Is morality a relative concept?
In any society there exists a somewhat mysterious consensus, which changes over the decades, and for which it is not pretentious to use the German loan-word Zeitgeist (spirit of the times). This spread of dates through the twentieth century is a gauge of the shifting Zeitgeist. Another is our attitude to race. In the early part of the twentieth century, almost everybody in Britain (and many other countries too) would be judged racist by today's standards. Thomas Henry Huxley, by the standards of his times, was an enlightened and liberal progressive. But his times were not ours, and in 1871 he wrote the following: ‘’No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favor, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilization will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins.’’ Abraham Lincoln, like Huxley, was ahead of his time, yet his views on matters of race also sound backwardly racist in ours. Had Huxley and Lincoln been born and educated in our time, they would have been the first to cringe with the rest of us at their own Victorian sentiments and unctuous tone. I quote them only to illustrate how the Zeitgeist moves on. American guerillas under Francis Marion were famous for killing many British soldiers from ambush. They were freedom fighters. Iraqi insurgents killed many American conquerors from ambush, why were they terrorists? Also, despite the clear orders of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) concerning the rights of Muslim women in the house of Allah it is a quite common sight around the world of Islam today to...
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