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Refuting Relativism

Discussion in 'The Evidence & Prophecy' started by Chad, Mar 10, 2009.

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  1. Chad

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    Feb 9, 2004
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    Refuting Relativism<!-- start main content -->

    Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual. But, if we look further, we see that this proposition is not logical. In fact, it is self refuting.

    1. All truth is relative
      1. If all truth is relative, then the statement "All truth is relative" would be absolutely true. If it is absolutely true, then not all things are relative and the statement that "All truth is relative" is false.
    2. There are no absolute truths
      1. The statement "There are no absolute truths" is an absolute statement which is supposed to be true. Therefore it is an absolute truth and "There are no absolute truths" is false.
      2. If there are no absolute truths, then you cannot believe anything absolutely at all, including that there are no absolute truths. Therefore, nothing could be really true for you - including relativism.
    3. What is true for you is not true for me
      1. If what is true for me is that relativism is false, then is it true that relativism is false?
        1. If you say no, then what is true for me is not true and relativism is false.
        2. If you say yes, then relativism is false.
      1. If you say that it is true only for me that relativism is false, then
        1. I am believing something other than relativism; namely, that relativism is false. If that is true, then how can relativism be true?
        2. am I believing a premise that is true or false or neither?
          1. If it is true for me that relativism is false, then relativism (within me) holds the position that relativism is false. This is self-contradictory.
          2. If it is false for me that relativism is false, then relativism isn't true because what is true for me is not said to be true for me.
          3. If you say it is neither true or false, then relativism isn't true since it states that all views are equally valid and by not being, at least true, relativism is shown to be wrong.
      2. If I believe that relativism is false, and if it is true only for me that it is false, then you must admit that it is absolutely true that I am believing that relativism false.
        1. If you admit that it is absolutely true that I am believing relativism is false, then relativism is defeated since you admit there is something absolutely true.
      3. If I am believing in something other than relativism that is true, then there is something other than relativism that is true - even if it is only for me.
        1. If there is something other than relativism that is true, then relativism is false.
    4. No one can know anything for sure
      1. If that is true, then we can know that we cannot know anything for sure which is self defeating.
    5. That is your reality, not mine
      1. Is my reality really real?
      2. If my reality is different than yours, how can my reality contradict your reality? If yours and mine are equally real, how can two opposite realities that exclude each other really exist at the same time?
    6. We all perceive what we want
      1. How do you know that statement is true?
      2. If we all perceive what we want, then what are you wanting to perceive?
        1. If you say you want to perceive truth, how do you know if you are not deceived?
        2. Simply desiring truth is no proof you have it.
    7. You may not use logic to refute relativism
      1. Why not?
      2. Can you give me a logical reason why logic cannot be used?
      3. If you use relativism to refute logic, then on what basis is relativism (that nothing is absolutely true) able to refute logic which is based upon truth.
      4. If you use relativism to refute logic, then relativism has lost its relative status since it is used to absolutely refute the truth of something else.
    8. We are only perceiving different aspects of the same reality.
      1. If our perceptions are contradictory, can either perception be trusted?
      2. Is truth self contradictory?
        1. If it were, then it wouldn't be true because it would be self refuting. If something is self refuting, then it isn't true.
      3. If it is true that we are perceiving different aspects of the same reality, then am I believing something that is false since I believe that your reality is not true? How then could they be the same reality?
      4. If you are saying that it is merely my perception that is not true, then relativism is refuted.
        1. If I am believing something that is false, then relativism is not true since it holds that all views are equally valid.
      5. If my reality is that your reality is false, then both cannot be true. If both are not true, then one of us (or both) is in error.
        1. If one or both of us is in error, then relativism is not true.
    9. Relativism itself is excluded from the critique that it is absolute and self-refuting.
      1. On what basis do you simply exclude relativism from the critique of logic?
        1. Is this an arbitrary act? If so, does it justify your position?
        2. If it is not arbitrary, what criteria did you use to exclude it?
      2. To exclude itself from the start is an admission of the logical problems inherent in its system of thought.
    article: Refuting relativism | Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
  2. Coconut

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    Feb 17, 2005
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    Very good Brother. Relativism, like atheism, is self refuting. Both argue foolishly with the Logo`s, to wit its proponents, by the simple act of rejecting the Wisdom of God, turn themselves into babbling idiots.

