What if a group of people believed false things about reality? How would the individuals of that group do at functioning in the world with other people? For example, let's say that a certain group of people believed that the results of mathematical equations would result in random answers (a false view of reality). Thus, if one of their children asked, 'what is the sum of 2 plus 2 daddy', the parent would say, 'well, we are not really sure, maybe 6, maybe 3, or possibly 4'.
How well would their buying, selling or trading work?
How would their architects and engineers design things to build?
If a group of people denied the principles that mathematics operates on, not only would they be hard pressed to live up to their human potential, they would likely be in chaos.
Here is another example: What if a group of people believed that each person must decide what a particular noun means (that the meanings of the nouns in that culture's dictionary are incorrect). In other words, they agreed on a basic vocabulary in terms of the word's existence, spelling and pronunciation, but left the definition of the words up to the individual. How well could that group communicate? If a group of people turned away from a common standard for knowing the meaning of nouns, then would not confusion and chaos result? Imagine this grocery store scene, 'Excuse me sir, could you please tell me where the apples are?' the worker answers, 'well, what do you mean by 'sir' and 'apples'?'
As another example, what if a group of people could not agree on what was right behavior and what was wrong behavior? So, for example, one parent believes that it is OK when their son takes vegetables from their neighbor's garden without asking but others don't. Another parent thinks it is OK if their son bullies and forces his will upon others but others don't. If that group of people could not agree on what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior, how would that group do? Would there be harmony and peace, or would there be discord and conflict?
Or, how about this one. What if people believe that the color of one's skin determines your morality or your moral choices. In other words, your character is irrelevant or subservient to your skin color. So, for example, a red person sees a blue person and determines by the color of their skin, that the blue person is a nasty racist who hates people of red skin color and needs to be punished somehow.
As far-fetched as some of the above examples might seem, the point of this article is to demonstrate that there is an increasingly widely held belief by the people in the United States (and in other nations as well) that is serving as the foundation for - and enabling - people to in fact enter into the kind of destructive confusion and chaos in the examples above. That core level belief or world view is called "relativism". Here are some dictionary definitions of "relativism":
Google: "the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute."
Cambridge Dictionary: "the belief that truth and right and wrong can only be judged in relation to other things and that nothing can be true or right in all situations"
Wiki: "The term 'relativism' often refers to truth relativism, which is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture."
To prove the non-far-fetchedness nature of the problem, consider this example. Neighbor A has a daughter who thinks she is a male/son and her parents support her delusional views. This girl who thinks she is a boy wants to date neighbor B's daughter. Neighbor B holds to a rational view of sex identity and thus believes that young males are boys and young females are girls. How is that going to work out when neighbor A's daughter asks to date neighbor B's daughter?
The last example about racism is currently gripping the U.S. and is marking the point where what is talked about in this article is happening...that people are abandoning reason for madness.
This is where relativism and emotionalism - and the associated rejection of reason - are taking people.
There are two primary factors to the source of blindness and confusion. First, people denying that any morally objective or universal standard regarding right and wrong, or proper and improper human behavior exists. This is known as "ethical" or "truth relativism". So, element one to the great blindness that people are entering into the belief of "truth" or "ethical" relativism. This leads to people not knowing what is morally right versus what is morally wrong behavior, or their disagreeing on what is morally right or wrong behavior due to not having a common ethical standard based on reason that they share. Furthermore, if human nature was essentially good, this would not be much of a problem. But if human nature is essentially bad, then having a moral standard is critically important for it informs people when they cross boundaries.
A person being an ethical or truth relativist is like being lost at sea without a compass or sun or stars to guide your efforts to find your way home. For many, it means denying there is a home to begin with. People cannot function without having, or believing they have, some sense or orientation in the world, so those who hold to truth relativism make up or create their own compass, sun or stars. Those who do this are delusional but very sure that their self-made ethics or existential views are correct even though those views often DO NOT pass the test of logic. For an understanding of those substitutes or self-made ethical frameworks, please see Subjective and Cultural Relativism: Bankrupt Moral Frameworks. As people abandon the belief that a Creator exists who both programmed us (our conscience) as well as sent us an objective and ultimate source of ethics (Joshua of Nazareth or other God-source), they turn to their own feelings or imaginations to determine what is right and wrong. And when those people have natures that are bound by fear, self-pride and selfishness, we should not expect good results in terms of human behavior.
