“Why Is There So Much Acceptance of the Idea That Truth is Relative?”

image_pdfimage_print

Thanks for your question about truth. The current pseudo-relativist mindset makes apologetics and evangelism difficult, for the non-Christian is often very happy for us to be Christians . . . as long as we don’t insist or even suggest that what we believe is true for everyone. I call it pseudo-relativism because no one is a thoroughgoing relativist. We ALL have our absolutes. (For more on this you might want to look at William Watkins’ book The New Absolutes. Or for a shorter treatment see my article with the same title on our web site.)

Why is it so widely accepted? There are a few reasons, I think.

1. The influx of Eastern religions in the ’60s introduced a “both/and” mindset with respect to truth. In the West we have recognized the reality of the “either/or” nature of the universe: e.g., either the earth revolves around the sun or it doesn’t. It can’t be “both the earth revolves around the sun and it doesn’t.” Which is it? This is simply how the universe is. This reality is represented in logic as the law of non-contradiction. We presuppose it in our speech constantly. When the doctor says, “Take this medicine; it will help you get well,” he doesn’t also mean “Take this medicine; it will not help you get better.” Eastern philosophies and religions often have a pantheistic view of reality which means that everything is of one nature, and everything is divine. If all is one, then those things which appear to be opposites to us really aren’t.

2. Social realities—Plurality of beliefs: How can all these sincere people be wrong? we ask.

3. Democratic ideal—One person, one vote. Knowledge becomes democratic; everyone’s opinion is equally valid.

4. Science—Quantum theory: Paul Davies said that “Uncertainty is the fundamental ingredient of the quantum theory” (this theory, by the way, is a very significant one in science today). Some people think that if scientists can’t even be certain about empirical matters, why do we think we can know about spiritual matters with any certainty?

5. Religion—No one knows ultimate reality, people think, so one god is as good as another. Some tell us it’s our responsibility to create reality; some say we are gods ourselves.

6. Philosophy—Rationalism has faded away; political power is our basic category of understanding rather than truth.

I think, then, that there are several factors which figure into our postmodern frame of mind. This is the hallmark of postmodernism: a loss of confidence in our ability to know objective truth. Our job is to restore confidence in it, grounded in Jesus, the creator of the universe.

Thanks again for writing.

Rick Wade
Probe Ministries

Rick Wade

Rick Wade served as a Probe research associate for 17 years. He holds a B.A. in communications (radio broadcasting) from Moody Bible Institute, an M.A. in Christian Thought (theology/philosophy of religion) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Master of Humanities (emphasis in philosophy) from the University of Dallas. Rick's interests focus on apologetics, Christianity and culture, and the changing currents in Western thought. Before joining Probe Ministries, Rick worked in the ship repair industry in Norfolk, VA. He can be reached at rwade@pobox.com.

What is Probe?

Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.

Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:

Probe Ministries
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075
(972) 941-4565
info@probe.org
www.probe.org

Copyright/Reproduction Limitations

This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2018 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

©2018 Probe Ministries | Designed by Dream Casters Marketing, Website Design Dallas

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?