    "If you are saying that it is merely my perception that is not true, then relativism is refuted." :wink:
  3. Hekuran

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    This form of absolute relativism basically comes down to saying "there is no such thing as truth". It is so extreme that it is very fragile.

    But most relativists would not go along with this. They are more likely to say that all statements come from a particular historical and cultural context, and need to be understood within that context.

    What is more relativists would say that it is impossible for any one standpoint to assert itself over another.

    True(ish) story:

    A Pacific Island minister came to the UK. He got into discussion with a leader of a worldwide mission organisation. It ended up as quite a heated and sharp debate.

    Some time later the leader visited Samoa. After some days he said "I couldn't see your point of view earlier on, but now I am coming round to your way of thinking."

    "That's because we are in Samoa. And here I make sense and you don't!" came the reply.

    A wise and biblical response to this kind of relativism is quite a bit more difficult, and I'd suggest more important because it is so widespread.
  4. Deep_MindQuest

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    Truth is not subjective...that is the beauty of God! Truth is Absolute!
    An Honest Man Alters His Ideas To Fit The Truth.
    A Dishonest Man Alters The Truth To Fit His Ideas
    What is Truth? How can one know it? ...Thy Word is TRUTH. John 17:17
    Truth is not arbitray as only God is Truth. We may scrutinize everthing else though to attempt scrutinizing God is futile.
    This is where science fails for in so doing it elevates itself to godhood.
    some say "The difference between what is real and what is not is totally up to us."

    Uh no, reality is just that, reality. What we chose to accept as TRUTH is what is totally up to us. This is a HUGE difference, and needed to be corrected.
    The truth is that God has accomplished all that is necessary for salvation by sending His Son to die on the cross as a sacrifice for a person's sins. The truth is in Jesus.
    Joh 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, Iamtheway, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    Joh 17:17 - Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
    Joh 1:17 - For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
    Truth can also be defined as whatever God has spoken and what He continues to says to the world. Truth is the opposite of falsehood.

    The doctrine of Christ is called "the truth of the gospel"
  5. OnceWasLost

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    That's a good article.

    I can see where people might get the "what's true for you is not true for me" business though. Our brain collects data from our senses and uses that to build a model inside our heads, and that's how we see the world. Everybody sees the world through the lens of their own beliefs, and that colors our perceptions of reality. Like if we have completely different beliefs, were going to see the world completely different. But its a mistake to think that the world really is different for us, the difference is just where our view of the world in our head doen't match the real world outside our heads. So yeah, that's what's wrong with relativism.
  6. Deep_MindQuest

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    "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).

    The popular religion of Humanism teaches relativism. Greg Kouyl sums up the word relativism very clearly:

    "Those who are relativists do whatever they want, and doing whatever one wants is not morality. Morality is doing what's right, not necessarily what's pleasant".(1)

    Everyone living for them self rather than loving one another surely results in a world gone mad! Let's try to imagine a world with no laws. Having no laws means that everyone does what is right in their own eyes. No traffic lights, no prisons to lock up terrorists or murderers, and so on. . .

    Mankind would eventually annihilate themselves!

    The same things happens when people choose to disobey or ignore God's rules. We wreak destruction on both ourselves and others. If we always put God first (by obeying Him) and love others as much as we love ourselves, it would not be natural to read all the horror stories in today's world such as terrorism, murder, stealing, rape, violence, etc.

    What does relativism reproduce?
    "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Tim 3:2-5).

    What happens to men who practice and believe in these ungodly sins?
    "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. ..."But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Tim 3:7-9;13).

    These people are refusing to believe in the truth which refers to the teachings of Jesus. One day all their works will be manifested and they will be ashamed as they stand before Jesus Christ the judge of this universe. As they proceed more onto their own path they will be deceived and will deceive others.

    Relativism proclaims, do whatever you want as long as you do not offend someone. This is merely impossible! Sin offends a righteous God that made the rules in the first place!

    It would be a nightmare to live in a world that everyone is captured by satan's lies in the Garden of Eden. A world where billions of self-centered gods only motivated by seeking power and seeking pleasure for their own lusts and desires. This would be a distasterous world where everyone is god and is constantly battling against each other for higher power. A world where everyone has their own truth is a world of hell, not bliss! Hitler even thought that he had his own truth. His way of thinking and indoctrination caused the deaths of millions of innocent people. This kind of teaching is making a world of Hitler's running around, not peace!

    Indeed it is a true comfort to know that a merciful, loving, and just God is in control of this world.

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