I don’t like to get political, so I won’t. I want to make it clear that I’m not affiliated with, nor a proponent of, either political party in the USA. I am not even an American. I am speaking as an outsider living among Americans, and my views are simply that: my views. Furthermore, I am not even expressing my personal views in this post. I am aware that some people might be upset by me writing this, but that would only support more strongly the point that I want to make in this post. I am putting this in the “social issues” section.
I am just going to use this opportunity to talk about something that was discussed previously, but the point, I think is more driven home during this ‘special event’ of the inauguration. Namely, people pretending that they are open to other opinions, when really they want people simply to agree with their own opinions.
So, Trump won. People went insane from both sides. I want to mostly focus on those, though, who were upset about his win and expressed publicly their outrage at the event. I am focusing on them, because they are the ones who show the point clearly that I want to make.
When the news broke, the Canadian immigration website went down because of traffic to its site. Celebrities made bold claims about leaving the country and some even said they would be willing to drop their citizenship. That’s on the highest level. On a smaller level, friends unfriended friends on Facebook for their political views. People who found out that Aunts and Uncles, or God-forbid, even some priests had voted for Trump, that they no longer had a place in the Church or community, and thus had to find a new religion or a new family. I had never witnessed this level of emotional sensationalism in my life.
Within one week after the voting was done, I heard a news anchor or guest on CNN say, “Ever since the Trump era began, we have seen a decrease in freedom of speech”. I was unaware that a Trump era existed, that it could exist before his inauguration, and furthermore, that he had already put forth policy that limited freedom of speech. If he were able to have done this, whether for good or bad, that’s a mark of a charismatic and impressive leader. Yet, many who would not like to support Trump would not want to call him charismatic or impressive.
So, as we said, Trump won. Now, theoretically, a democracy allows for people to have multiple views, and in some definitions, it means that the majority get to decide on a ‘thing’ or an ‘issue’. It also usually means that people are allowed to possess other views, but that the decision-making processes would be made by either a majority of the people, or by a majority of those elected by the people to decide on issues on their behalf.
If that is what the system is supposed to do, then I am baffled why people are upset. The system worked. People voted. Actually, many people voted, and the majority of them said that they want this person to be the new president. Some people questioned this vote, and a revote was done, and they found that the votes not only reaffirmed the results, but reaffirmed them more strongly in the current president’s favour. Yet, the people who did not want him as president, are upset.
Now, most people would say that the reason that people are upset, is because they think that he is a misogynist, a bigot, a racist or a host of other horrible things. I am not here to confirm or deny that he is any of those things, because, truly, I do not know if he is actually any of those things or not. Here is the problem, though, on what basis is anything that he thinks or says actually deemed wrong?
In a pluralistic society, people value and uphold that there can be many different groups, principles or sources of authority that coexist. It would appear, that Trump has his own principles, and that, apparently, many Americans share them with him. In a pluralistic society, that’s supposed to be allowed, yet it causes strife in this situation. Why are people angry that other people think differently than themselves if we are claiming to be pluralistic?
I would think, that someone will come back and say, well, “we Americans go back to the Constitution”, and one could retort back with two things:
a) He swears to uphold the Constitution, and if he does not, there are systems and weights in balance to ensure that he does and
b) The Constitution is a man-made document made in a particular context that is subject to debate and reinterpretation
I hope that you see the conundrum that I feel we are facing.
People want to call Trump and his ideals wrong. Forget Trump. They want to call certain things wrong – people, ideas, philosophies, ideologies, suggestions or events – but they do not know on what basis they get to actually define a thing as wrong. So, they may fall back to the Constitution as the authority. The Constitution is a man-made document. Laws today are a result of votes and the opinion of the masses. The original constitution had stuff in it that today people disagree with and amended. Why did they get to change the document for those things which were amended and not other things? It’s because the document is not infallible, because it is contextual and thus open to discussion. Who got to decide that it should be amended? The democratic people who allowed for it to be changed. Surely there were people who opposed previous amendments, so what is the problem with people having certain values today? Who gets to decide, objectively what is considered a regression and what is a progression? Who, when everything is a vote, gets to decide that, and on what basis? If we go back to the Constitution, we’re back to a circular argument. We’re back to a human-made (and thus relativistic) document deciding what is right or wrong, while also allowing humans to change the same document that we are calling authoritative. How bizarre.
