of the questions he asks:

“You need only one thing besides knowing God: you need to know that you need nothing more.”

A GREAT quote from Saint Augustine, “One who has God, has everything; and one who has everything except God, has nothing; and one who has God plus everything else has no more than one who has God alone.”

In answer to how has God revealed Himself? He gives seven ways:

1)    In nature, His creation, as an artist is revealed in art.

2)    In human nature, especially in conscience, His inner prophet in your soul.

3)    In every truth we discover, every good we do, and every beauty we create.

4)    In history, by choosing a people (the Jews) to be His collective prophet to the world, making a covenant with them, giving them His law and His prophets, performing miracles for them (such as the Exodus), and inspiring their sacred Scriptures, which Christians call the “Old Testament.”

5)    Most completely of all, in sending His own divine Son, Jesus Christ.

6)    Through the Church of Christ established “upon the foundation of the apostles” (Ephesians 2:20).

7)    In the book the apostles authored and the Church authorized, the New Testament.

In answer to the question “What is hope?” Kreeft answers: “Hope is believing God’s promises. Hope is faith directed to the future. Like faith, hope is a response to God’s revelation, not a feeling we work up in ourselves. It is like an investment in God. Its opposite is despair, which is giving up on God.”

“Your heart was designed by God Himself to be completely filled by Him alone.” Saint Augustine, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” In every heart there is a God-sized hole that the whole universe is not great enough to fill.

What must I do to find the peace I seek? Jesus’ answers, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).”

How can I come to Jesus if He lived 2000 years ago? Because He still lives today. “He is not here; for he has risen” (Matthew 28:6). Unlike every other man, His tomb is empty He promised His disciples, “I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matt. 28:20).

If I believe in Him and am baptized into His Body, what will happen to me? You will receive the very life of Christ: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). You will be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16). Nothing will be able to separate you from God, in this world or in the next (Romans 8:31-39).

The Bottom Line is that Kreeft answers life’s most important questions because they involve your relationship with God, others, purpose and meaning in the here and now, and your eternity. The here and now is preparation for the future. There are more clear books on how to be saved than this one (e.g. Erwin Lutzer’s “One Minute After You Die”) – but Kreeft is always very helpful and insightful.

The one major concern I have with this book is how Kreeft muddies the waters in making any distinction between justification (how one is made right with God) and sanctification (how one grows in their likeness to Christ) – for much better treatments of the distinction between salvation and sanctification I would recommend the following works: Saved by Grace by Anthony Hoekema; Salvation belongs to the Lord by John Frame; Saved From What?; Chosen By God; and Justified By Faith Alone by R.C. Sproul; and Do I Know God? by Tullian Tchividjian to start with.


Book Review: Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing By Peter Kreeft

An Apologetics Masterpiece!

The Book of Ecclesiastes says “God has placed eternity in our hearts.” I have read this book several times and have been waiting to do this book a just book review, but the first thing I have to say is that it’s mind boggling that so many books other than this one have received such a wide reading – and this book hasn’t. I think it’s a classic masterpiece by a brilliant philosopher who in the mold of C.S. Lewis and Thomas Aquinas writes one of the best reasonable defenses for life after death that have possibly ever been written.

The book is not an “easy” read, but an incredibly “rewarding” read. I think the depth of Kreeft’s knowledge of philosophy coupled with theology and his wide range of reading and creativity makes for writing that feeds the soul and the mind. So much of what we read today is “fast food.” Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing is a seven-course gourmet meal that leaves you full and satisfied. After contemplating what you have just read it makes you long for Heaven and a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus.

The reason I call this an “Apologetics Masterpiece” is because I think Kreeft brilliantly articulates how Heaven is necessary in order for all our desires to be satisfied in the afterlife. He makes a great case for the existence of God and the necessity of our home with Him. There is so much that we long for in this life that will never be satisfied, but will be satisfied in the next. The atheist, agnostic, or even varieties of “ists” and “isms” can’t really explain why our hearts long for so much that can’t be obtained in this life. Peter Kreeft articulates with tremendous insight and creativity to show that Heaven is what we were made for and why that’s the case.

I can’t do the book justice. All I can say is what the Holy Spirit said to Augustine so many years ago: “Take up and read, take up and read…this book.” If you are philosophical and a deep thinker you will absolutely love this book. If you are not a deep thinker, you may struggle along, but I would encourage you to read the book slowly and thoughtfully. Anyone can benefit from this book, but especially those who read it slowly and thoughtfully. One thing this book always does for me, is increase my joy and my hope in my future home – where I will finally be satisfied with everything I’ve ever longed for and more.

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