“People usually form their beliefs based not on what they think is true but on the basis of what they find attractive.” – Blaise Pascal
“What is truth?” – Pontius Pilate
Relativism is the belief there is no such thing as absolute truth because all truth is dependent on the experience and perspective of the individual. This worldview is gaining ground even in academia.
This worldview is also ridiculous. The claim itself, “there is no such thing as absolute truth”, is itself a statement of an absolute truth. It’s like saying, “there are no absolute truths, here’s one.” The foundational claim of Relativism demonstrates that Relativism is irrational.
Similarly, “we can’t know what is true” is something the speaker apparently knows to be true, and “truth is always relative to the experience of the individual” is a truth which is apparently independent of the experience of that individual. These statements upon which Relativism is based are shown to be false by the very statements themselves.
I believe it is impossible to successfully defend the Relativistic worldview in an intellectually honest way. I believe a worldview that refutes itself is a ridiculous worldview.
Sadly the related idea of Moral Relativism dominates our society. This is the view that there is no absolute moral truth as every question of morality turns out to be one person’s opinion versus another. On the surface of it this seems very respectful and open-minded. But it takes all of 30 seconds of reflection to realize this is such an immoral belief it is completely unlivable by anyone who has even a glimmer of conscience.
For if every question of morality is just a matter of opinion, this view could be known as The Worldview Where Racism, Bigotry, Bullying, Adultery, Rape, And Murder Are Okay. This view says that, by definition, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Charles Manson were no better or worse than Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi or Jesus. They each just had an opinion.
The Moral Relativist who says, “you shouldn’t judge people” is judging you in their statement, the one who says “you shouldn’t push your morality on others” is pushing their morality on you and, “you should let other people make up their own mind” is them not letting you make up your own mind.
So while many people like to talk about morality being relative, thankfully almost no one lives this way.
Consider what the person would be like that consistently lives out the Morally Relative worldview, someone who believes there is no moral right or wrong other than what they decide for themselves, someone who believes there is no moral authority beyond their own. There are, in fact, some of those people in the world. They are called sociopaths.
Saddest of all is the relativistic worldview has made great inroads in the church of Jesus Christ, who said he IS truth and truth was why he came to earth. Paul wrote that if Christian faith is not actually true we Christians are all pathetic and wasting our time.
And yet the idea of truth has often been marginalized by the modern church for over a century. The Christian faith is now largely a faith of the heart alone, Jesus is often no longer ‘the only way’, and rather than read their Bible for its’ objective God-given meaning, Christians pray over their Bible verse for ‘personal meaning’ like it’s a magic 8 ball. “Hey Ethel, I just prayed over Matthew 6:34 and God spoke to me that it means I can quit my job because we don’t need to save for the kids college”.
Because the Christian faith has been perpetuated by church leadership as being a faith of the heart alone to the exclusion of the mind, it is no wonder we now live in a post-Christian culture.
May we all learn to base our beliefs on what is true, and not on what we find attractive.
Peachtree City, Ga.