Again, I’m not even remotely trying to suggest, before many people accuse me of this (and I’m sure some will), that I agree with Trump or wanted him to win. I’m not trying to say that we should change laws to persecute people. Yet, people are using their majority status to bully others. Sometimes when we do not get what we want, we whine and complain and take action when we are simply upset that someone disagrees with us. I am trying to say, that the vote of many people neither makes something right nor wrong.
If you are basing right and wrong on the vote of the people, then apparently Trump is right, and nobody should whine or complain. If we are basing it on the vote of the people, many things currently deemed wrong in the constitution were apparently somehow right at some other time. Which parts of the Constitution should never have been changed and which parts ought to have been kept?
Since, however, people do not have real authority to what they say most of the time, they say things with conviction under the assumption that most people already agree with them. Those who do not agree with their worldview, and again, I’m not talking about Trump here anymore, I’m speaking generally, are seen as less enlightened, or as supporters of something wrong.
In other words here’s the prevailing attitude:
Believe what you want as long as you agree with me.
I am right because I believe I am right.
I am right because a lot of people think I am right.
This election has shown me the hypocrisy of contemporary society: that people claim to respect the views of others, and yet when others strongly disagree with them, they are viewed as people that shouldn’t be lived with, people that one shouldn’t pray with, or a nation from which one should escape. Why? Because they disagree on principles, all while pretending that disagreement is okay.
The real issue, is that people pretend to believe that they believe that there’s not just ‘one truth’. They say they believe that everyone has his or her “own truth”. The reality, is that each person in spite of saying the opposite, believes that his or her “own” truth, is the right truth, or the ”real truth”, why else would they believe in it if they did not think so? So, when our so-called individual truths “collide”, suddenly we have a problem, because we are no longer able to pretend that we agree when we actually quite truly disagree. Suddenly, there’s a confrontation, and it’s clear from the example of this election, that people do not seem to handle disagreement all that well! They are not as well and pluralistic as they might have believed. They are not as open-minded as they once thought. Why? Because nobody is standing on real leg of Absolute Truth, but on a crutch of humanly-manufactured relativistic truth.
So, some will find this post irreligious, but it’s not entirely so (and I don’t mind if it is!). For those who see the Truth as relative, this conflict described will always exist, because people will always have opinions.
For those of us who believe in Absolute Truth, that Truth is liberating, and that Truth stands whether Trump, Hilary or Pinocchio swear the oath. For those of us who want it, we have a God-given constitution of His Image and Likeness. Thus, right is right because it is right, and not because of any human’s opinion of it. Truth is only truth if it is actually and objectively true.
“I am the Truth” – Jesus.
22 thoughts on “Trump, Clinton & the Conflict of Relativism”
LOL! Americans have deep issues if that’s how insane some people have reacted.
As an Aussie, on two separate occasions, I’ve woken up to find that our Prime Minister has changed out of nowhere. Hakuna Matata! Abouna, you’re words are on point – if we know the Truth then why even bother worry.
I also believe that voting is important and I do like how it’s compulsory to vote in Australia. But to go about results in such a way is disturning because at the end of the day we know the Truth, just like you put it!
If we live by the Absolute Truth, and society is relative, then why should we as Christians be tolerant to the pluralism? If the constitution is man-made, then what value does it have for us Christians? Everyone, including us, is convinced of their own truth, so should we compromise for the sake of tolerance, or try and enforce our values?
Thanks for writing. 🙂
There’s a difference between tolerating and agreeing. As Christians, of course we ought to be respectful of other human beings, and as much as possible we ought to live in peace with all – irrespective of their views. I say “as much as possible”, because if I’m being asked to do something that I believe is wrong, then I will not do it, and that might cause discord.
