Refutation of Ray Comfort’s “The School of Biblical Evangelism” (Part 7)

Lesson 74: Relativism Part 1

Kirk’s comment: “Relativism” is just a fancy word for believing that “truth is what feels right for you.” Or, “there is no real right and wrong, just whatever you personally feel is best.” While this may seem ridiculous, many people embrace it because it gives them license to act any way they want.”

Absolutely wrong. Kirk Cameron is obviously ignorant to the different branches and philosophies in Relativism.

There is no absolute truth. You can’t be sure of anything!”

Those who say that there are no absolutes are often very adamant about their belief. If they say that they are absolutely sure, then they are wrong because their own statement is an absolute. If they are not 100 percent sure, then there is a chance that they are wrong and they are risking their eternal salvation by trusting in a wrong belief. God tells us that there is an objective, absolute truth that is not subject to man’s interpretations or whims, on which we can base our eternity. That truth is the Word of God (John 17:7).

In reality, there is no such thing as “absolute truth”. Everything within the capacity of human understanding contains a degree of error, and everything men know to be true is only true to a degree. Everyone is inevitably wrong about something somewhere. We don’t know everything about everything. We don’t know everything about anything! And what we do know, we don’t know accurately on all points nor completely in every detail. Honest men admit this. Anyone claiming to know the absolute truth is not being honest, especially not when they claim to know anything about things which can only be believed on faith. Even if men were given genuine revelations by truly omniscient beings, they must still be filtered and interpreted by weaker minds influenced by our limitations, biases, and misimpressions, as well as linguistic and cultural barriers.

Relativism

The following section is taken from an article by Matthew J. Slick.

Oh goodie.

Relativism is the philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid and that all truth is relative to the individual. This means that all moral positions, all religious systems, all art forms, all political movements, etc., are “truths” that are relative to the individual. Under the umbrella of relativism, whole groups of perspectives are categorized:

*Cognitive relativism: Cognitive relativism affirms that all truth is relative. This would mean that no system of truth is more valid than another one and that there is no objective standard of truth.

*Moral/ethical relativism: All morals are relative to the social group within which they are constructed.

*Situational relativism: Ethics (right and wrong) are dependent upon the situation.

One word can refute this whole “truth is relative” nonsense: Systemic.

The christian fundamentalists like to phrase things as a dichotomy. Either everything is absolute, or nothing is, and since nothing is an absolute is an absolute, everything must then be an absolute, because the latter is self refuting.

Of course we all know reality doesn’t work that way even logical absolutes and laws of physics break down at a certain point of existence

It’s pretty simple to say that we don’t have to say, “Nothing is absolute” is in fact a absolute. We can just call it a systemic truth that everything we’ve observed seems to act that way and there’s been no reason to believe contrary calling it a systemic truth takes away that it’s an absolute, screwing up the notion that it’s self refuting, and forcing the fundamentalist to ACTUALLY argue the point

As far as morality goes, every fundamentalist needs to learn their philosophical history it was St. Thomas Aquinas that FORMED the notion of situational ethics.

It was through his writings that theism advanced philosophically in many ways (while of course he still had some nutter beliefs that we can easily find abhorrent, such as that hell still existed and was waiting for all sinners) at least he acknowledged the fact that situations can arise that can cause an action we would traditionally in a vacuum believe to be bad, all of a sudden be good.

A common example, would you lie to the Nazis about the Jews hiding in your attic, but of course the guy who summarized the very characteristics of the christian god used in philosophical arguments in favor of his existence TODAY clearly is just a relativist that wants everyone to do whatever they want.

The main thing that REALLY gets me about theistic morality is the notion of absolute normative facts, that any one thing can just be wrong, just because it’s wrong. And that’s really what they’re saying.

Unfortunately, the philosophy of relativism is pervasive in our culture today. With the rejection of God, and of Christianity in particular, absolute truth is being abandoned. Our pluralistic society wants to avoid the idea that there really is a right and wrong. This is evidenced in our deteriorating judicial system which has more and more trouble punishing criminals, in our entertainment media which continues to push the envelop of morality and decency, in our schools which teach evolution and “social tolerance,” etc. In addition, the plague of moral relativism is encouraging everyone to accept homosexuality, pornography on TV, fornication, and a host of other “sins” that were once considered wrong, but are now being accepted and even promoted in society. It is becoming so pervasive that if you speak out against moral relativism and its “anything goes” philosophy, you’re labeled as an intolerant bigot. Of course, this is incredibly hypocritical of those who profess that all points of view are true, yet reject those who hold the view that there are absolutes in morality. It seems that what is really meant by the moral relativists is that all points of view are true except for the views that teach moral absolutes, or an absolute God, or absolute right and wrong.

