I am convinced that one of the primary reasons why cultural relativism (the belief that morality is defined by one’s culture) is such a preferred ethical system in our modern society is due to our promotion of tolerance as being a major (if not the major) virtue. In short, people want to adopt a philosophy of ethics that seems to be intrinsically tolerant of other cultures morals and beliefs. However many people don’t understand that being a cultural relativist does not necessarily mean that you are tolerant of other cultures.

How’s that? Well, since CR says that morality is defined by your culture, suppose that you live in a culture which asserts that you are morally obligated to be intolerant of other cultures. According to the tenets of CR, your being tolerant would be an immoral behavior. 

It’s also interesting to note that the only way that you can be tolerant in the true sense (which means that you do not force those with whom you disagree to adhere to your own beliefs) is that you must accept objective moral truth yourself; this is due to the fact that – as a cultural relativist – it is impossible to disagree (in a moral sense) with other cultures. Think about it…