We are also called upon to honour our rulers and magistrates and to render to the State what is due to the State. These instructions came both from our Lord Jesus, and also by St. Peter in his epistles. This means that we need to be law-abiding citizens who are active citizens, not just spectators. It means that we have duties toward our own nations.
So the Church, in my view, should not play a role in politics, but you as a Christian citizen are perfectly entitled to do that. What I mean is that priests and bishops and the institution ought not to politically align the Church with any party, nor to allow politicking in the Churches. This is mixing Church and state, and, in my view, is a recipe for disaster and corruption. There is no party that is going to be able to perfectly reflect our Christian stances on all things.
You, however, as a citizen, can participate fully either in politics directly, and you ought to affect policies and laws in the same way that other citizens do. You ought to vote. You ought to reflect your Christian values in all that you do. You ought to be engaged as much as others, if that is your passion, in how our countries are governed. Your views as a Christian citizen are as valuable as an Atheist or other Theist votes. You are no less and no different.
More importantly, you ought to know why you believe what you do, because if you are a person of conviction, people will definitely challenge your stances. If you know why you have your stance, you will be well equipped to give a defense for what you do – even while being tolerant of other views. So you ought to live your values, rather than enforce them on others. If asked in any form what you think are good values for your nation, then you ought to answer that question; you are not trying to enforce your values, but convincing others. If you believe that what we believe is Truth, that part is not too difficult. 🙂
I think I answered, but let me know if I missed something!
Pray for me,
Thank you for your prompt and insightful reply.
If I may, I can summaries what you are saying as follows:
1. As citizens of this world, we should abide by its rules and be engaged in it like anyone else. The church, however, should stay away from participating in government on a political level.
2. As Christians, we should obey the laws of the land and tolerate the opinions and laws that we disagree with…etc.
3. We should use persuasion not coercion to bring people to the truth.
The difficulty I am having is how to reconcile the fact that my Christian morals (which translate into how I vote) that are based on eternal truths and are righteous, in a democracy, have the SAME *weight* as the immoral set of values held by some others.
In theory, what you said is ideal, but in practice, I find that we don’t see it that way. We play a role in which we feel that our morals are elevated above the world and should be treated by society with due difference. If the political tide goes our way, then, it is the function of the political process, but if it doesn’t then, the country is bringing judgement on itself. For example, if a law banning [something we consider a grave sin] is passed, we are joyful at winning that moral battle, but if it is legalised, we feel scandalised. We would not accept it, as would any other law. We become less tolerant, and begin to use the religious arguments against said laws (perhaps like Kim Davis)
To quote the post:
“The real issue, is that people pretend to believe that they believe that there’s not just ‘one truth’. They say they believe that everyone has his or her “own truth”. The reality, is that each person in spite of saying the opposite, believes that his or her “own” truth, is the right truth, or the ”real truth”, why else would they believe in it if they did not think so? So, when our so-called individual truths “collide”, suddenly we have a problem, because we are no longer able to pretend that we agree when we actually quite truly disagree.”
We (practicing Christians) are those ‘people’ a lot of the time. I genuinely don’t know if it’s ok because we have the Absolute Truth, or it is not! You suggest that it’s our duty to fight the moral fight as citizens. I just don’t know how to reconcile it with the above.
Sorry if the argument is a little contrived. I am genuinely conflicted about it.
I would add another point to your list:
4. Christians will behave according to Christian precepts irrespective of the law. e.g.) If the state mandates that a physician perform abortions, for example, and a Christian sees this as against his law, he will break the secular law over the religious one.
5. The Church as a Church is not interested so much in geographical limitations and governments. I know this sounds cheesy, but I mean it. We function in a local environment, and we accept boundaries as they exist, but we see humanity in the world as much broader than how nations define them. The nation of Israel remained the nation of Israel even when in exile in Babylon.