Some typical expressions that reveal an underlying presupposition of relativism are comments such as “That is your truth, not mine,” “It is true for you, but not for me,” and “There are no absolute truths.” Of course, these statements are illogical. Relativism is invading our society, our economy, our schools, and our homes. Society cannot flourish nor survive in an environment where everyone does what is right in his own eyes, where the situation determines actions and if the situation changes, lying or cheating is acceptable—as long as you’re not caught. Without a common foundation of truth and absolutes, our culture will become weak and fragmented.

In a relativistic society, lying and cheating is not allowed simply if you get away with it. If that was true, we would not bother trying to hunt down a bank robber who got away, nor would we try to track down forgers. The situation always determines how we measure an act as god or bad, even in the Bible. For instance, Ray Comfort, Slick, and fundamental Christians say that the 9th Commandment prohibits all forms of lying, and yet people openly and shamelessly admit that they would lie to a Nazi if they were hiding a Jew in their house. The same thing happens in the Bible, where the woman Ruth lied to the authorities that she was hiding wanted men in her house. Even though Ray’s interpretation of the Bible, God’s Law says all forms of lying is a violation of the Law. And yet, God did not punish Ruth, in fact the Book of James calls Ruth “righteous.”

I must admit, however, that there is validity to some aspects of relativism. For example, what one society considers right (driving on the left side of the road) another considers wrong. These are customs to which a “right and wrong” are attached, but they are purely relativistic and not universal because they are culturally based. Childrearing principles vary in different societies as do burial practices and wedding ceremonies. These “right and wrong ways” are not cosmically set in stone nor are they derived from some absolute rule of conduct by some unknown god. They are relative and rightly so. But, their relativism is properly asserted as such. It doesn’t matter which side of the road we drive on as long as we all do it the same way.

Likewise, there are experiences that are valid only for individuals. I might be irritated by a certain sound, where another person will not. In this sense, what is true for me is not necessarily true for someone else. It is not an absolute truth that the identical sound causes irritation to all people. This is one way of showing that certain aspects of relativism are true. But, is it valid to say that because there is a type of personal relativism that we can then apply that principle to all areas of experience and knowledge and say that they too are relative? No, it is not a valid assumption. First of all, to do so would be an absolute assessment, which contradicts relativism.

Furthermore, if all things are relative, then there cannot be anything that is absolutely true between individuals. In other words, if all people deny absolute truth and establish relative truth only from their experiences, then everything is relative to the individual. How then can there be a common ground from which to judge right and wrong or truth? It would seem that there cannot be.

There can be common grounds for determining right and wrong; for instance how does nature provide the basis of value? We all need water for survival, and since humans want to survive, withholding or poisoning water can be considered immoral. There is nothing cosmically “good” about water or cosmically “evil” about the lack of it, it is all relative to natural human needs. What if we evolved to drink arsenic and drinking water would be fatal? We would make serving water a crime.

Of course, the issue that is important here is whether or not there are absolute truths. Also, can there be different kinds of absolute truths if indeed there are absolute truths? We might ask, is it always wrong to lie? Or, does 1 + 1 always equal 2? Is it always true that something cannot be both in existence and not in existence at the same time? Is it always true that something cannot bring itself into existence if it first does not exist? If any of these questions can be answered in the affirmative, then relativism is refuted—at least to some degree.

Clouds are not discrete objects. Combining two clouds yields one cloud. Does that mean that 1+1 = 1, and one of the first two clouds no longer exists? (Answer: it depends exactly on what you mean by “exist.”)

Ethical Relativism

A continuation of the work by Matthew J. Slick.

With ethical relativism, truth, right and wrong, and justice are all relative. If all moral views are equally valid, then do we have the right to punish anyone? In order to say that something is wrong, we must first have a standard by which we weigh right and wrong in order to make a judgment. If that standard of right and wrong is based on relativism, then it is not a standard at all. In relativism, standards of right and wrong are derived from social norms. Since society changes, the norms would change and so would right and wrong. If right and wrong change, then how can anyone be rightly judged for something he did wrong if that wrong might become right in the future?

