Relative and Absolute Morality

Explain the differences between absolute and relative morality Absolute morality is when someone has a view they are sure of. This view can be applied to any life situation, and it is a view that will never change.

It is absolute. For example, if someone says ‘abortion is wrong, and always will be’, then this is their absolute rule. It does not necessarily mean that it is ‘right’, but it is a belief that the person themself thinks is right and that it will never change.Relative morality is when someone believes in something, but it changes depending on the situation. For example, if someone says ‘abortion should be prevented, unless it is the most kind and loving thing to do’. This idea could be applied to a situation if, for example, a young girl was raped, and her future would be better without a baby. Aborting the baby could be called the most kind and loving thing to do.

This is relative morality. The main difference between absolute and relative morality is the exceptions.Absolute morality has no exceptions, it is not dependant on the situation and it will never change. Relative morality is full of exceptions, and a large part of relative morality is depending on the ethics of the situation. Absolute morality is supposedly truth to the individual, whereas relative morality is full of different opinions. Absolute morality tends to be more religion orientated. In the Bible there are the Ten Commandments, such as ‘Thou shalt not kill’ meaning ‘you must not murder’.

Any Christian will not question these rules, because they are from God. And so it goes without question that this is an absolute rule. Anyone who doesn’t follow a religion may tend to be more of a relativist, and they may say ‘Murder should be prevented, unless murdering one person could stop the murder of hundreds more’, (like in the case of Osama Bin Laden or other terrorists). Relative morality focuses more on the outcome of the actions, rather than absolute morality which focuses on the actions themselves, and whether they are right and wrong.

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