Friday, October 15, 2010 5:56 AM

The Problem With Relativism

Friday, October 15, 2010 5:56 AM
Friday, October 15, 2010 5:56 AM


Relativism is self-defeating. Most relativists believe relativism is true for everyone, not just for them. But that is the one thing they cannot believe if they are truly relativists, for a relative truth is true for one person but not necessarily for everyone. Therefore, if a relativist thinks relativism is true for everyone, then he really believes it is an absolute truth. Of course, this being the case, he is no longer a relativist, since he believes in at least one absolute truth.


Relativism entails a world full of contradictions. If relativism were true, then the world would be full of contradictory conditions. If something is true for me but false for you, then opposite conditions exist. If I say, “There is milk in the refrigerator,” and you say, “There is no milk in the refrigerator,” and we are both right, then there must be milk in the refrigerator and no milk in the refrigerator at the same time and in the same sense. But that is impossible. If truth were relative, then the impossible would be actual. In the religious realm it would mean that the theist is telling the truth when he says “God exists” and the atheist is also correct in claiming “God does not exist.” But these two statements cannot both be true. If one is true, then the other is false.


Relativism means no one has ever been wrong about anything. If truth is relative, then no one is ever wrong—even when they are. As long as something is true to me, then I am right even when I am wrong. The drawback to this situation is that I can never learn anything, because learning is moving from a false belief to a true one—that is, from an absolutely false belief to an absolutely true one.



Geisler, N. L., & Hoffman, P. K. (2001). Why I am a Christian : Leading thinkers explain why they believe


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