The second element to the blindness and confusion is people being unable or unwilling to use reason well in order to arrive at sound conclusions in any realm of knowledge but rather trying to use their emotions to do so, particularly in the realm of human beliefs and moral behavior. Stated another way, people are turning away from reason and logic as being the primary means to sort out true from false and right and wrong claims in many domains of knowledge, and are instead turning to their "feelings". Relativism plays a big part in this, but so does emotionalism - the belief that 'human knowing' is primarily an emotional endeavor instead of an endeavor of observation and reason.
Emotionalists or those heading that way, make the statement, "I feel that is wrong" or "I feel that is right" when commenting on human behavior with moral implications. These are those who are lost and fishing around for an moral principle that will generally justify their own behavior.
Objective rationalists make the statement, "I believe that is wrong for the following reason(s)" when commenting on human behavior with moral implications. These are those who rely on reason to find what moral principles are best from the standpoint of principle, NOT self-serving feelings.
Emotionalism is a fruit or consequence of both abandoning any objective source for what is morally right or wrong, but also of laziness and selfishness. These folks generally don't want to bother to think things through, they would rather just seek and justify what they want.
The relativism philosophy states there are no absolute truths (or standards) that exist to judge anything (of course 'anything' would include human beliefs or behavior). See the above definitions for "relativism". Stated another way, this belief says that the individual person's beliefs on any topic or ethical view is that person's ultimate reality or complete truth which no other person is bound by.
Furthermore, relativism is girded by physicalism which is the belief that there is no reality (metaphysical or otherwise) beyond the physical reality that can be measured by 'science'. It states that there are no objective, universal or absolute truths that exist or for people can hold to, 'that all beliefs and behaviors are only real or meaningful or relevant to the person or persons who hold them and no one else (unless other people happen to hold to those same beliefs and behaviors). Stated yet another way, there is nothing outside of the human brain (really the mind, but physicalists irrationally deny the existence of the mind) by which human's behavior or beliefs can be governed or judged as right or wrong.
Obviously relativism is a true belief for many lesser aspects of the human experience, like wealth accumulation, for example. Who defines what 'materially wealthy' is? Obviously each society or group of people will have different standards regarding 'who is wealthy'. The people in a village in Bangladesh will have a different standard than the people of the city of Tokyo, and thus a person's material wealth will be relative to others they encounter in their normal sphere of living.
While relativism is valid for many aspects of the human experience, it fails as the highest governing belief of the human experience (existential) and it fails in trying to sort out human ethics.
When you apply reason to moral or existential relativism, it is shown to be self-defeating. The statement from the consistent relativist is:
'There are no universal or absolute existential or moral truths that can be known or applied among all human beings'.
But when you ask the relativist who uttered that statement, 'does your statement convey a universal truth that applies to all people', they have only two reasonable answers - yes or no.
If they answer 'yes', then there is at least one universal truth, and thus their statement is false.
If they answer 'no', then they admit that relativism is false since there are objective or universal or absolute truths that exist. Therefore, other objective or universal truths might also exist, so perhaps it would be wise to seek out from where objective, universal or absolute truth originates.
Please read this paragraph again, slowly and carefully, for it proves (using logic) that moral or existential or truth relativism is a false belief, and thus if you hold it, you ought to abandon beliefs that are false. Furthermore it proves that the reality we find ourselves is was set up or programmed to clearly point to the fact that universal truths, including moral ones, do exist.Let us take a look at another statement that clearly demonstrates the self-defeating nature, and thus the falsehood, of moral or truth relativism. Please consider the following statement:
'You are wrong to say that I am wrong'; or 'You are morally wrong to say I am morally wrong'.The self-defeating nature of the statements is obvious. The person saying "you are wrong to say that I am wrong" is contradicting themselves in that simple statement. They are accusing the other person of being wrong for saying they are wrong, even while they say the other person is wrong! The same is true of the following sister statement which includes the word "moral".
