Ethic and Relativism

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Our text discusses the challenge relativism presents to various ethical and religious viewpoints. Consider a specific moral question which might make it difficult to accept the relativist's response. State the moral issue involved, and provide an explanation as to why you think a relativist might have problem giving a justified response to it.

Relativism presents challenges to various ethical, moral and religious viewpoints.  It is tempting to be able to think “live and let live”.  Personally, I generally subscribe to this mind set.  The problem lies when someone’s “living” infringes on another human being.  I will grant that people, cultures, societies, religions, etc. have a right to their own views and standards.  However, when these standards are harmful or trample on what are universally deemed human rights that the relativist might find it difficult to justify their viewpoint.  For example, the practice of female genital circumcision performed in Africa, and in the Middle East.  This procedure is performed anywhere from infancy through before a woman’s first delivery and is considered a traditional coming of age ritual.  The procedure is physically cruel, causes medical complications, not to mention deaths, and is often repeated before and after subsequent births.  Attempts to educate practicing cultures regarding the deadly effects of this tradition have been met much resistance because the women who perform the circumcisions receive their livelihood from this practice.  The men (fathers, husbands, brothers) who continue to promulgate this practice do so even though they prefer women who have not had the process done because they find it not pleasurable during intercourse.  Yet 100 to 140 million women (World Health Organization, 2010, Key facts section) have had this procedure done.  I do not believe a relativist response could possibly be justified in any discussion regarding this topic.  Cultures have a right to practice their traditions but when...
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