A Summer of Philosophy: Relativism

A reflection by community member Jerome Burg:

Last evening we took a journey toward relativism.  What is relativism?  Erik had basically asked that same question .  I was going to contribute with “it’s a made up word” or maybe “a theory presented by Isaac Newton.”  I kept my mouth shut for once.  I never heard the word used so I looked up the definition on my tablet, “philosophical position that all points of view are equally valid, and that all truth is relative to the individual.” Confused no more!  It’s how one individual perceives truth.

Relativism can be applied to moral, political, religious, and objects such as a tennis ball that Erik’s demonstration showed us.   You may perceive it as soft but I may perceive it as hard.  It’s the truths that are relative to an individual.  Your truths may differ from mine.  For example, I may believe there is no God but believe and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.  My friend may wholeheartedly believe in God and Jesus. And another friend may not believe in either.  None of us are wrong.  It is our own perception, our own truths.

Many churches or faiths will have you believe in absolute truth only.  But I see it “if they want to believe in whatever, that’s their truth, no matter how false I believe it might be.”  

Absolute truth is defined as "inflexible reality: fixed, invariable, unalterable facts." Some questions for you to ponder as you consider truth and relativism:

What are your thoughts on absolute truth? Is there such a thing or is all truth relative?

If there is such a thing as absolute truth, are we always at the mercy of our own perceptions or can absolute truth be discovered?

Join us on Sunday, August 8 at 5:30pm as we continue the conversation.