The World’s “Dictatorship of Relativism”

In April of 2005, Joseph Ratzinger, made a thought-provoking analysis of the mindset of many in the world today. The man who would shortly thereafter be known as “Pope Benedict XVI” referred to society’s disdain for truth with the words, “Today, having a clear faith … is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be ‘tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine,’ seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and desires” (http://www.vatican.va/gpII/documents/homily-pro-eligendo-pontifice_20050418_en.html).

“Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual” (https://carm.org/what-relativism). Consequently, right and wrong are reduced to a matter of personal preference.

Several years ago, I read an interesting article in Newsweek originally entitled, “We Are All Hindus Now.” In it, the author states that “we are slowly becoming more like Hindus and less like traditional Christians in the ways we think about God, ourselves, each other, and eternity. The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: ‘Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.’ A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal” (http://www.newsweek.com/2009/08/14/we-are-all-hindus-now.html).

The idea that relativism has become a “dictatorship” suggests that its adherents expect others to fall in line. As an example of this, government leaders throughout the world have been encouraging their fellow citizens to accept and even “celebrate” certain personal decisions and lifestyles formally regarded as morally wrong. Relativists would have us believe that absolute truth does not exist in order to legitimize this conduct and avoid censorship.

In stark contrast to the “dictatorship of relativism,” Jesus Christ is presented in the New Testament as the only way to God. He Himself said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The apostle Peter reiterates this absolute truth in Acts 4:12 when he says that “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Compare these Bible verses with the idea that there are “many paths to God” (from the Newsweek article).

Truth is not something that can be molded and transformed to fit our whims and personal convenience. The word of God urges Christians to take a firm stand. With Jesus, truth is NOT relative (Matthew 12:30).

–Jerry Falk