9/28/15 – Cheyenne, WY: Today’s culture rejects many worldviews: the Roman Catholic worldview among them. Instead, it chooses relativism to champion. Adopting it steals away all meaning from life, and in doing that it robs us of the joy God wants us to live with. Joy is simply not possible without meaning.
Pope Benedict XVI said this about it: “Relativism, which considers all opinions true even if they are contradictory, is the greatest problem of our time.” Think about that for a moment. Consider all the problems in the world today, and yet he says relativism is the greatest of all of them.
What is relativism? It is the theory that there are no absolute truths, but rather all truth is relative. That is, something that is true for you may not necessarily be true for me. This leads to an environment in which every person can do whatever he or she wants to do. This philosophy is full of contradictions, because the idea that nothing is absolute is itself an absolute statement. Relativism is usually confined to the area of morals and ethics. In other areas, relativists will concede that everything scientifically provable is true, but anything that cannot be scientifically verified is not. The problem is, you cannot scientifically verify that statement. This, of course, is a self-contradictory statement.
Another problem is most of us don’t think enough about life, and so little bits of errant philosophies like relativism can stick to us easily enough as we make our way through this world. They are presented under the guise of being open-minded or tolerant. But it is good to be close-minded about certain things – even before we try them. I am close-minded about putting my hand in a chainsaw. It is good for me to be close-minded about that. Being close-minded is not always bad, and it is good to be intolerant of some things. You should be intolerant of some things.
Relativists say you cannot impose your morality on others, that you cannot legislate your personal beliefs. But if you saw someone beating a child (or a pet) wouldn’t you try to stop that person? By doing so you would be imposing your morality upon him or her, but it would be the right thing to do. Some things are right. Some things are wrong. but relativists will not concede this. And, doesn’t all legislation impose someone’s personal beliefs (or a group’s personal beliefs) on the whole society? There is no moral way to sympathize with immoral actions, and it is necessary to be intollerant of some things. Besides, you don’t tolerate things which are good, right? You don’t have to. You only have to tolerate things that are unpleasant.
It is imporatant to note that with the exception of those students fortunate enough to attend a very small group of Roman Catholic colleges which remain faithful to Catholic intellectual life, almost every freshman college student in the country is indoctrinated in the philosophy of relativism in their first semester across almost every subject.
Another problem with relativism is this: if there is no place for truth, there is no place for weisdom. Wisdom, by definition, is the ability to discern what is true, good, right, or lasting. Relativism makes wisdom irrelevant.
For more about this see The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, by Matthew Kelly, 2012.