Absolute morality postulates that what is moral and what is immoral is unchanging and can be laid down well in advance. Thus it is very popular with religions and their reliance on holy texts to determine moral and ethical guidelines and commandments. Moral relativism (which should under no circumstances be conflated with relativity) on the other hand postulates that morals can be somewhat flexible and develop as education and understanding progresses, and accepts the subjective nature of morality. This acknowledges that cultural differences across different times and different regions may mean that what people consider moral can change. This change, particularly over time, is sometimes known as the moral zeitgeist, from the German “spirit of the times”. Hence once slavery was accepted in parts of the western world, it now is not – or at least it has been outsourced to poorer countries and prisons.

Just because a group of people thinks that something is right does not make so. Slavery is a good example of this. Two hundred years ago in America, slavery was the norm and morally acceptable. Now it is not. Of course, a society involved in constant moral conflict would not be able to survive for very long. Morality is the glue that holds society together. There must be a consensus of right and wrong for a society to function well. Ethical relativism undermines that glue.

True, America was divided as many Americans were in complete favor of slavery and the rest of the population was either neutral or against it. BUT those who were in favor of slavery justified their beliefs with the “absolute moral giver” — GOD.

Relativism also does not allow for the existence of an absolute set of ethics. Logically, if there are no absolute ethics, then there can be no Absolute Ethics Giver, which can easily be extrapolated as being God. Therefore, ethical relativism would not support the idea of an absolute God and it would exclude religious systems based upon absolute morals; that is, it would be absolute in its condemnation of absolute ethics. In this, relativism would be inconsistent since it would deny beliefs of absolute values.

“Logically is there are no absolute ethics, then there can be no Absolute Ethics Giver.” WRONG

This is not “logical” because it’s comparing apples and oranges. Most  philosophy 101 students are aware of this: there is a difference between prescriptive laws (like a highway sped limit) and descriptive laws (like the inverse-square law of gravitational attraction).

Try the word “is.” It is not hard to equivocally move back and forth between these meaningless of ‘is’ to arrive at quite dubious conclusions. For example, “God is love”, “love is blind”, and “My father’s brother is blind.” Based on this, we can conclude “There is a God, and he is my uncle.” Theistic apologists make this mistake constantly.

However, I do not believe that the best ethical patterns by which societies operate (honesty, fidelity, truth, no theft, no murder, etc.) are the product of our biological makeup or trial and error. As a Christian, I see them as a reflection of God’s very character. They are a discovery of the rules God has established by which people best interact with people because He knows how He has designed them. The Ten Commandments are a perfect example of moral absolutes and have yet to be improved upon. They are transcendent; that is, they transcend social norms and are always true.

Rooting morality into a being “beyond our comprehension” only pushes morality beyond our comprehension. It is even worse when what we choose as a model is a god of ancient scripture depicting moral principles we hold being most basic (such as Ez. 9:5-6, God commands “slay the little children without pity.”) When we tell ourselves there is an all-powerful entity that can do this, and still be “morally perfect,” we create the very conditions that far from leading us to moral truths guarantee a moral confusion. Even if a god created our universe, nothing about the act or power of grand creation requires moral perfection. And even if the universe was created by a god somehow ‘intrinsically good’ no logic would require the being still to exist. Imagine if such a god existed yesterday but destroyed itself today, would torture suddenly stop being a moral issue? If so, then this god can’t have embodied values of enduring relevance. Severing any connection with any objective moral values. If not, we admitting that this god does not need to exist, destroying this moral argument’s conclusion for the existence of god. There would be equally overwhelming problems with claiming that “moral values and duties are transcendental in nature, and therefore require a supernatural creator.” As soon as we require things to be viewed supernaturally with “goodness” “badness” or “oughtness,” as soon as we allow the supernatural feature in any of our explanations, the idea of a single supreme deity becomes just one of countless unknowable untestable concepts, all with their unhooked justifications.

I was once challenged to prove that there were moral absolutes. I asked the gentleman whether or not there were logical absolutes—for example, whether it was a logical absolute that something could exist and also not exist at the same time. He said that it was not possible, so he agreed that there were indeed logical absolutes. I then asked him to explain how logical absolutes can exist if there is no God. I questioned him further by asking him to tell me how in a purely physical universe, logical absolutes, which are conceptual, can exist . . . without a God. He could not answer me. I then went on to say that these conceptual absolutes logically must exist in the mind of an absolute God because they cannot merely reside in the properties of matter in a purely naturalistic universe. And since logical absolutes are true everywhere all the time and they are conceptual, it would seem logical that they exist within a transcendent, omnipresent Being. If there is an absolute God with an absolute mind, then He is the standard of all things—as well as morals. Therefore, there would be moral absolutes. To this argument the gentleman chuckled, said he had never heard it before, and conceded that it may be possible for moral absolutes to exist.