I think the problem is that you’re associating human behaviour as though it is right. If a Christian rejoices that a law was passed in their favour, then that should just be a rejoicing simply that they think something that they believe is good for society got passed. If they are upset that they lost, they are upset that they lost. That’s normal. So, I’m not saying that when we lose a battle that it is okay for us to go riot or call the world bigots, to me the proper response should simply be sadness that the world rejects something we believe is right, and pretty much it ends there, because of point #4. 🙂
ALso, because of point #4, while my vote has the same weight as everyone else in society, what you wrote about the same weight is irrelevant because I am only a proponent of something because I believe that it is true and good for society, but I’m going to do it even if society thinks that I’m stupid for doing it.
The reason for point #5, is to say that, as a citizen of a land, I’m bowing to the secular norms that are in place, but in reality, we’re all global citizens, all children of Christ. Our desire for these precepts to be for everyone is a desire that everyone identify that they are the children of God, too – to identify a reality rather than to ‘convert’ someone to my way of thinking. If we were to do this, and actually live the gospel, I’m not sure that there would be a political mess. I know how circular this sounds, but in order to understand where something went wrong, we need to have proper definitions and an understand of what the objective ideal is (from a Christian perspective).
So, I’m not seeing your dilemma properly because I don’t think that it’s right for Christians to behave in the way that I described in the blog. Sadness at a lack of truth, sure, but wanting everyone to bow to our will is not right either. The only difference that matters, as far as teh Absolute Truth part being concerned, is that I believe I have a valid reason to assert my rightness, but that does not mean that I behave arrogantly. Our Lord interacted peacefully and compassionately both towards the Romans and the rest of the Gentiles, and He submitted Himself to their laws, even when they were wrong. He broke the law when it was contrary to His own design (e.g. Sabbath rules), but where there was not a wrong, He obeyed. We’re to do the same.
Let me know if I’m still not addressing the core issue. I see where you’re going with the thought and I know what I’m thinking about it, but I’m not sure that it got articulated well.
Pray for me,
Thanks one again for clarifying be explaining what you are thinking and feeling about the issue. I guess I struggle because the issue is not black and white, but a balance. As you mentioned, Christ maintained that balance by both submitting to the law of the land and acting in contrary when He saw right to do so.
I guess that we can be the same and live a life worthy of the calling for the sake of showing others the example of the living truth!
If relativism is the problem then I can’t imagine how we could live in a society without it. However, societies change when people collectively decide that aspects of the past need to be replaced; that’s how movements for civil rights begin and gain ground. Societies change because people voice their beliefs and share their perspectives and slowly, things change. In this respect the President is behind the times. He has violated the norms agreed on by society like respecting women as humans equal to himself in dignity, not demeaning his political opponents, and not advocating for the return of millions to a life without the healthcare that they desperately need . Objective data show that his propositions will lower people’s quality of life. He has had a well- publicized campaign and as humans we can only judge what kind of leader he will be from what he has done so far. He has done awful, reprehensible things on camera and over a voice recording. This is not just a difference of ideology, he is threatening social structures that need to exist to protect people’s right to live with dignity. An objective human cannot exist because he or she cannot live any life that is not their own. Relativism is baked into our life experience but it isn’t harmful as long as we acknowledge it and rely on each other to correct our own misconceptions. The President does not believe that he could ever be wrong. Objectivity does not come from within a person, it needs to be directed by facts (which he confounds and discredits at every turn to suit his agenda). Empirically speaking, he has not shown himself to be capable of reining in his desire for self- aggrandizement long enough to help anyone who elected him.
I don’t have any feelings for or against Trump right now, and I understand what you’re saying but I’m not sure that you get what I mean to say (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not being sarcastic).
To say something is ‘wrong’, you need to have a definition of wrong. If you want to call something progressive, then you need to define what it is that we are progressing toward (e.g. progression is a relative thing, not objective). Deciding what determines “quality of life” is a subjective idea needs an objective definition. So when a person says “societies change” or societies decide what part of the past need to be replaced etc… those things are true, but what I’m saying is that those things are arbitrarily decided. What is the definition of “good”? What is the definition of “bad”? In the absence of Absolute Truth, those are just random things decided by a bunch of people, and that is why we have monumental conflict.
