Defending Your Faith 101: Absolute Truth vs. Relativism

“To me, it was self-evident that truth exists. What’s the alternative? If truth doesn’t exist, then it would be true that truth doesn’t exist, and once again we arrive at truth. There is no alternative; truth must exist.”   -Nabeel Qureshi, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”

Relativism in action:

A New-Age Relativist tells you “I am going to walk through the wall adjacent to the exit door in order to get to the parking lot where my car is because I believe that the wall is only an illusion.” You would probably try to stop him or say that he was crazy. The truth, you say, is that he needs to walk through the exit door so that he doesn’t get hurt. As he continues on with “his truth claim” what is going to happen to him? Will he run into reality (the wall)? Hopefully not with full force!

If you think that is a silly example, listen to what Harold Pinter, 2005 Nobel Prize winner for Liturgy has said:

“There are no hard distinctions between what is real and unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false, it can be both true and false.”

This is postmodernism’s relativistic ideology that abounds in our culture today, and this is what we are up against in public education. This mindset is embedded in curriculums and lessons in subtle and sometimes obvious ways. However, we can reveal the inconsistency, and lack of realty, in what Mr. Pinter has said by asking two simple questions:

  1. Are you making a hard distinction with that statement?
  2. Is your statement true?

If he answers yes then he admits that hard distinctions can be made and that truth statements can be known, therefore his statement is false. If he answers no then he becomes irrelevant to the conversation since his statement is contradictory, and therefore illogical. This takes a little practice to spot, but this is how it works:

In their book, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be An Athiest,” Frank Turek and Norman Geisler give us an excellent tactic to use when up against this type of thinking, it’s called the “Roadrunner Tactic.”

Relativism and “the Roadrunner Tactic”

  • Relativism = the claim that, “truth cannot be known.”
  • Roadrunner = Questions the claim with a focus on reality: “Is that a truth statement? Is the worldview of relativism the only view that’s true?”

As the relativist soon finds out, like Wiley Coyote chasing the Roadrunner off a cliff, self-evident truths (like gravity) cannot be deemed relative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relativists make self-defeating statements:

  • What’s true for you is not true for me. Is that true just for you and not for me?
  • There are no absolutes. Are you absolutely sure?
  • There’s no such thing as right or wrong—Is that a right or a wrong statement?
  • You ought not judge. Is that a judgment?

Watch the One Minute Apologist interview Dr. Frank Turek on this topic:

False ideas about truth lead to false ideas about life.

Jonathan Morrow, Biola University Professor, gives us five reasons relativism fails the reality test:

  1. Relativism is self-refuting: Just use the “Roadrunner Tactic” to reveal the inconsistency.
  2. Relativism eliminates the possibility of moral reform: What is right for you may not be right for someone else—therefore there could have never been reforms such as those Martin Luther King Jr., Gandi, or Mother Teresa implemented.
  3. Relativism eliminates the possibility of moral progress: If slavery is acceptable in one culture who are we to change their truth? In a relativist’s view this would be unwarranted judgment.
  4. Relativism removes our ability to praise good and condemn evil: How one culture views evil (Nazi’s for example) may be viewed as good in another culture—who are we to condemn them? We could change a truth, but not for the better, according to relativism.
  5. Relativism is unlivable: Taken to its logical conclusion relativism leads to chaos, anarchy or worse: Murder and genocide. In a worldview of relativism there would be no difference between the beliefs and actions of Hitler and that of Mother Theresa.

Jonathan Morrow’s Impact 360 course is an excellent way to dive deeper into the topic of truth in your worldview. Checkout this short promo that is packed full of experts in the field of Christian Apologetics:

Relativists who deny that there is such a thing as objective truth are like Winnie the Pooh:

they answer a knock at the door by saying, “no one is home.”

Relativism is nothing new. Within one generation, after the Conquest of the Promised Land, the Israelite Nation fell into a relativistic worldview as “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” and the results were devastating (see Judges 17:6, 21:25).

“Today we’ve lost the confidence that statements of facts can ever be anything more than opinion. The word true now means “true for me” and nothing more. The death of truth in our society has created a moral decay. When we abandon the idea that one set of laws applies to every human being, all that remains is subjective, personal opinion. –Greg Koukl, Christian Apologist and President of Stand to Reason Ministries

When studied closely, objective truth can be known about God and His Word. God’s truth is evident and can be found in His general revelation – creation/nature (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20), and in His Special revelation – the Bible (2 Timothy 3:15-17). God’s truth will always correspond to reality (the way things really are).

For a more in-depth treatment on the Apologetics of truth, listen to Brett Kunkle’s presentation at the Engage Ignite Apologetics Conference:


Reflection:

  1. In your own words define truth.
  2. Why is relativism self-defeating and unlivable?
  3. Practice the “Road Runner” tactic by developing you own scenario.
  4. Prayer focus: Someone with whom you can share this tactic, with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

Please continue to pray for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:4-7) for Nabeel Qureshi’s family, and the continued ministry of his wife Michelle. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen.

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You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

1 Peter 3:15

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