Of course, as a Christian, as one who believes in the authority and inspiration of the Bible, I consider moral absolutes to be very real because they come from God and not because they somehow reside in a naturalistic universe.

Not getting an answer from an unnamed fellow do not mean there are no valid answers o that your position wins by default. The Bible tells us that Yahweh not only permitted but endorsed rape, slavery, killing of babies and children, familial cannibalism, and mass murder. It is Yahweh that permits everything.

But what if we were brought up to think that Yahweh really exists and it morally perfect? How do we respond to these acts? Declare them just? We know killing those known not to be responsible for the sins being punished is quintessentially unjust. Do we concoct an elaborate justification for anything Yahweh did? No, when we indulge any impulse to excuse or defend these acts, we are already going dangerously astray. If we justify these acts, what won’t we justify? Do we brush Yahweh’s atrocities under the carpet of symbolism, claiming they are not meant to be taken literally? Nothing in the Bible makes clear that Yahweh is acting symbolically, but even if they were the idea of an omni-benevolent baby punisher makes no more senses as a symbol than as a literal being. Do we claim that these particular passages are just merely beyond our understanding? Not only is that unconvincing, when we condemn humans who act this way without hesitation, it represents one of the most deplorably irresponsible attitudes towards morality and justice we encounter.

We can’t paper over these serious issues by declaring the existence of a supernatural being with such immoral behavior. Nor should we be duped into thinking response shows humility. Admitting that we do not understand everything about the universe is humble. saying that we do not understand how making people eat their children is a depraved punishment even if it is ordered by a god, is an inexcusable abdication of critical judgment. But if there is a person who argues that God works in mysterious ways, ways that utterly contradict our notions of moral behavior, ”then its nature is clearly not the source of our morality”. If according to the Bible that Yahweh’s nature is familial cannibalism a just punishment, yet when we call any human who provides such a law as depraved, then these positions are in direct conflict. And invoking divine mystery does nothing to resolve that conflict.

Responding to these atrocities with examples of mercy does not work either, it just shows that the Bible contains both atrocities and mercy. Non-Christians who cite biblical cruelties are often accused of cherry-picking. In fact, non-Christians can freely acknowledge both kindness and cruelties in the Bible. Particularly the cruelties that should concern any decent person are those who ignore and overlook the immoral content of religious scripture, who are truly cherry-picking. Theists who discard the less palatable parts of Scripture should at least be honest about the standards by which they do this and concede that they are applying their own independent judgment to Scripture. Obviously when we use our own moral sense to separate god and bad in Scripture, when we revise our interpretation of it to reflect the more enlightened view of our time, it is not Scripture guiding our morality. It is our morality guiding our perception of Scripture.

The Bible is an extraordinary set of texts, however what it gives us is not the way of the perfect being, but a fascinating record of the inconsistencies of ancient beliefs and customs described by fallible authors writing centuries ago, borrowing extensively from others mythology and giving frequently conflicting versions of events never witnessed by the authors, and have been circulated through decades of word of mouth. Many of these authors felt the massive extermination of lives was honorable behavior for a god, confusing morality with power, and they poured this flawed understanding into their writings. But if their ancient minds fail to see the cruelties and contradictions in what they wrote, it should not be invisible to us now. We do ourselves grave injustice if w enshrine their ignorance in our morality. They did not know better, we do. Religious scripture is fixed in distant history, and it many endorsements of cruelties we do not tolerate today make this abundantly evident. It is not a virtue of religious dogma that it doesn’t change, it is the most profound failing. Moral systems that can’t develop in response to our advances in our understanding cannot edify, they ossify. Moral considerations, far from leading us to embrace the ‘good books’, are exactly what should lead us to reject them.

Feathers for Arrows

The thought may enter the mind of the sinner that perhaps God will overlook his sins. Perhaps God, in His mercy, could just look the other way. If He does so, then He is unjust. Think of it in connection with civil law. Can a judge look the other way when a criminal is obviously guilty, and be true to what is right? Even if the judge feels sorry for the criminal, he must stay true to the law. Justice must be done. In the ten years between 1980 and 1990, in the United States alone, there were more than 60,000 murderers who were never caught. At least 60,000 murders were committed, and the murderers got away totally free. No doubt the figure is higher as many “accidents and suicides” are actually murders in disguise. These are people who have raped, tortured, and strangled helpless victims. Their victims’ bodies have been cut in pieces, dissolved in acid, or burned in flames. Police have no body. . . just evidence of a missing person. Should God overlook their crimes on Judgment Day? Should He turn a blind eye? Should He compromise Eternal Justice?

