"If however everything is true, then nothing is anymore"
Plato writes in the „State“ that a democracy in the hands of relativists is condemned to death. Indeed, if there is no difference between Good and Evil, a politician can do whatever he wants.
On a smaller scale we often experience what it means when someone does whatever he wants. And not only that many deny for themselves the capacity of differentiating good and evil, but they also refuse others the right to do so. In the name of an apparent tolerance and ideologised freedom, an invisible intolerant dictatorship is growing, undermining more and more real freedom.
Many of us Christians have been confronted with the disciples of this dictatorship - and so was Martin Lohmann, the author of this newsletter. But instead of rolling out a myriad of examples, we want to put the finger on the wound itself. It is high time to call the problem by its name.
Europe for Christ! - that it succeeds!
Your “Europe for Christ!” Team
PS: Don’t forget: the daily Our Father for a Europe based on Christian values!
- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -
Dictatorship of Relativism – a Dangerous Temptation
By Martin Lohmann
Is there truth? Is there still truth today? Is there even such a thing as THE truth? Oblivious to all doom prophets truth finds her way even to modern man. Yes, even and first of all the enlightened man of the third millennium looks for the truth and carries a desire to embrace her. It’s the old yet always modern questions that man asks himself: Where do I come from, where do I go? Who am I? On what can I trust? What is valid, what is not? What is good, what is evil? Is there a God?
Maybe these are the most human questions that exist. However, the person asking these questions in a society where fear for clarity and truth is largely spread, lives sometimes dangerously. In a society as the European one for instance, where those who seek the truth are seen as a nuisance to peace. Truth? Clarity? Maybe even linked with consequences to our personal actions? No thank you, would one tell to those who still trust themselves to dig deeper. In this case, one would prefer to say that there really couldn’t be one truth. And so the error spreads, that only the one who considers all things equal is truly tolerant, which of course relativizes also this very consideration. At the same time, the word tolerance comes from the latin tolerare, which means to carry, to carry through. There is no discussion of relativising anything. On the contrary, the tolerant person can live with the error of his fellow man, but doesn’t conceal from him that he is wrong.
But if all is true, even the contrary, then nothing is true anymore, then there is nothing we can build upon. The Christian thinker René Girard knows: “If there is no objective truth, all truths will be equally treated and that leads you to stay trivial and superficial.” Pope Benedict XVI even speaks of a dictatorship of relativism that wants to reach and control all the phases of thinking and living. He points out that a clear faith and a clear attitude are swiftly insulted with the discriminating pseudo argument of fundamentalism, “while relativism, never taking any side in a conflict of opinion, appears to be the only attitude that is adequate in these times.” And so it long exists, “this dictatorship of relativism that recognises nothing as definite and which measure everything in one’s own self, and one’s own wishes.”
It seems comfortable to avoid all requirements for one’s own life, not committing, taking everything as valid and everything as invalid. Ultimately however, it is deeply inhuman and deprives one of one’s freedom. Because freedom of something and freedom for something or even freedom for somebody only originates in the awareness of clarity and truth. Only rooting oneself in the good and the durable opens the gates to freedom and enables one to be fearless and really tolerant. Nobody should be afraid of clarity and truth. On the contrary, whoever dares to recognize truth and clarity will become a messenger of freedom and real humanity. He who recognises the dangers of relativism, will grow and be enlightened, in the real meaning of the word. There is indeed a measure of true humanism, of real humanity, with which one’s life could be successful.
If it is true that the dignity of the person is inviolable and that the nature of man springs from the image of God, then there is evidence of the measure of clarity recognisable by pure reason. Experience teaches that people need and seek a firm anchorage, a rootage in truth. This anchor or measure is - maybe not only for Christians - nobody less than the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the real Man. There however, is really nothing to relativize. Because truth is always whole and makes whole. Everything and all.
Martin Lohman, born in Bonn (Germany) in 1957, studied theology, history, philosophy and educational sciences. He was substitute editor-in-chief of „Rheinischer Merkur“, chief editor in the „Rhein Zeitung“ and moderator for many years for the live broadcast „Münchner Runde“ on Bavarian television. Lohman lives as a free lance journalist and publicist with his family in Bonn.