Cultural Relativism – when does it go too far?

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The Common Street Spiritual Center

13 Common Street · Natick, MA

How to find us

We meet in one of the classrooms upstairs. If you come in to the front of the church, go through the sanctuary to the left and up the stairs. You will see the open door and hear us.

Location image of event venue


A ten year old girl is married to a 70 year old man. Is this rape? In this country, yes, but in other countries, no. And even *within* countries – some states have age of consent for marriage at 14 (with parental approval), others 18 with no exceptions.

Cultural relativism states that a person's beliefs, values, and practices should be understood based on that person's own culture, rather than be judged against the criteria of another. But does something cease to be wrong simply because of tradition? Wasn't that the point of Shirley Jackson's short story "The Lottery"? Is there a universal ethics boundary that cultural relativism can't cross?