All of us, I believe, seek to know and understand truth, at least insofar as it applies to ourselves. We recognize that paths and decisions we have chosen are rejected by others, while we similarly reject many of the paths or decisions that others have chosen. We see conflict in asserting or believing that universal truth exists as the things that make one person claim to be happy are very contradictory to that which another person finds to make them feel happy. Take chastity for instance. Some believe that sexual relations are only appropriate between a married man and woman, while others maintain very free and open sexual relations with many different people.
Both sides of the chastity issue will likely claim that they are happy and that their views are right, even though their choices are inherently at odds with each other. This type of conflict seems to promote a trend towards people believing in moral relativism and a belief that happiness and truth, at least in the context of morality, is a person by person matter and that no one moral code governs us all. This then fuels anger and discontent towards those who assert that they believe in a universally applicable moral code, as is often the case in religion where there are commandments to follow and a fairly set and defined code of morality, as well as a claim that such morality is applicable to all the world.
I fully recognize that it is daring to claim the existence of a universally applicable moral code, of universal truth, or of commandments associated with the laws of Heaven (I will refer to all of these as "universal truths"), especially when so many people choose to live in contravention to those universal truths. Since I still firmly believe in the existence of such universal truths, despite seeing the lives of so many people who appear to be happy when not following these universal truths, I offer the following to explain why I still believe as I do.
The very essence of my accepting and believing that universal truths exist is found in my belief in God and in my belief that He is just. The only way to be just is to follow a set of established principles, or laws. For example, imagine if we are sitting together at the Pearly Gates one day waiting to see if God will let us into Heaven. Suppose that you and I have lived fairly similar lives, but when the Gates open, you are let in and I am not. "What did I do wrong?" I might ask. If God was not just and did not follow established laws, then I could be rejected for any number of things that others who were let in might have done as well. This would cause confusion to reign, ultimately, if there was no way for us to have any sort of knowledge or expectation about that which is to come. Conversely, when universally applicable laws are established and set, they create order, predictability, and an ability to be just - as justice implies that the conditions of the laws are equally applied to all.
Another reason I believe in universal truth is because I believe that there is a spiritual universe that exists and that there is life after this life. I readily compare our world and Universe to that of the spiritual universe that I believe exists. Here, we can see how laws can create order and provide us a firm foundation upon which to work, grow, and live. Take gravity as an example. Gravity acts on all of us, equally. If we respect the law and abide within its confines, it gives us great predictability and a firm foundation upon which to build and live our lives. It has consequences, certainly, as we are not able to jump off of buildings, fall off of roofs, or fly like birds without the assistance of other forces to keep us from harm. Gravity acts even to keep planets in their orbit and provides us with an awesome sense of predictability to our lives.
Other laws do the same. An established currency allows us to openly buy and sell and establish value for our goods, services, and efforts. Driving laws give us the ability to travel in great groups on freeways within mere feet of each other, to pass through intersections where other drivers are waiting to pass through in opposing directions, and to overall have the ability to get where we need to go. A hot fire gives warmth, but also burns any who get too close. These laws, if universally applied, provide us with the ability to act, progress, and improve, but also carry consequences for their violation.
If a spiritual universe exists, it would certainly have its own set of laws similar to that of gravity, to fire, to cold, etc. A universe cannot exist if it doesn't have laws to establish how things interact with each other, from the galactic down to the atomic level. In a spiritual universe I fully believe that there are cliffs that we can fall from, fires that can burn and destroy, and darkness that can cause despair, depression, and sorrow. God knows where each spiritual cliff is located, how each fire turns from one of benefit to one of destruction, and how to remain in the light that brings warmth and life. Just as I have to rely on health experts to help me know what substances and activities harm my body and which ones are good and beneficial for my body, I so too have to rely on God to tell me what activities here benefit my future existence and which ones destroy it.
To me, the universal truths that I embrace embody laws that transcend our physical existence alone. Going back to chastity as an example, suppose, for comparison's sake, that the sexual drive operated as a fire to our spiritual nature. Fire, within proper bounds, can serve very good purposes and produce much good, just as the relations between a married man and woman can produce much good. Fire, however, when it leaves its proper bounds, becomes destructive and quickly ravages lives, destroying homes, buildings, and entire forests. If, within the spiritual realm the physical sexual drive served as a fire there, then any unrestrained sexual activity here would equate to a ravage fire burning and destroying our spiritual existence there.