So all I’m saying is that, for a relativistic society, people are not exactly acting like they really truly believe in pluralism/relativism. I’m not advocating for or against Mr. Trump. 🙂
pray for me.
What I said above implies that the terms “wrong” “good” “bad” and “quality of life” are defined collectively by the society. Not all members need to agree but it is shaped by the culture of the majority and does change over time. To rely only on objective definitions is basically to suspend their usage since the existence of a purely objective, unbaised human is impossible. No human is going to have access to the entirety of Absolute Truth. The same holds for progress, to say that it is relative is equivalent to saying that it doesn’t matter whether things change or not but clearly it does matter in people’s lives whether they have enough to subsist on or whether they are treated with the dignity befitting a human. I am speaking functionally while your reverence seems to be speaking theoretically. In my opinion, it no longer matters whether people support him or not, we can all just watch the live experiment.
But that’s exactly my point!
I’m simply saying that since people are all making up their own definitions, nobody has the right to call someone absolutely wrong. Not Trump, not CLinton not Donald Duck. I’m not talking about a political party or person. I’m saying since all these defintions are arbitrary and formed by majorities and societal movements, nobody has the right to be so worked up about things, because this is how society has always worked: a bunch of people make a bunch of rules and they vote on them. Movements happen and they change some of these things, but those movements are based on relativity as well. Even the “dignity” that befits a human is going to be totally arbitrarily decided by majorities in a relative way.
So my point is exactly what you’re saying: societies function relatively. I’m adding one thing: given that that’s how things happen, people shouldn’t be so angry about relativism! Given that people profess that they allow everyone to have different views and given that most people act like they believe in pluralism, they shouldn’t be so upset that pluralism exists. They shouldn’t be so unhappy that relativism exists. That is all I’m saying. I’m not sure where the discord is right now to be honest, help me out here with what I’m missing. I’m not sure why there’s a comment even made about who people support because that’s not a thing in my post or a point that I’m trying to make.
Pray for me.
When I said that it doesn’t matter anymore whether people support Trump that was in response to your statement about not supporting either candidate; I was saying that it wouldn’t effectively matter even if you were baised toward one or the other. What I’m saying is that theoretically it doesn’t matter which political ideology we choose but since we live in this world and function physically in it every day for a limited span of time, the conditions imposed by the ideology of the government does matter. My point is that the definitions of “good” and “bad” and “progress” aren’t arbitrary because the “machine” of society adjusts itself according to the values of the majority, it’s a learning machine. So maybe the starting point is arbitrary but after that a pattern should emerge, as it does in history. Certain values emerge as more conducive to the well- being of the whole. The values of society would be arbitrary if people’s values were also arbitrary, which they cannot be because they want food, shelter, money, societal approval, etc for themselves and those they love. No one is really indifferent in those respects. If people were indifferent to their well- being and that of their family and friends then I would accept the argument that the values of society are relative.
With all due respect, that machine is still arbitrary – you’re still saying that the machine is adjusting itself to the values of the majority – which is still arbitrary. It doesn’t matter if a ‘pattern’ emerges out of it, because the foundation is still completely arbitrary. Well-being is also a relative term. So just because there seems to be a current commonality, there is nobody “officially right”. If nobody is “officially right”, then nobody can be “officially angry”. So you can’t just dismiss the foundation as being arbitrary and then go on from there – if the foundation of something is arbitrary, we cannot say that that doesn’t matter as long as a pattern emerges. This is why I’m calling it fundamentally nonsensical to be angry.
You list the things people want: food, shelter, money etc… I could say that it’s advantageous for us to go to war with the Middle East to get their oil so that I have more money. In doing so, I will kill people. Yet there are many people who think that that’s “wrong” and they will call it wrong. Others will call it right. Others will say do it if you don’t kill people. Others say the killing is justified. Let’s take it to an extreme and say “without going to war for that oil, my people will die”, will I suddenly be justified in going to war? What was it that made going to war “officially right” or “officially wrong”, what situational factors will influence the determining of my popular vote of what’s the right or wrong choice in this situation?
