Ours is a world of relative values.
Nothing is absolute; all is relative, since any thought or actions cannot be seen outside of the context in which they exist or happen. The good or bad we know or perceive is heightened by our experiences or senses, and that there is no way of arriving at a universal adage. What someone think is good may or may not be good to someone with different contexts or experiences. In fact, good and bad are relative.
But now, this could lead to utter anarchy. There must be some things which are either entirely good or entirely bad. Unquestionably, irrevocably.
For thousands of years, most people believed that telling the truth, not stealing, being faithful to your partner, being kind, keeping your word, forgiving people who’ve done you wrong, and not murdering were absolute truths. If people disobeyed these truths, they knew their actions were wrong. This is not the case with most Americans today.
In the last 50 years, there’s been a clear shift in how people view truth. Recent studies show that 91 percent of teens – along with 66 percent of adults -- don’t believe in absolute truth anymore. It’s now a commonly held belief that truth is relative.
After all, the Greek believed that it was wrong to eat the dead, whereas the Callatians believed it was right to eat the dead.
Therefore, eating the dead is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion, which varies from culture to culture.
In our pluralistic society, all opinions all the time have equal value. The public rhetoric is: “I have my truth and you have your truth… so who are you to judge?”
But then there are some absolute facts or truths.
For instance, we don’t have to believe in gravity to jump off a three-story building and experience its deadly effects. Similarly, just because we might believe that we can save money at the pump by filling up our car with water, doesn’t negate the absolute truth that our car only runs on gas.
As such, Truth comes only from the laws of nature. Nature always demonstrates its laws. Thus truth must be unique and universal.
Thus, the truth can be learnt only by examining the demonstrations by nature, just like Galileo did. We cannot define truth by doing math and physics inside our home or laboratories. We must observe the nature.
If you believe in God, this is a no-brainer. Some things are wrong, some things are right, simply because God says so and He/She knows.
I think there must exist at least some consensus among people across education backgrounds/cultures what is considered to be 'good' versus 'bad' making the notions of 'good' versus 'bad' a little bit less relative?
The universe contains two dynamic forces. They are good and evil. Good and evil are twin forces, born of the same father. They are called dvandvas or the pairs of opposites. They have no independent existence. Evil exists to glorify good. This is its only raison d'être. Evil is negative good!
Evil is a destructive force. Good is a constructive force. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this universe. Evil has no independent existence apart from good. Wherever there is good, there is evil. You cannot expect absolute good in this relative world.
You can find absolute good in Brahman alone. From the viewpoint of the basic reality which lies at the back of evil and good, evil and good dwindle into an airy nothing. Evil and good are only mental creations. Transcend good and evil and reach the abode of supreme peace and immortality.
“The only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute” ― Francis A. Schaeffer