Again, these statements demonstrate that human beings exist in a reality which has objective and universal truths, both existential and moral. In other words, someone set up or reality to demonstrate and affirm that truth - existential or ethical - is not relative to human perspective but rather represents a universal standard that exists.
Truth or moral relativism says that there are no universal, objective or absolute truths that apply to collective humanity. If relativists were consistent and applied that belief reasonably, they should not declare a foul by stating a person 'ought to' or 'ought not' believe or behave in a certain manner . A consistent relativist contradicts themselves when they say to another person, 'you should not believe that' or, 'you ought not to do that'. And if asked by the person who is receiving the relativist's correction, 'why not?', a relativist who answers with anything other than, 'because I say so' (and thus identify themselves as a subjective relativist) or 'because the majority says so' (and thus identify themselves as a cultural relativist), will contradict themselves.
Please consider this statement, 'it is wrong to judge'. Is that a self-defeating statement? Yes, it is for a judgment is made in the statement which statement says it is wrong to judge!
The statement 'it is wrong to judge' is merely a simplified version of, 'it is disrespectful to judge another person's beliefs'. If a person believes and expresses that 'It is acceptable to judge another person's beliefs', then that person is JUDGED as intolerant and disrespectful by the person who believes, 'it is intolerant and disrespectful to judge another person's beliefs'. Do you see the contradiction? When the person who says, 'It is intolerant and disrespectful to judge another person's beliefs' judges another person's beliefs as wrong, then by their own principle, they are "intolerant and disrespectful"!
The above examples of arguments are proved false by using logic. Logic provides rules by which reasoning should operate. Logic is a sub component of reasoning. One of the laws of logic says that if two things/concepts/ideas/beliefs contradict one another when addressing the same subject, and both claim to be true, then at least one is false. This is the case for the statement, 'all red rocks are blue' or 'it is wrong to judge'. In the latter, the subject, 'judgment', is said to be wrong or is judged to be wrong. Thus, the statement is false as it contradicts itself.
Let us look at the main issue again from a slightly different perspective to help the reader grasp this important point.
Consider again the statement, 'It is wrong to say something is wrong'.
This statement uses a synonym for 'judge', namely a type of judgment, 'wrong-ness', in order to make clearer the false nature of the statement. The statement claims that it is wrong to say something is wrong - a clear contradiction. It is the same nature of statement of something like, 'It is bad to say (or judge) something is bad'. Judgment is the declaration of something as right or wrong, good or bad, true or false. The nature of the term 'wrong' is undeniably an essential aspect of human judgment and an integral part of human's ability to reason. A person cannot utter a coherent, non-definitional statement containing the word 'wrong' (and its associated concept) without making a judgment.
Therefore, the statement, 'It is wrong to judge' is a false statement as the statement contradicts itself...for the person uttering, 'it is wrong to judge' is himself making a proclamation of judgment, and thus is doing what he says is wrong.
When people say things that are false - self-defeating or contradictory - those statements ought to be rejected, and reason should be appealed to in order to find the truth of the matter.
Sadly, relativism in regard to moral and existential beliefs is probably the most widely held belief among the 'educated' people of the earth at this time. The opposing belief has traditionally been called 'moral objectivism'. This belief states that there are objective, universal or absolute truths that don't change due to a person's perception or human culture or time - and those truths exist not only in the physical realm, but in the realm of human beliefs (metaphysical) as well.
Relativism is most popular amongst the educated elite in materially wealthy nations. Thus, the U.S. educational system and the teachers that make it up essentially teach only from the perspective of a relativistic paradigm. This is very unfortunate and is the leading cause of 'blindness' and 'madness' (believing and proclaiming things that are contradictory and false) in individuals in the U.S. at his junction in history.
Moral objectivism has far fewer problems with logic, represents reality better, and thus should be adopted by people who want to understand and sort out their lives and experiences using reason.
'All things are relative.' Is that statement absolutely true?
Take the next step. Seek past the materialist life you have been trained to accept. Reject false things and love that which is true. Reject moral and existential relativism for it is false, and begin the journey to find that which is ultimately true.
If you are a person who can see the destruction taking place and who want to help in trying to stop it, please, find the One who says, "I am the truth", place your faith in him and enter into his Life and come, join the Peaceful Revolution!