Of course, I don't fully know all of the extent of the damage caused to our spiritual realm when we go against what God teaches us. I do know though that we can live for quite some time without detecting the damage or destruction that is taking place. An example of this that we can readily see in our physical realm is cancer. People can smoke and not readily detect the destructive nature it has on their body. People can live close to radiation for many years and never detect the serious damage it inflicts on their body. Many products have been banned because they have been discovered to have caused serious damage to our bodies, including cancer. They were used for a long time though because the damage was imperceptible until it suddenly manifested itself at a time when it was too late to reverse the damage in the affected individuals.
Another law we are all subject to on this earth is death. Death will come to us all. At that point, and assuming that some portion of us lives beyond death, what types of cancer will we find in our spirits? What fires will have ravished our spiritual existence? When we are finally able to see the cancer and destruction that exists, it will be too late to simply remove those consequences from our existence. The very fact that a problem evidences itself means it is too late. I don't want diabetes to hit when I am 50, and so I work now to avoid eating too much sugar. I want to be able to play with my grandkids (when they come), and so I exercise regularly to try and maintain a level of energy that will allow for that later.
Granted, we are different individuals and experience and enjoy different things. Some people may find great fulfillment in being a doctor, while others cannot handle seeing any blood. Some may enjoy appearing in court on a daily basis and arguing cases as an attorney, while others avoid all conflict. We certainly have a realm in which we do work to find who we are, what we like, and what we are good at. However, just because we are individuals and some of us are doctors, construction workers, dancers, etc. does not mean that the law of gravity applies differently to all of us. The law of gravity is universally applicable, and we pattern our lives around it and avoid jumping off of cliffs because of it. Similarly, the laws that God has given are in affect just as universally as gravity, and some part of us is damaged as we violate those laws.
So yes, people can feel happy in pursuing destructive courses of conduct. Look at drugs. A man in a neighboring business to mine died last week from a heroin overdose. From what I have been told, heroin provides a seroius high to those that take it. Nobody that I know of though claims that heroin is somehow good for us as its effects can be seen so readily in the serious damage it causes to all other aspects of a person's life. And yes, like with drugs, people can be happy for a time pursuing courses of conduct that destroy their spiritual state of existence.
Because of this, happiness today or the happiness of individuals throughout their life is not an absolute measure of whether universal truths and morals applicable to all exist. If a basis for accepting moral relativism and rejecting universal truth is that people are happy pursuing conflicting paths, then we are shutting out our vision to the fact that many fun, pleasurable, or exciting actions have real consequences that cannot be perceived until later. One does not know that they have contracted an STD until well after the pleasure of the act is over, one does not know of the cancer growing from the unhealthy substances they consume, and one does not know of the extent of the spiritual cancer and disease in their soul until well after the offending deeds are done.
I do, of course, believe that God loves us and is perfectly just. Because of this, I believe that He established laws and rules to give us the ability to live together, to work together, and to grow and progress to become like Him. These laws give us the ability to act, but they also create the ability for us to be acted upon, and we have to choose to live in such a way that we balance the health of tomorrow with the excitement of today. For laws that God has established to govern and control the spiritual universe, these laws apply equally to us all, just as gravity applies and operates daily in our lives.
To me, moral relativism is simply a license to ignore the cancers and fires that are growing in the wake of our actions and decisions. Moral relativism is also at odds with the scientific pursuit, as scientists actively work to understand the laws that govern our existence, while moral relativism denies the existence of some types of laws. To deny that there are basic laws or truths that apply to all humans at a moral level is to deny that there are any consequences for our actions. Just as it is seriously shortsighted of an individual to believe that there is no future health consequence to their food and lifestyle choices today, so too moral relativism applies a very limited vision in its refusal to consider the depth of the harm that certain actions can cause, in this life and in the next.
In short, I fully accept and believe in universal truth and reject moral relativism. Without truth and laws applicable to all, our universe would simply not exist and we would have no foundation upon which to progress or improve, to be healthy, or to have any sort of future. Rather than view gravity and spiritual laws as a restriction and impediment to life, I view these laws and truths as the foundation upon which I have to build and progress to establish a lasting and fulfilling existence.