So basically, God is limited to the law. Despite Ray and the basic teachings of Christianity that God is infinitely merciful , he cannot be merciful to sinners. Ray says even if God, the judge, feels sorry for the criminal, he is powerless to simply forgive the criminal or change the law. And yet, when criminals rape, burn, or dissolve their victims, God can easily overlook their crimes on Judgment Day if they simply repent first. This is the utmost “get-out-of-jail-free-card” since Christianity promotes even the worst type of person can do whatever they want and enter heaven simply by repenting on their death bed.

According to Ray, most people think that God will simply forgive them for breaking the law. Ray objects, saying the law is absolute and God cannot forgive those who break it. But there is a discrepancy with their line of reasoning and what is actually in the Bible. The law, according to Ray, prohibits all forms of lying, and yet in the Bible we have God forgiving liars. For instance, Ruth lied to the authorities that she was hiding fugitives, and yet the book of James calls Ruth “righteous.”

Lesson 75: Relativism Part 2

Kirk’s comment: This lesson explains why the concept of relativism has taken root in our society, and provides several ways you can easily counter its claims. Truth really is logical, so don’t be intimidated by the arguments presented in this lesson; they’re simple and effective in helping people see the illogic of their beliefs. You can then appeal to their conscience using the Ten Commandments.

The guy who forsakes logic to believe in a unproven magic entity thinks he can defend himself with logic?

Ray responds to the claim “I am too big a sinner.” Ray says: Nobody is too big a sinner. The love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus are capable of cleansing the worst of all sin. Even Hitler could have been saved if he would have turned to Christ. Your sins are not too big for God to wipe away. Sin has no power over God, only over you.

Do you think murder and adultery are serious sins? David, who God called “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22), was a murderer and an adulterer. He even tried to hide his sin from everyone. But God knew his sins and exposed them. David repented and threw himself on the mercy of the Lord, and God forgave him. God will forgive you too if you put your trust in Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you of your sins (Romans 10:9,10).

So even an evil man like Hitler can enter can enter Heaven imply by turning to Christ.

Btw, God may have known of Davids sins, but God did not punish David for his crimes. Rather, God punished David’s child. How bout that, God punishes children for the crimes of the father.

Cognitive Relativism

Written by Matt Slick.

Cognitive relativism, which affirms that all truth is relative, would mean that there is no objective standard of truth to be found or claimed. It would, naturally, deny that there is a God of absolute truth. It would also deny the belief that rational thought can discover and verify truth. Many believe that this relativism is self-contradictory. But, why has relativism gained a foothold in modern society? I think there are several factors contributing to its acceptance.

  1.  The success of science has increasingly promoted the idea that true answers are found within science. Many people believe whatever scientists tell them is factual. When science cannot answer something, it simply states that the truth will become known later. With this, people have faith in science and the only absolute is that what we know now may not be true later. Thereby, it can undermine absolute truth.
  2. With the broad acceptance of the evolutionary theory, God is pushed more and more out of the picture. Without God as a determiner of what is true and not true, we are left to do and believe “what is right in our own eyes.”
  3. We are encountering more and more diverse cultures in the world. This tends to make us more comfortable with the idea that there is more than one way to do something, more than one way for a culture to operate, more than one way for something to be true or right. This isn’t necessarily wrong, but it does contribute to a denial of absolutes.
  4. Increasingly, the content of film, academia, and literature is moving away from the notion of the absolute and toward relativism. These media help shape our culture.
  5. There has been an increase in relativistic philosophies, particularly those found in the New Age movement, which teaches that there is no absolute truth and that each person can create his own reality. Though this movement is part of the relativistic “problem,” it is well permeated into society.
  6. Past philosophers such as Wittgenstein, Khuh, Kant, Marx, and Nietzsche have influenced the thinking of many with their relativistic principles and attacks on absolute truths.

Going in order,

Science is the best tool we have to discovering how our natural world operates. Science always remains falsifiable,because n data can overturn previous scientific laws or theories. The things left undiscovered are considered “unknowns” which drives science to further seek and uncover what we don’t know. While certain things today remain unexplained, the humble, honest and rational thing to do is simply say “I do not know” and simply inserting personal superstitious beliefs into that gap gets us nowhere and is a fallacy.

