Relativism is the philosophy which asserts there is no absolute truth. Time is a common example used to prove relativism. Pixabay/Creative Commons

Speaking out: Relativism can damage society

By  Vincent Pham, Speaking Out
  • January 11, 2018
I never knew relativism caused damage to society until I learned about it in a Grade 10 religion class last year. Since then, I have been discouraged about what I’ve seen happen in society.

My teacher had great knowledge of apologetics. In the class, he gave us excerpts from Chris Stefanick’s book, Absolute Relativism.

Relativism is the philosophy which asserts there is no absolute truth. It means moral principles are relative to one’s culture, society and/or feelings. This means “truth” can differ from person to person.

My teacher gave us an example, saying that the equation 2+2=4 is objective and that is an absolute truth. You can feel 2+2=5, but your feelings don’t matter on a math test. My teacher said if math were relativistic, all math calculations would be based on feelings. If architecture were relativistic, all the buildings would be falling down by now!

What I see today is a society moving towards this philosophy because it is easy. For example, as part of a Canadian law class, I wrote an essay and prepared a presentation defending my position that euthanasia should not have been legalized. I talked about how euthanasia is solely the victory of relativism.

Euthanasia was legalized because of relativistic principles that have seeped into the walls of society.

People are using their feelings to make decisions, rather than using objective principles.

Likewise, arguments for euthanasia laws are relativistic because they are solely based on one’s feelings. “I feel this person’s pain and it would be better if they die” —that’s how our society is functioning right now.

We have rejected the absolute truth that everything has a purpose, including human life and all the joys and pains that come with it. Without pain, there would be no such thing as happiness and relief.

Our life is not ours in the first place. It is that of the Creator, God. By taking away life, we are technically stealing from God. To reject the absolute truth is to reject God.

Relativism is not only evident through the legalization of euthanasia, but also in other moral issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Since religion class and law class last year, I have become more aware of relativism and have talked about it with some of my classmates and friends, hoping they would use their minds and not their feelings to dictate their decisions.

We are living in a relativistic society, yet many people are unaware of it. Young people especially should have some knowledge about this issue. Eventually, they will be the next prime ministers, members of Parliament, doctors, lawyers and society leaders.

I don’t want to live in a relativistic world. Let us use our minds and objective principles to make decisions, not our feelings.

(Pham, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Chaminade College School in Toronto.)

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