A story is told of an argument over moral relativism that took place in a dorm room at the University of Vermont.
The student began to espouse… “What is true for you is true for you and whatever is true for me is true for me. If something works for you because you believe it, that’s great. But no one should force his or her views on other people since everything is relative.”
“What’s wrong with you?” I queried. “Are you having problems with your eyes? I am leaving your room with your stereo.”
“You can’t do that,” he gushed.
“Well,” I replied, “since I lift weights and jog regularly, I think I can in fact do it without any help. But maybe you meant to say, ‘You ought not do that because you are stealing my stereo.’ Of course, I know from our previous conversation that this is not what you mean. I happen to think it is permissible to steal stereos if it will help a person’s religious devotions, and I myself could use a stereo to listen to Christian music in my morning devotions. Now I would never try to force you to accept my moral beliefs in this regard because, as you said, everything is relative and we shouldn’t force our ideas on others. But surely you aren’t going to force on me your belief that it is wrong to steal your stereo, are you? You know what I think? I think that you espouse relativism in areas of your life where it’s convenient, say in sexual morality, or in areas about which you do not care, but when it comes to someone stealing your stereo or criticizing your own moral hobbyhorses, I suspect you become a moral absolutist pretty quickly, don’t you?”
From J.P. Moreland, Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997), 153.