Evolutionary theory only pushes a literal interpretation of Genesis out the door, that I all. It does not refute God, plenty of religious believers and scientists have harmoniously accepted both evolution and God. Even with God as the determiner of what is right and wrong, God permits everything: eating children, mass murder, rape, genocide, theft, and more.

Imagine a society where feeding someone chocolate and making green painting are prohibited. The people of this society have a genetic intolerance to chocolate that causes them agonizing death. They also live in a remote island were green paint can only be made with a rare substance needed for a life-saving medicine. Differing biology or practical circumstances can explain why some populations live by different rules. Also different cultures may deal effectively with the same issue despite approaches. But this does not commit us to saying that cultures are equally valid. Because some cultural differences are justified, it does no mean that all of them (such as branding children as witches is categorically wrong to be rejected as the result of bad education, not ‘respected as a cultural truth’) the fact that some cultures have cruel practices does not mean morality is therefore arbitrary and all opinions are equal. It simply reflects the fact that just as moral development takes time to develop in the individual, but it also takes time to develop in societies, with different societies developing at different rates. Some societies still believe in magic, some have largely outgrown their belief in magic but not animal cruelty, racism, sexism, or homophobia. Some societies have largely outgrown all of these and are focused on advances in other areas effecting the well-being of the planet.

Possibly because as we move on into the 21st century, with our understanding of the world we share and our expansion of education has led us to understand that absolute morality found in scripture written by ancient superstitions men is not just outdated but also wrong.

The problem I see with cognitive relativism is that it denies the possibility of absolute truth. Furthermore, I believe cognitive relativism is easily refutable with the following example of a logical absolute: Something cannot bring itself into existence.

My proposed logical absolute is indeed logical and always true. For something to bring itself into existence, it must first exist. If it first existed, then it cannot bring itself into existence because it already is existing. Likewise, if something does not exist, then it is not possible for it to bring itself into existence since it isn’t there to do anything.

Then by this reasoning, the universe perhaps always existed.

While the universe, or the multiverse, may have always existed, it is in a constant state of motion through time.

This is an absolute truth and it is knowable. Since it is absolutely true, cognitive relativism, which states that all truth is relative, is false. What if relativism were true? Relativism is the position that all points of view are as valid as any other points of view and that the individual is the measure of what is true for that person. I see a big problem with this. Following is an illustration to demonstrate it.

The setting: A thief is casing a jewelry store so he can rob it. He has entered it to check out any visible alarm settings, locks, layout, etc. In the process, he has unexpectedly gotten involved in a discussion with the owner of the jewelry store whose hobby is the study of philosophy and believes that truth and morals are relative.

:“So,” says the owner, “everything is relative. That is why I believe that all morals are not absolute and that right and wrong is up to the individual to determine within the confines of society. But there is no absolute right and wrong.”

:“That is a very interesting perspective,” says the thief. “I was brought up believing that there was a God and that there was right and wrong. But I abandoned all of that and I agree with you that there is no absolute right and wrong and that we are free to do what we want.”

:The thief leaves the store and returns that evening and breaks in. He has disabled all the alarms and is in the process of robbing the store. That is when the owner of the store enters through a side door. The thief pulls out a gun. The owner cannot see the man’s face because he is wearing a ski mask.

:“Don’t shoot me,” says the owner. “Please take whatever you want and leave me alone.”

:“That is exactly what I plan to do,” says the thief.

:“Wait a minute. I know you. You are the man who was in the store earlier today. I recognize your voice.”

:“That is very unfortunate for you,” says the thief. “Because now you also know what I look like. And since I do not want to go to jail, I am forced to kill you.”

:“You can’t do that,” says the owner.

:“Why not?”

:“Because it isn’t right,” pleads the desperate man.

:“But did you not tell me today that there is no right and wrong?”

:“But I have a family, and children who need me, and a wife.”

:“So? I am sure that you are insured and that they will get a lot of money. But since there is no right and wrong, it makes no difference whether or not I kill you. And if I let you live, you will turn me in and I will go to prison. Sorry, but that will not do.”

:“But it is a crime against society to kill me. It is wrong because society says so.”

:“As you can see, I don’t recognize society’s claim to impose morals on me. It’s all relative, remember?”

:“Please do not shoot me, I beg you. I promise not to tell anyone what you look like. I swear it!”

:“I do not believe you and I cannot take that chance.”

:“But it is true! I swear I’ll tell no one.”

