[With the busy work of watching and rearing my two youngest kids, as well as preparing to preach in three weeks, I haven’t been writing as much as I would like. This, however, will change soon, if God so permits. Until then…Soli Deo Gloria!]
If you are a moral and/or epistemological relativist and the title of this article offends you, then there is good news: You are not a relativist. After all, your truth and my truth are categorically distinct from one another; therefore, neither you nor I can claim to be offended by criticisms leveled against us from outsiders to our group. My truth says that your truth is stupid, and that’s okay. Your truth says that my truth is stupid, and that’s okay. Right?
Well, obviously, the answer is No. Even relativists cannot stand being called stupid. And that is just one of the many glaring problems with the relativistic sentimentalism bandied about today. Relativistic sentimentalism is proposed as a solution to the fact that while the desire for absolute truth is universally absolute, there are multitudes of epistemologies and moralities that are in direct conflict with one another, each of which sees itself as having the absolute truth or the necessary foundation requisite to finding the absolute truth.
Problematically, however, once my truth does not speak absolutely, it can say nothing about your truth, and vice versa. Thus, if my truth says relativism is stupid, it can only say so from within its own confines. It can, moreover, only direct this criticism at others from within its own confines. The implications of this are as follows: The only way a relativist can be offended is by first adopting a non-relativistic moral or epistemological system which can adjudicate between one moral criticism and another. In other words, the relativist must abandon relativism in order to be offended at the person who says “Relativism is absolutely stupid.”
One cannot postulate the existence of multiple and conflicting truths, then, without first assuming an embracive theory of knowledge that incorporates all others. The irrationality of relativism, however, extends itself to social movements based upon relativism. The postulation of relativism is metaphysically violent because it implies that all religious and philosophical moral-epistemological systems are explicable in purely bio-socio-political terms. The attempt to rid the worlds of discourse of homogeneity, ironically, can only result in the dictatorial hegemony of an immanentistic homogeneity rooted in materialistic ontology.
The history of philosophy, as others have more elegantly noted, is conflicted because men deny the truth which God has made evident to them. Relativists are absolutists, absolutizing the relative in order to relativize the absolute. Morality and epistemology are treated as phenomena/discourses that are relative to material realities which are absolute. This absoluteness, of course, may be concealed beneath an emphasis on historically unique cultures, people groups, social institutions, and individuals. However, these historical phenomena only serve to further concretize the relative as absolute by limiting the phenomenological domain of facts, by which the relativists deceive themselves into thinking that they are capable of performing a complete induction and consequently establishing absolutely certain phenomenological realities.
This is why relativism is absolutely stupid. Moralities are relative only in relation to one another; and moralities are only related to one another insofar as they are capable of being categorized together under a universal notion of morality. In other words, relativity cannot exist without absolutivity.
Soli Deo Gloria