[un]conscious-stream[ing]

Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Relativism

“That’s your truth and I respect that”.
“That’s true for you but not for me.”

How many times have you heard those statements?

Unfortunately for relativists, ‘Relativism‘ falls at the first hurdle.

A relativist claims that “there are no absolute truths”, everything is relative to something else and ‘truth’ is a transient, dynamic, relative concept.

If you are claiming “there are no absolute truths”, you are effectively making a statement that you believe in one absolute truth – the absolute truth that there are no absolute truths.

With that, the relativist argument has no foundation to build upon, it has nothing with which to hold water. It argues itself out of existence before it even begins to argue.

Relativism, RIP.

In the words of Gerard Kelly [waving his bible around]:

“This is what is true, and if there is a distance between this [the bible] and me, I’m the one thats got to move!”
Its not about moving this to make it more relevant to me, its not about saying ‘oooh, God, I’m not really coping too much with your word at the moment, can you just alter it a bit so its a more palatable to me?’
Its about me saying ‘this is where the character of God is, this is where the story of God is’ and I need to say, “If I’m somewhere different, its me that needs to move.” 

Something we should listen to and take heed of.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

 

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4 responses to “Relativism

  1. Tobit 17/08/2009 at 12:53

    ok, I hear what you are saying, but I think you might need to explore the relativist argument a little more (!)there are at least 2 types of relativist arguments, one, as you point out, is empirically false. The/an-other describes a process where we should look at each 'truth' or 'culture' etc. on its own terms. this is quite a different proposition to the one you describe.to set up a position whereby "I am not certain we can ever be certain of anything" speaks from a place of humility.The truth, I would argue, is determined by ones reality, and truth claims are human theories about reality. When it comes to truth, at best (for me anyway) it is the ability to have something which I believe in backed up with a logically justifiable confidence.I don't propose that an unreasonable radical relativism is a good thing at all, but some kind of reasonable moderate relativism is good and wise, too much is as you say, foolish.loving the blog BTW

  2. Ben 17/08/2009 at 14:58

    Interesting train of thought…Clearly, to emphatically claim there is no absolute truth is a nonsense in itself.But I'm not sure there's anything inherently 'wrong' or 'untrue' about the 'relativist' statements you highlight. Human truths are relative – we have to take into consideration cultural context, our own world view, life experience, and philosophy (all of which colour our vision and judgement) when making a judgement. I've seen plenty of arrogant neo colonialists insist that others accept [their version of] the truth, and get nasty when there's dissent or debate. And I've also observed that relativism is often conflated with weakness, when in fact it is, as Tobit implies, more suggestive of humility, or reflective of a genuine searching spirit. Surely everything is relative [to God]?

    • Sentinel 28/09/2010 at 04:24

      Human truths are relative – we have to take into consideration cultural context, our own world view, life experience, and philosophy

      I guess my problem with this statement is that you don’t seem to be talking about truth.

      A “relative truth” does not seem logically coherent. Truth is objective. Beliefs and opinions and levels of understanding can all be influenced by cultural context, world view, life experience and philosophy, but I don’t see how truth can be so influenced and still be deserving of the name “truth”.

  3. Alex 18/08/2009 at 15:34

    As you probably guessed, the post was deliberately dealing with one-dimensional relativism, there wasn't time to explore the other approach(es) which are somewhat too complex to stay as neat as my short, purposefully slightly myopic criticism of the argument.As you say though, in it's most reductionistic form, relativism = fail!Thanks for the input, it helps round the ideas and give necessary perspective, accentuating what I intended to highlight!The statements were intended to draw some discussion!

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