Monday, August 11, 2008

Relativism
‘There are no absolutes’, he said absolutely
This is what is meant by ‘relativism’: it is the idea that what is true for me may not be true for you, and what is right for me may not be right for you. And so, we move from a belief that there is a such a thing as truth, to a belief that there are only opinions.

Now I would hold that this approach, while it has some attractions (live and let live, one man’s meat is another man’s poison etc.) especially in a multicultural society, is actually ridiculous, and although people might say they hold this view they don’t in practice. For example, those who believe there is no absolute truth, only opinions, are the same people who would oppose attitudes to women in the developing world, and propose legislative equality for homosexual partnerships and so on. Many relativists would oppose the cultural imperialism which imposed Christian views on colonial societies, but the same people would find it hard to be critical of the missionaries who suppressed the common Indian practice of suttee, in which a widow was expected to die on her husband’s funeral pyre. The conflicts which are taking place between the Church and legislatures in this country and throughout the developed world on issues surrounding human life and the family ironically show that this is the case. It is just those who reject dogma who are trying to enforce a dogma of their own.
From Fr Peter Weatherby.

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