3 Problems with Moral Equivalence

February 27, 2015

In light of recent terrorist atrocities, Americans (particularly Christians) have been challenged to recognize and remember that all religions have their violent strains. Therefore, no religion (particularly Christianity) should view itself as any more morally advanced than any other.

Moral Equivalence

One common example cited was the Crusades of the Middle Ages. Were the Crusaders really the moral equivalent of ISIS? Historians will have to answer that question, but to claim that two religions are both guilty of violence in the name of their god (and thus should be slow to criticize each other) is the moral equivalence view.

It is one thing to debate the fine points of medieval history and theology, but in counseling, the moral equivalence view has more immediate consequences, especially if you are dealing with cases like sexual trauma, rape and domestic violence (or the new term, intimate partner violence). Whenever I counsel someone who is guilty of such actions, it is almost guaranteed that they will rationalize their behavior as a normal counterbalance to whatever sin was committed by their victim.

Sadly, society often does too.

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