Verse six of Judges Chapter 17 introduces us to a phrase that will be repeated four times in the concluding chapters of the book of Judges. You know the phrase. It is famous: “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This anarchy fathered all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of chapters 17–21. Today this anarchy is called “situation ethics,” “ethical relativity,” or “the new morality.”

William Federer said this is the exact problem in our schools today. The absolute “thou shalt not’s” of the ten commandments are forbidden, but situational ethics underlie every course. He says, there is a “system of belief” taught in public schools called “situation ethics,” where children learn that if there are too many people in a life-raft, they need to decide which one to throw overboard. Those same youth leave the classroom, decide there are too many people in their neighborhood and blow one away! How can we get upset at these youth for simply acting out the “system of belief” they learned in school?

He suggests, “If we do not like students actions, maybe we need to change the thoughts that precede their actions, and possibly reconsider the time-tested, old-fashioned Hebrew code: Do not participate in drive-by shootings (thou shalt not murder); Do not take anything that is not yours (thou shalt not steal); Do not shoot a classmate for his tennis shoes (thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods); Do not beat-up your parents (honor your father and mother); Keep your mouth out of the gutter and stop cursing (thou shalt not take God’s name in vain); Do not be greedy for things (thou shalt not worship idols); Take one day off a week (keep holy the Sabbath); and a revolutionary approach to avoid contracting AIDS while solving the teen-pregnancy problem, wait till marriage (thou shalt not commit adultery)!”

Ethical and moral relativity always results in chaos.