Relativism, unfoundedly dogmatic, views religions as unjustified beliefs. Because it does so in an unfounded manner, it cannot demonstrate it, hence it simply "believes it." Relativism "believes" that religions are unfounded, thus they cannot be compared. In other words, it believes that religions have nothing to do with reason and truth. Then all religions are dogmatic, in the trivial sense of the word, i.e. in the sense of "accepted without evidence" (just like relativism, but relativism does not seem to be aware of that).
In the current relativistic vulgate, in fact, the word dogma generically and superficially means "something that is accepted without evidence and thus in a dogmatic manner." Just as philosophical relativism deprives religion of a true public role, the corresponding religious relativism deprives religion from playing its public role. As we will see better later, the public role of reason and that of religious faith either stand together or die.
Only when man has lost sight of the ability to know what is good and what is true, then all offers of salvation become the same. If we do not have any standards of right living, then all religions are the same. If the standards for right living are relativized, man remains trapped inside religions.
It is also clear that the political power that seeks to organize society according to reason not only cannot relate to all religions in the same way, but should also cherish its obligations to the true religion. Of course, if the political power is based on the relativistic democracy, it will not feel any obligation in this regard. Relativism, in fact, can only express a procedural public reason. When the truth is replaced by the decision of the majority, culture is set against truth. The relativistic presumption leads to the tearing up of people's spiritual roots and the destruction of the network of social relationships.
Relativism regards all religions as equivalent. It does so because it is incapable of engaging in a public critique of religions because for relativism common good cannot be rationally identified. By doing so, it precludes the possibility for the true religion to religiously support what men do to attain the common good. Here, too, we see a negative spiral. Relativistic democracy produces religious relativism and this strengthens ethical and social relativism.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Against Dogmatic Relativism
Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi has written a little essay on Public Reason and the Truth of Christianity (FR Mirror) examining relativism, secularism, and religion. A few choice excerpts: