Relativism vs Revelation

Yesterday I wrote a post about how the “pop” genre of music in our culture encourages its listeners to create their own meaning from the songs/lyrics. This got me thinking about the subjective/objective divide in a more general sense and I would like to share some thoughts here.The issue at hand with this entire subject can be found in the title to this post. It all really comes down to whether we see reality as entirely relative or if we see reality based on revelation. From one perspective the truth about the world we inhabit has been revealed to us by God. This view, obviously believes in revelation. The other perspective believes that there is no objective revelation and, thus, all things are relative.

As a Christian I (obviously) believe in revelation. The God who created everything has revealed himself generally through the creation (Romans 1) and specifically through the person and work of Jesus and the Bible.

In many cases someone who does not agree with a revelation based worldview will question the validity of the Christian’s source of revelation. They will question how a Christian can know what they believe (the Bible) is reliable or true. Some times these inquires are sincere and must not be scoffed by a Christian defending their faith. However, a Christian should never, initially, respond to this person by arguing for the historical validity of the Bible or even try to prove the truth of the Bible through the accuracy of its prophetic writings (even though the both the textual criticisms and prophecies are accurate).

The reason a Christian must never respond this way is because, by doing so, they are agreeing with the non-believer that they have any ground to stand upon themselves.

Here’s what I mean.

When a non-believer questions a Christians about their beliefs they have often failed to hold their own beliefs up to the same standard.

Someone who believes that everything is ultimately relative cannot claim to have any ground in even asking a question of a Christian. Why should that person believe even themselves or be concerned whatsoever with the truth of the matter if they believe all things are relative.

The reality of the situation is that no one actually lives like they are truly relativistic. Instead they use the guise of relativism in order to assuage their guilty conscience while living out most of their life through the inherited morality and order of a Christian worldview.

What the Christian must understand is what C.S. Lewis stated so ably:

I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.

What we must begin to understand as Christians is that there is not one single area of life that can possibly make sense outside of the Christian worldview. This does not mean that other worldview cannot get things right and make sense of things. But what it does mean is that in those areas, they are acting inconsistently with their stated worldview.

A simply example of this is an atheist doctor serving his patients. He wants to help people feel better and he even does a great job at helping people. We should thank God for this token of common grace. But at the most basic level of this doctor’s worldview is that everything is simply random and their is no foundation for him to prefer helping people and hurting people other than his own personal preference. According to the relativistic worldview this doctor can have no qualms over a peer of his who purposefully writes bad prescriptions for his patients because that is what he likes to do.

What all this means at the core is that a relativist must first account for himself before he can ever ask a Christian to validate their worldview. The relativist must ultimately find that he is the one with inconsistencies that he must deal with first before he can even question anyone else.

Food for thought.

Michael

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