To my way of thinking ethical relativity and situation ethics are not to be dismissed out of hand. There are still Pharisees to whom the letter of the law is an idol. They would rather punish than forgive. There are still fundamentalist Christians for whom there is one right, one wrong, and one way. Such a philosophy allows for no moral speculation and it cultivates the iron grip of righteousness. I believe that this philosophy is also the source of a great deal of religious intolerance, misunderstanding, and attitudinal friction. Couldn’t it be imagined that there are two, three, or more rights, wrongs, or ways?
The situation, for example, of the woman taken in adultery allowed the Jewish Pharisees and elders no other choice but to stone her. But in that situation You saw something less wrong than their wrong. You saw something more right than their right. You saw a better way than theirs – and it all revolved around love, forgiveness, and mercy. The scriptural account of this is not just the record of an historical event, it is an account of You teaching us a lesson. Notions of one right, one wrong, and one way are not Your notions. Who and what You are, and who and what we should be allows for tolerance and acceptance of another right, another wrong, another way. The love, forgiveness, and mercy at the heart of Your message demands this.
Men search for You and pursue You in their own ways. As we cultivate a personal relationship with God we should take into accountindividual differences in others. You, indeed, are THE WAY in capital letters. But here are those who do not accept everything about that WAY yet believe in and pursue God. Their ways, in small letters, are sincere and genuine and not worthy of intolerance or derision. That isnot Your way.