"I have my beliefs, you have yours. I will not change your mind, and you will not change mine. Let's just agree to have our own beliefs and move on!"
Sound familiar? You have most likely heard this if you hold any opinion at all, on anything. Do not take the bait.
People who think like this believe in relativism. They do not think truth is mutually exclusive but can mutually include various, even contradicting meanings. Author and radio host Eric Metaxas states, "The logical conclusion of relativism is absurdity. Non-sense. A worldview that undermines its own premises."
True or false, it is possible to know everything there is to know?
Most people would answer false. It is this thinking that leads people to believe that most people are partially correct and partially incorrect concerning most things. The American Physical Society recounts Pythagoras claim that the earth was round ¹. The year is around 500 B.C. and Pythagora does not have hard evidence for his claim. His claim comes in the face of a culture that was convinced the earth was flat. Educated, studious and people of high reputation held this belief because that was the pinnacle of knowledge at the time. Many people may have felt so strongly that the earth was flat that to deny them may have been seen as a mental illness!
Countless examples of this throughout the ages has brought many to the conclusion that they, and everyone else, are mostly wrong. To disagree is silly since providing evidence is nigh an impossibility, therefore why not live as you wish. However many critical thinkers have rightly contested that this is lazy at best and immoral at worst. Once again I say, Do not take the bait.
A recent coworker and I began to discuss the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The turning point of the conversation was when I asked the simple question that apologist and theologian Frank Turek enjoys asking. "Is truth knowable?", he paused and produced a delighted sound as he thought this through. "I do not believe in truth, I have my own truths and you have yours, there is no absolute truth". Had my smile been any wider I would have been decapitated. "What you just said, was that a true statement?". He immediately began to reply, oblivious to where his premise was leading him. I slowed him down and explained. "If your statement is true for everyone, everywhere, that by definition would be an absolute truth".
Have you ever seen those movies where someone has the power to move really fast? The dramatic effect when they are moving fast is everything else around them freezes. His mind ran off at the speed of light and everything else about him froze in time. Finally he grinned and looked at me saying, "That was a very clever trick".
What is the trap I have been warning you about?
His response was very sad. He called the laws of logic a "clever trick". That is how far away from critical thinking our culture is becoming. Remember Metaxas and his quote, "The logical conclusion of relativism is absurdity. Non-sense. A worldview that undermines its own premises." Relativism is the trap I have been warning you about. The last part of this quote is critical. Relativism self-destructs because it cannot pass it's own test.
Why does this matter to you and me? How is this a trap?
Have you ever seen a slow release ant trap, made by raid or terro? If I asked you what it did, most people would say it kills ants. If I asked you how, they would get that right as well I imagine. Here is where I could see people getting stumped, when I asked them why it works. You see it is designed to resemble something that ants intrinsically desire and need! This is important. It was designed to use the natural behaviors of ants aganist them. An ant resisting a well designed trap would be surprising indeed! Relativism uses people's "natural" behaviors against them.
The summer of June 2018, Rob Dreher of TheAmericanConservative.com began to blow the whistle on two new Netflix dramas ². One is called "SuperDrag" and the other is called "baby drag queens". The two shows are designed to introduce transgenderism to children. Many people today would not only see nothing wrong with this, but they would applaud it. Return to the ants with me briefly. The ants that begin to fill the plastic cavern of the trap are exercising their rights. They cannot help but obey their instincts, what choice do they have? The thing they lack is perspective and understanding. The mental capacity to observe the effects of certain choices and weigh the consequences with higher, critical cognition. If many of them did they would realize the trap does not lie in the choice, because the true danger lies in the inevitable consequence.
Relativism says choose as you wish, reality says beware the consequences. Netflix says we have every right to choose to honor what we believe is natural! Rob Dreher says beware the long term consequences of the choice! "The logical conclusion of relativism is absurdity. Non-sense. A worldview that undermines its own premises."
Don't take the bait.
¹ = “This Month in Physics History.” American Physical Society, www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200606/history.cfm.
² = Dreher, Rod. “Coming Next: Woke Pederasty.” The American Conservative, www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/coming-next-woke-pederasty/