So we can’t just say that a pattern makes something “okay”. It’s either absolute truth or it isn’t, if it isn’t, it’s relative. If it’s relative, nobody has the right to be angry, and that’s all I’m saying. I’m not talking about what is actually right or wrong, I’m simply saying that if it’s arbitrary or relative or whatever label you want to call it, then my opinion is as valid as everyone else’s, and thus I shouldn’t be angry that others have opinions, and I have to be cautious in what I label as being “wrong” if it’s really just relatively wrong, but not actually and absolutely wrong.
I’m not following how you can concede that values may have started as relative (or arbitrary), but then still say that you could only conditionally accept that values of society are relative. I’m genuinely not being sarcastic and am enjoying this conversation – lest the tone not be clear. 🙂
pray for me.
ps. I’m not arguing about living in or being affected by governments – my post is about one thing: whether or not it makes sense that people are upset that the machine is running the way it was designed to run, the way that it has apparently always run, and within a society that says that they want it to run that way.
Some tagged me in this link and turns out he’s saying much of the same.
Nothing that I said implies that anyone is “officially right”. The essence of what I’m saying is that people have natural, instinctive inclinations toward the things that will keep them alive; that is incontrovertible, In addition to that, as they identify themselves with a group and also instinctively seek the benefits of this group. Of course there are those that identify with white supremacists or racists or sexists but most people rationally learn to seek the benefits of the society at large, social institutions help to promote that end. An example of this would be universal healthcare or the welfare programs. Those programs exist in this society and they were approved by legislators that represent this country. It is a basic function of government to represent the interests of the people so it must be that the people want to ensure that the least able members of society are able to meet their basic needs. It’s not just governments, churches also do this, and non- profit organizations. That is the trajectory of society and it does not depend on any one individual but on collective data from the past and the present. The values of the majority cannot be arbitrary because they stem from our basic animal desire to help our own group. Of course there have been deviations from this pattern but the overall pattern is one of increasing compassion toward more people. The President is bucking this trend; he is narrowing the circle of compassion and attacking many of the basic institutions of a free society such as a free press and access to facts that correspond to the common reality.
Going to war in the Middle East for oil would be against the morality and the knowledge (gained by the society from the experience of having done this multiple times before) so that course of action would be deemed wrong by the only metric we have which is the collective conscience of the society. This is the only practical metric since people don’t all believe in the same god or subscribe to the same philosophies. There have to be functional definitions of “right” and “wrong” despite there being theoretical gray areas between them. Laws issued by the government serve as these definitions. According to these laws the President has done “wrongs” many times and would have been prosecuted for them if he were anybody else.
There is a political theory that says that people give up their power to the established government so that the government would be able to protect them from each other (Hobbes). Well the people gave up their power and tied their fate to the actions of the government. Because they have done this they have every right to be angry when the government does not serve their interests. They could have been out there accomplishing their ends by their own means but instead they trusted the government to do that for them. It is the government’s responsibility now to deliver that.
We can’t just say that people believe what they want to believe and take that as a reason to be indifferent to the ideology of the government. Like I said above, I gave up power to join this society and I reserve the right to hold it against the government if it does not represent my interests. Not all opinions carry the same weight because some are backed by the trend of the society while others can be categorized as fringe because of their selfishness. That is the key metric here, selfishness.
I really feel like you’re still not seeing my point, and I’m not being sarcastic. I’m saying this because you’re still talking about what people believe or don’t believe, and you are making comments like “we can’t just say that people believe what they want ot believe and take that as a reason to be indifferent…”. I didn’t say to be indifferent. I’m not talking about any particular ideology.
My point was and still remains very simple:
If we believe that we are all entitled to opinions, we cannot be angry that others have other opinions than our owns.
If relativism means that there is no absolute truth, then a society that believes in relativism should not be upset when relativism exists.
That is ALL that I am saying.
