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Challenging Relativism

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posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 06:26 PM
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Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to differences in perception and consideration.


According to relativist beliefs, there is no absolute right or wrong, no absolute good or bad, and no absolute positive or negative. I would like to challenge that belief.

As far as I can tell, challenging relativism requires an absolute reality. The absolute reality must have an absolute purpose. There will be an absolute positive and an absolute negative in reference to the absolute reality. There will be an absolute good and an absolute bad.

A relativist would say that hate is neither good nor bad, neither positive nor negative. This claim is made under the assumption that there is no absolute reference. The first cause is the absolute reference. Reality, as it is prior to observation, is the absolute reference. Hate is negative because hate is what goes against the current. Hate opposes reality by its very nature. Reality is supreme to a single observer. So relative to reality, hate is negative. Reality goes along a line of time and hate is that which doesn't like where reality is going and doesn't like where reality is.

Would it be okay to hate a rapist? I think freedom is paramount because reality manifests as it should manifest through free individuals whose rights are not infringed. Anytime someone does something that restricts your freedom, that is restricting reality from manifesting as it would. So when a rapist infringes on the free will of another, it is justified to stop him. In other words, justice can be defined as opposition to the opposition of freely manifesting reality, thereby supporting reality. Therefore, justice is positive.

In short, relativism can only be successful if one chooses to be ignorant and not consider the context of the reality in which things occur. Reality can be complex and it can be hard for us to understand the absolute, but just because we don't understand it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.




posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 06:38 PM
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One amusing contradiction is that many moral relativists are quick to point to "the problem with evil" to make a case for the non-existence of God, except that, under moral relativism, there's no such thing as evil. It's just behavior that you personally disagree with.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 06:43 PM
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a reply to: smithjustinb

I dunno... I think there are certain absolute truths, and there are many subjective truths.

The truth (irony?), I believe is that there are few absolutes related to the human condition, but rather it is filled with grays, blacks, whites and many other shades in between.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 06:48 PM
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a reply to: adjensen

LOL .. I understand what you are saying, but....

What if there were a person who knew the difference between right and wrong and yet killed everyone he met for the fun of it.

Would this person not fit the definition of evil?

(I really hate creating situations that are total extremes to illustrate a point as they are never realistic depictions)

Evil:1.
profoundly immoral and malevolent.
"his evil deeds"
synonyms: wicked, bad, wrong, immoral, sinful, foul, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, iniquitous, depraved, reprobate, villainous, nefarious, vicious, malicious; More
antonyms: good, virtuous
(of a force or spirit) embodying or associated with the forces of the devil.
"we have been driven out of the house by this evil spirit"



You reprobate you!!!




posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 06:49 PM
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a reply to: smithjustinb

Yeah so I am guessing most relativists are pure evolutionist. Since they can't seem to point to an actual beginning of things. and as OP stated they believe in no absolutes. So no beginning no end right.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:16 PM
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The OP started well. But by the end he was defending relativism and didn't know it. Relativism suggest all truths are relative. There are no absolute truths. Let's try and test this.

Let's come up with some absolute goods. And some absolute bads.

How about babies? They continue the species. They promote love and family. That seems pretty good. So for the sake of argument, we propose:

Babies are an absolute good.

Now how about an ultimate bad?

What about disease? Yeah, that seems pretty bad. Hurts, kills, nothing good about it. So:

Disease is an absolute bad.

So what about a baby with a disease? It cannot be ultimately good and ultimately bad. It is only good and bad in relative terms.

The minute you deny any absolute, you have created a relative judgement. Just as the OP did when he felt he was allowed to hate a rapist. So is rape an absolute bad? Seems pretty bad. But are all rapes equally bad? Anything absolutely bad would also have to be equally bad. Our criminal justice system doesn't think so. And so on.

The minute you've made an exception to an absolute you've made a relative judgement. Also things like rape aren't absolute states anyway, so they wouldn't qualify. But I used it to prove a point.

So you cannot disprove relativism by saying abortion or capital punishment are ultimate bads. Because both of those only exist in relative sets of conditions. They are not absolute states or conditions.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:17 PM
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a reply to: bbracken677


What if there were a person who knew the difference between right and wrong and yet killed everyone he met for the fun of it.

For a moral relativist, there is no "right and wrong" to differentiate between. There are simply behaviours that you agree or disagree with, but they cannot be deemed right or wrong, because that is a purely subjective conclusion. Once one makes a statement like "killing is always wrong, and therefore evil," one is professing a moral absolute, and is no longer a moral relativist.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:19 PM
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originally posted by: adjensen
One amusing contradiction is that many moral relativists are quick to point to "the problem with evil" to make a case for the non-existence of God, except that, under moral relativism, there's no such thing as evil. It's just behavior that you personally disagree with.


We all have our reasons for disagreeing with things. We all have our reasons for hating things. We can hate things and disagree with things that others might not hate or disagree with. So this leads people to believe that such things are relative. But this also discards the possibility that there might be an absolute reference, or absolute truth, to determine what is disagreeable and what is detestable.

