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Was Jesus a moral relativist?
When I read the Gospels, it seems so to me. Jesus keeps saying things like, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (how you will be judged is relative to how you judge others). Am I right in suspecting that the relativism of morals is a theme often stressed by Jesus?
Most Christians interpret that scripture as Jesus explaining that only God can judge man, that other human beings are not qualified to judge each other. In a similar scripture Jesus warns his followers not to fear men who can harm the body but to fear God who can throw them both body and soul into Hell.
Also these teachings emphasize that all people have sin in their lives and since we're all lowly sinners we shouldn't go around casting stones. This can be illustrated in the story where Jesus stops the stoning of the adulteress as well as when he tells his disciples not to focus on the "speck" in your neighbor's eye when you have a "log" in your own. Rather than show moral relativism I always interpreted these teachings as being ones of self-responsibility, being responsible for your own sin and not the sins of others.
Unfortunately that idea of self-responsibility for sin is directly contradicted by Jesus taking on everyone's sins on the Cross. Christianity is filled with those sorts of contradictions, such as the battle between whether its faith, works, or some combination of the two, that lead to salvation. Plot holes like these have led to a lot of internal debate and help explain why there are so many divisions in Christianity.
No. Jesus taught that we are to love one another and leave the judgment up to God. He said, "Vengeance is mine." In the Old Testament God gave the 10 Commandments to Moses. Those commandments were only meant to convict us of a need for salvation through the work of Jesus Christ. No human being can keep all of those commandments. The only way we can achieve righteousness before a Holy God is to accept the price that Jesus paid on the cross for the sins of all mankind. We are made righteous through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for us. When we accept Jesus' gift to us of salvation and make him the Lord and Savior of our lives, putting Him at the center of our lives instead of ourselves or other things of this world, we enter into a covenant with God, we are "sealed" into a relationship with Him. We are changed. It is called being "born again." When we are born again believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we are still fallible humans, but we do not knowingly and regularly engage in sin because we have repented or turned away from our old ways. When we stand before the throne of the Almighty God one day, we will either be judged for our refusal to accept His free gift of salvation and condemned to hell or if we are believers, rewarded for the works we did in His name. Sin is sin in God's book. There is no moral relativism at all, but Jesus acts as our mediator when we stand before God and those who have been saved by believing in their hearts that Jesus was raised from the dead and turn away from a life of sin (and we all sin - none of us is "good") can expect to spend eternity with God in heaven. No moral relativism at all - in fact, Jesus said that just looking at a woman was considered adultery, just hating someone was considered murder. See this short film with Ray Comfort called "180" - about 33 minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI
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