Relativism maintains that each person decides for themselves what is true; truth is subjective and relative to the individual. According to this view one person can say, “There is a God”, and his best friend could say, “There is no God”, and both statements will be true, so long as they accurately express the sincere beliefs of the two individuals. But is this acceptable?
Though relativism can work when it comes to matters of preference (e.g. “The Premier League is the best league in the world” as opposed to “La Liga is the best league in the world”), to say that all truth is relative is totally inadequate and just doesn’t hold up as an adequate framework for interpreting life – and religion.
Just think about it: we live our lives relying on the belief that objective truth exists. If a crime takes place, for example, the police will attempt to gather evidence and then reconstruct how events really took place as best as possible (i.e. they won’t simply allow the alleged perpetrator to make up the truth for himself).
All truth is not relative. In fact, the next time a relativist tells you that each person decides the truth for himself, take his wallet. If he protests you can say, “It’s true for me that this is now my wallet”. I’m sure he will soon point to some objective reasons why you are wrong – and maybe proffer those same reasons to the police too.
Subjective truth may work in certain areas of life where there can be different opinions, tastes or preferences, but it cannot be extended to statements of fact, including the question of God’s existence. Just as 2+2 is either 4 or not, either God exists or He doesn’t.
Truth has an objective existence and a universal application; it is not merely a matter of preference or interpretation. Truth is about what corresponds to reality.
By Dominic De Souza