The practise of situation ethics also takes into account the outcome of an action and opposes that of moral absolutism, as making moral conclusions according to situation ethics relies only on the principle of love or agape. To do what is most loving in a situation may be seen as of higher importance that doing something just because it is believed to be intrinsically right. This is prominent in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Another weakness in the appliance of moral absolutism is the disagreement it could cause amongst different cultures. What is seen as morally acceptable in one culture may be frowned upon in another, for example it is the norm in some cultures for a man to take more than one wife, where as in most western cultures this is seen as immoral. Cultural relativism maintains that truth itself is relativist and all beliefs are equally valid. The cultural diversity of our world makes it difficult to establish universal morals which every culture should follow, and if the people of a particular culture are content then we should not impose our own morals on them, as we are each a product of our own culture, narrowing our views of what is right or wrong. The fact that the world is constantly changing also means that morals could be seen as relative according to their historical context, and because of this absolute morals are not likely to survive.
Additionally, the controversy in meta-ethics makes moral absolutism unfeasible, as there is no universally accepted definition of right and wrong. What one person describes as right is always subject to disagreement amongst others, therefore it is impossible to agree on absolute moral principles which everyone should uphold. Although most religions have basic guidelines as to what is right or wrong, it is impossible to know the will of God or the gods in every situation.
Alternatively, there are reasons to dispute that moral absolutism cannot be justified, some believe that having absolute standards sufficient way to judge moral questions. This argument has its strengths, one being that it gives a fixed ethical code to measure actions by, so that it is possible to know what is the right thing to do in most situations. In some circumstances it may be difficult to judge what the consequences of a certain actions will be, so by having moral guidelines it makes it feasible to decide on a morally good action.
Furthermore, some actions are almost unanimously agreed to be right or wrong. An example of this would be rape as most would agree that rape is morally unjustifiable in any situation and therefore wrong. In this case absolutism makes the judgment easier and does not allow for any individual to try and justify the act. It could therefore be suggested that it is in our innate knowledge that rape is wrong, so by using our inherent knowledge and reasoning it is possible to decide whether all actions are right or wrong. This worldwide awareness of right and wrong is exemplified in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, in which a set of rules for multiple nations to live by is established.
In response to the idea of cultural relativism one could argue that moral absolutism enables us to effectively judge the actions of another culture, and if all cultures followed this absolute reasoning everyone would have a greater standard of moral living. Cultural relativism could be used as an excuse to act immorally and by having a set of moral absolutes this is made unjustifiable.
Moreover, in many religions a set of moral absolutes is provided by the deity, therefore by obeying these fundamental principles of right or wrong a person is seen as living a morally good life in the eyes of God, and to go against them because of circumstances or consequences is sinful. As God issued the rules by which mankind should follow, they must be perfect since God is perfect.
In conclusion, I agree with the statement that moral absolutism cannot be justified, as moral absolutism is too inflexible in it’s principles to allow exceptions in extreme situations, such as where the life of a human being is concerned.