:“Sorry, but it cannot be true because there is no absolute truth, no right and wrong, remember? If I let you live and then I left, you will break your so-called promise. There is no way I could trust you. Our conversation this morning convinced me that you believe everything is relative. Because of that, I cannot believe you will keep your word.”

:“But it is wrong to kill me. It isn’t right!”

:“It is neither right nor wrong for me to kill you. Since truth is relative to the individual, if I kill you, that is my truth. And, it is obviously true that if I let you live I will go to prison. Sorry, but you have killed yourself.”

:“No. Please do not shoot me. I beg you.”

:“Begging makes no difference.”

:Bang.

If relativism is true, then was it wrong to pull the trigger? Perhaps someone might say that it is wrong to take another life needlessly. But why is that wrong, if there is no standard of right or wrong? Others have said that it is a crime against society. But, so what? If what is true for you is simply true, then what is wrong with killing someone to protect yourself after you have robbed him? If it is true for you that to protect yourself you must kill, then who cares what society says? Why is anyone obligated to conform to social norms? Doing so is a personal decision.

Though not all relativists will behave in an unethical manner, I see relativism as a contributor to overall anarchy. Why? Because it is a justification to do whatever you want.

Sure Slick likes to say things like, “Morality is God’s nature. So to do something immoral means to go against god’s nature, that’s why it’s wrong.” There’s a bunch of problems with that, but primarily, we can point out that it’s purely circular nonsense

Slick’s argument stops in its tracks by asking the simple question, “You can’t prove that an unproven entities nature is this and this?” BUT WE CAN REFUTE Slick’s argument by saying, “Okay, well you just defined yourself into a circle.”

Matt outlines in this article that murder is wrong in his scenario of the thief killing a store owner

why is murder wrong? According to Matt, murder is wrong because it goes against god’s nature –

put aside the fact that God murders lots of people, so that’s clearly nonsense. The other issue is that defining God as being that of moral goodness is completely and utterly unhelpful.

I could do the same thing with a random guy named Bob. Who is Bob? Bob is a person who’s nature is that of perfect moral goodness. So what does it mean to be good? Well it means to have the nature of Bob, but why is that? Because Bob’s nature is that of moral goodness.

Round and round we go. By definition, we’re forced to accept the absurdity that Bob’s nature is that of moral goodness. Now, it’s here the apologist usually makes a deflection;

“It’s not the same!”

“Just because it’s good when Bob does it doesn’t mean it’s good when we do it!”

“When a judge punishes a murderer by putting him in prison for the rest of his life, it’s good.”

“When any one citizen does it, it’s bad!”

“I don’t get to just lock up murderers in my basement, right?”

Well…yeah, exactly Mr. Apologist.

If it is the case that Entity A can do a thing that’s good, whereas it would be bad for Entity B to do it, it logically follows that Entity A is appealing to a different standard of morality.

Refuting Relativism

The proposition of relativism, that all points of view are equally valid and

that all truth is relative to the individual, is not logical. In fact, it is self refuting.

*All truth is relative. 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.

* There are no absolute truths. 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. 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.

* What is true for you is not true for me. If what is true for me is that relativism is false, then is it true that relativism is false? If you say no, then what is true for me is not true and relativism is false. If you say yes, then relativism is false. If you say that it is true only for me that relativism is false, then I am believing something other than relativism; namely, that relativism is false. If that is true, then how can relativism be true?

* No one can know anything for sure. If that is true, then we can know that we cannot know anything for sure, which is self-defeating.

* That is your reality, not mine. Is my reality really real? If my reality is different from 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?

In reality, there is no such thing as “absolute truth”. Everything within the capacity of human understanding contains a degree of error, and everything men know to be true is only true to a degree. Everyone is inevitably wrong about something somewhere. We don’t know everything about everything. We don’t know everything about anything! And what we do know, we don’t know accurately on all points nor completely in every detail. Honest men admit this. Anyone claiming to know the absolute truth is not being honest, especially not when they claim to know anything about things which can only be believed on faith. Even if men were given genuine revelations by truly omniscient beings, they must still be filtered and interpreted by weaker minds influenced by our limitations, biases, and misimpressions, as well as linguistic and cultural barriers.

What is Truth?

“What is truth?” is a very simple question. We can offer definitions like “Truth is that which conforms to reality, fact, or actuality.” If there is such a thing as truth, then we should be able to find it. If truth cannot be known, then it probably doesn’t exist. But, it does exist. For example, we know it is true that you are reading this. Is there such a thing as something that is always true all the time? Yes, there is. For example, “Something cannot bring itself into existence” is an absolute truth.