So, in this context, all the things that you described are relativistic whether your appreciate that or not. They simply are. If society is forming it based on votes and opinions – irrespective of how long it took for that or with how many votes, it was still societally formed, and thus, one cannot claim that is absolutely right (which you are saying that you are not saying). If it is not absolutely right, then one can feel however one wants about what one thinks to be true, but one must not act like one is absolutely true. If I believe in relativism and accept that I am not absolutely right (which you are claiming that people are not claiming), then it means that I have to accept the possibility that I am wrong (if an absolute wrong exists). If I could potentially be wrong, then I have no right to be angry that someone else disagrees with me. I have no right to be angry because what if that small group of people becomes a big group of people over a long period of time? Does that suddenly make them more right?
That is my point – I am pointing out the absurdity of relativism, because it is absurd to believe in relativism and then be so angry when its tenets are upheld.
My conversation wasn’t and isn’t about whose ideals are actually right, but about the relativism itself.
Pray for me.
What I am saying in essence is that your theories, while logical, are not the reality that we live in. They don’t apply in this case. You claim that if people accept relativism then they have no right to be angry when others disagree with them. That’s not what’s happening here. No rational person is angry that there is no unanimity of opinion. The point is that ideas don’t hurt people, actions do. People get angry when they are ignored or treated unfairly, not when others simply disagree with them. You can measure wrong and right though, we don’t need absolute truth to understand how a certain change will affect our lives because we can measure the differences in people’s health, in the quality of their education, in equal access to necessary resources…That’s how we find out pieces of the absolute truth that we won’t get in its entirety while we’re alive. I essentially believe in the trial and error method of finding things rather than waiting for a revelation that is guaranteed never to come. That is what we can do if we are not to be indifferent.
This is a whole other argument. People *do* get upset when people disagree with their thoughts and opinions. People *are* saying they are upset that he believes in x, y or z. And even in this other argument you’re presenting, this is still based on relativism. Because if there isn’t an absolute truth, then it doesn’t matter if you are hurt by how someone treats you, because if someone believes that how they treat you is right, they will feel justified in hurting you. Americans largely at some point believed that enslaving black people was right, and so it didn’t matter if it hurt black people. Did the large majority feeling that make slavery right? Who decides?
So, you believe in trial and error method, and that belief will affect people if everyone believes in trying that. What if everyone else doesn’t believe in trial and error? (I know, ridiculous, right?) But I’m not asking you to have a particular belief. My point remains simple, and I’m not sure what problem you’re actually finding with my post/opinion, or what it is that is bothering you with my assertions. I’m saying relativism causes problems in these situations, and emotional responses of this nature show that people don’t always actually accept that others have different opinions, and they don’t always really acknowledge that if they don’t have absolute truth, that they could be wrong. I’m not sure what’s so grievous about this assertion.
It’s not a theory to say that relativism exists. I’m not proposing a theory. You yourself acknowledged that we live in a relativistic society. If this were a theory, then what you’re saying is that we all believe in an absolute truth, but many people are not claiming that…. I’m not following and honestly, not being sarcastic.
pray for me
If people are upset because of his beliefs it’s because he has the power to take actions based on those beliefs that will affect everyone. People aren’t angry at Trump voters because of their beliefs so much as their actions. My argument doesn’t rest on my beliefs either, I was just saying my opinion. Trial and error is how our species figures things out that aren’t revealed by God. There is no other way. I also didn’t say that absolute truth does not exist, only that we will never have access to it in this lifetime. The logical consequence of your argument is that all opinions are equally valid. That’s not true, there are educated opinions that are are based on facts from unbaised reasoning, coupled with sound, logical reasoning. We can’t say that a racist opinion( your example), is equal to the assertion that human activity is causing climate change, one is well reasoned and supported by unbaised facts and the other is a remenant of the basic animal behavior. Relativism is acceptable when it is limited to how people choose to live their own lives and what they believe about what cannot be proven. Unsupportable arguments are not on the same footing as observable, measureable phenomena. There are unbaised facts to consider. By the way I dropped the ‘your reverence’ just to shorten statements, I don’t mean any disrespect.