I think a lot of relativism is based in ignorance of this absolute truth, and relativism is used as a cop out from trying to understand the absolute. So rather than trying to define absolute positive or absolute negative, relativists default into claiming that there is no absolute positive or negative, only because they are, intellectually, too lazy to sort out the complexities surrounding the issue.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:22 PM
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originally posted by: American-philosopher
a reply to: smithjustinb

Yeah so I am guessing most relativists are pure evolutionist. Since they can't seem to point to an actual beginning of things.


I wouldn't equate evolutionist to relativist. Even realists can be evolutionists.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:24 PM
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originally posted by: Moresby
The OP started well. But by the end he was defending relativism and didn't know it. Relativism suggest all truths are relative. There are no absolute truths. Let's try and test this.


I still don't know how you think I was defending relativism. I thought I was consistently saying that there are absolute truths.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:25 PM
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a reply to: smithjustinb


I think a lot of relativism is based in ignorance of this absolute truth, and relativism is used as a cop out from trying to understand the absolute.

It's two things, really.

For the majority of people, it is the statement that their opinion trumps all others, and if they want to do something, they'll bloody well do it, whether it's moral in someone else's eyes or not, because if they can justify it to themselves, it's moral.

And for others, it's the intentional denying of absolute morality, because that must come from an absolute source, and the only one we've ever come up with is God. If you don't believe in God, that presents a problem. Sam Harris is one noted example, and his gyrations to try and find an absolute source of morality in science would be laughable if it wasn't such pathetic grasping.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:31 PM
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a reply to: adjensen

Okie dokie... then I must profess to have never met a moral relativist nor have a read of one who would absolutely fit the description. Therefor it would appear to be a creature who does not exist in the real world.

If that is the case, there is little need to bring them into the discussion given that those of us posting here are anything but moral relativists and never will be such.

It is nothing more than a philosophical construct and not applicable to an honest discussion related to absolute truth or the lack thereof in nature.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:33 PM
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a reply to: adjensen

Naah...absolute truth does not solely lie in the realm of morality. Morality is an excellent example of subjective truth.

2.0+2.0=4.0 could be considered an example of absolute truth, IMO.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:45 PM
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originally posted by: smithjustinb

originally posted by: Moresby
The OP started well. But by the end he was defending relativism and didn't know it. Relativism suggest all truths are relative. There are no absolute truths. Let's try and test this.


I still don't know how you think I was defending relativism. I thought I was consistently saying that there are absolute truths.


You were making a conditional exception to hate being an absolute bad. That is a relative judgement. If freedom is the absolute, you also can't hate the rapist. Because he's merely exercising his freedom. But the rapist hampers the freedom of his victim. So freedom is not an absolute.

The rest of your argument is manifestly conditional, and so completely relativistic.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:47 PM
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a reply to: bbracken677

Absolute truth and absolute morality are two separate things. Sorry if I misunderstood what you or the OP was saying.

But what is "absolute truth", and how does it differ from "truth"? I would consider the word "absolute" superfluous there -- something is either true or not.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 07:58 PM
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originally posted by: adjensen
a reply to: bbracken677

Absolute truth and absolute morality are two separate things. Sorry if I misunderstood what you or the OP was saying.

But what is "absolute truth", and how does it differ from "truth"? I would consider the word "absolute" superfluous there -- something is either true or not.


It is a truth that chairs are used for sitting in. But it's not an absolute truth, because chairs have other functions.
edit on 3-6-2014 by Moresby because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 08:16 PM
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originally posted by: adjensen
a reply to: bbracken677


What if there were a person who knew the difference between right and wrong and yet killed everyone he met for the fun of it.

For a moral relativist, there is no "right and wrong" to differentiate between. There are simply behaviours that you agree or disagree with, but they cannot be deemed right or wrong, because that is a purely subjective conclusion. Once one makes a statement like "killing is always wrong, and therefore evil," one is professing a moral absolute, and is no longer a moral relativist.


By this same token, you could never argue in favor of something like the death penalty or going to war or any other form of killing that people rationalize away while pretending to be good people.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 08:29 PM
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a reply to: Krazysh0t

I'm anti-war and am against capital punishment


The Catholic Church teaches that there are "just wars" and that the death penalty is acceptable in certain circumstances. I disagree with my church's teachings.



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: adjensen

What about killing someone in self defense?



posted on Jun, 3 2014 @ 08:44 PM
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I think it's a given that certain "actions" are moral or immoral, relative to the situation/motivations/culture etc. But for me to agree that morality is absolutely relative, then I'd have to imagine a society where the most heinous/horrible action I can imagine is "good" . . . and I can't do that.

So, I do believe that there are such things as moral absolutes. But, as a Christian, I do wonder if the degree of culpability, even for violating a moral absolute, might differ based on the situation/motivation/culture etc.




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