Such a strange paragraph. Off the top of my head I can’t remember what the fallacy is called, but essentially, he’s pulling a William Lane Craig move.

“We know this type of truth exists.”

“Therefore absolute truth exists.”

We needn’t say “Truth doesn’t exist” to say, “Absolute truth doesn’t exist” those are two explicitly different things.

Scientifically it’s incorrect because on a quantum level we KNOW things can come from nothing. So on some scales it MAY be true, but on others it’s proven false. Philosophically it’s rather simple to point out that, while the question “What is truth” sounds like a simple question, it in no way has any one simple answer.

We wish to say that truth exists but to say, “Truth is what conforms to reality and actuality” fucks that notion up because reality, and actuality, change. Every single microsecond the actuality of the universe, changes. I am not in the same position I was a micro second ago. I may be from my perspective, but on the universal level, the planet is moving at tens of thousands of miles per hour so it is no longer the truth that I am at X point as soon as I say it.

If we are to ever hope to determine if there is such a thing as truth apart from cultural and personal preferences, we must acknowledge that we are then aiming to discover something greater than ourselves, something that transcends culture and individual inclinations. To do this is to look beyond ourselves and outside of ourselves. In essence, it means that we are looking for God. God would be truth, the absolute and true essence of being and reality who is the author of all truth. If you are interested in truth beyond yourself, then you must look to God.

Why does looking for something beyond ourselves must result in looking for God rather than Allah, Zeus, or even aliens. This paragraph makes me snicker because God has been defined as the ONLY thing greater than us what an ego the christian fundamentalist has.

Also, it’s quite easy to point out that the author of that paragraph is not talking merely of the christian god but more accurately can be said to be talking about the panentheistic god. They might INTEND to merely speak about Yahweh but they’re talking about a whole other notion of what God is. If God is truth, and truth is that I’m reading that article right now, then God is the relationship of me reading the article.

Defining Truth as one thing in the first paragraph, then summoning their God up to be synonymous with it, merely renders God not what they think he is. Hell, we can say that ME EXISTING, is god

because it’s TRUE, isn’t it? At least according to that definition. So am I god now? Meaningless drivel from the minds of people who wish to sound poetic.

For the Christian, the ultimate expression of truth is found in the Bible, in Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

This is assuming that Jesus, if he existed, spoke these words.

*“The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel.” -Bishop John Shelby Spong

*“Mark himself clearly did not know any eyewitnesses of Jesus.” -Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

*“All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.” -Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University in Toronto (Bible Review, Feb. 2000, p. 36)

Of course, most philosophers and skeptics will dismiss His claim, but for the Christian, He is the mainstay of hope, security, and guidance. Jesus, who walked on water, claimed to be divine, and rose from the dead, said that He was the truth and the originator of truth. If Jesus is wrong, then we should ignore Him. But, if He is right, then it is true that we should listen to Him.

Where is the evidence that Jesus did any of these things? Nothing in this book has provided a shred of evidence to support that Jesus performed any of the above. The Gospel writers were not eyewitnesses to write anything that Jesus said, if what we have are even his words at all. If such a poor validation were coming from any other religion, it would be reasonably dismissed. Likewise, as Slick suggests, the best option is to ignore that which has no proof to support it.

The eyewitnesses recorded what they saw. They were with Him. They watched Him perform many miracles, heal the sick, calm a storm with a command, and even rise from the dead. You either believe or dismiss these claims. If you dismiss them, that is your prerogative. But, if you accept them, then you are faced with decisions to make about Jesus. What will you believe about Him? What will you decide about Him? Is He true? Is what He said true?

The Gospel authors are not eyewitnesses, and all contemporary witnesses did not record anything. Jesus, as told in the Gospels, was surrounded by people who were well-known and could write or at least had servants who recorded everything. Jerusalem was the center of education, with low levels of illiteracy. And yet, not a single Roman executive, scribe, poet, historian, scholar, etc. records anything about a man who entered the Temple in Jerusalem on Passover to start a riot one time.

Note that Slick says you either “believe or dismiss” these claims. Why does he say you either believe or don’t. While this whole section was focused on what we can and cannot know (and rather flawed throughout), but now Slick resides to belief. Unfortunately, belief does not grant knowledge.

Truth conforms to reality. The reality is that Jesus performed many miracles and rose from the dead.

The reality is that we have no proof whatsoever that Jesus, if he existed, performed as much as a coin trick. Furthermore, there is no historical proof that Jesus rose from the dead.

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