I didn’t see any disrespect. 🙂
I am trying, though, too follow your line of argument and am still not clear what you’re taking issue with from post to post, and genuinely, I’m not saying that sarcastically.
I said that for a pluralistic and relativistic society, the outrage is contradictory. My understanding is that you took issue to this, that issue isn’t clear to me. Then I understood from you that you think that what I’m seeing is theoretical, but it isn’t. It’ss not a theory, it’s a fact that North Americans overwhelmingly believe in relativism. To confirm this, take a poll of people and see if they believe in absolute truth in all circumstances. 🙂
Now what I’m understanding from you, is that they’re not upset about people’s beliefs, but actions. But the outrage began from the moment he was elected. Does this mean that they’re angry they voted? Does it mean they’re angry people voted specifically for trump? That is extremely problematic, because it means they’re not allowing people to express or show their beliefs and opinions because they contradict other people’s! So all that you’re saying is not what I’m talking about, although in this comment you seem to be acknowledging a need for objectivity, which has been a large part of my point all along. 🙂
If I’m misunderstanding, please let me know
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But in what areas is relativism allowed? What does society allow you to apply it to? Certainly not everything. No one can kill or abuse someone and claim that it was part of their belief system so it can not be punished in a relativistic society. Voting is also a special case of expression because it’s not a choice that you make just for yourself. When you vote you don’t say “This is what I want for myself” but rather, “This is what I want for everyone.” Because this is how voting works, you should be held accountable for your choices and how they impact other people’s lives. This is what I was talking about in the earlier post when I said that we have all thrown our lot in together and tied ourselves to the government. So of course people can choose to vote for whomever they want but they must also be held accountable by their fellow citizens if their choices were selfish or ignorant or shortsighted. That also ties in with what I said about not all opinions being equal; there are informed ones and ill-informed ones. By held accountable I mean that they should be reminded at every point of the consequences of their choices on the lives of others. This is why anger is justified, because this is what drives people to correct wrongs and injustices. While this is indeed a relativistic society, there are notable exceptions such as voting and government because they affect everyone and their effects can be objectively measured. I think we understand each other now.
Sorry for the delay, I was and am travelling.
” No one can kill or abuse someone and claim that it was part of their belief system so it can not be punished in a relativistic society.”
Yes, actually, they can. It takes on different names, but htey do. Some people would consider that the death penalty. Some people would consider that going to war. Some people would consider it abortion. IN some cultures, like among the Inuit (not sure if they still do this though), it’s even okay under certain circumstances to commit infanticide.
Your point about voting is fine, but it’s missing sitll the point that I”m making. ONce again I will emphasise, I’m not talking about whose values are right or wrong. I’m saying that you live in a society that says that people define that society, the people defined the society, and now people are angry. Not just angry – dramatically angry. Not just angry that they lost, but saying that these other people are definitely wrong. BOth sides are doing this. I’m not supporting one side or another. I”m saying that being upset that other people believe something differently only ever makes sense if you believe that you have an absolute right. If you do not, then you have to consider the behaviours in context.
You, for example, earlier suggested that people are upset by actions. I didn’t want to flog your post to death, but really, actions come from thoughts and beliefs. So being upset about actions is being upset by a belief because it is a belief (or lack of belief) that informs a behaviour. So to judge an action as wrong is the same debate/discussion as defining a thought or belief in wrong.
So that’s why I felt like we’re going around in circles around each other. To me, it sounds like you’re still saying people should be angry because of how things are driven, and in order to be upset about where they’re driven means that you have decided what direction in which one should drive – and that’s still a relative thing. But that, however, is still not my point. To be angry means that your ‘right’ has been violated in some way – physically, philosophically, emotionally, or whatever – but to have a right violated means you need a definition of that right.
I understand peoples’ anger, but my point is that it’s nonsensical on some level, becuase there’s no definitions. 🙂
Hope I didn’t irritate you too much in the process. 🙂
Pray for me.
We live among bunch of liars as prophet David said ” I said in my bewilderment all are liars” because no one lives according to the will of the absolute truth