A Clear Lense
“So when someone says there is no truth, if you apply the claim to itself what should you say? IS THAT TRUE?!?” -Frank Turek
It’s been a few months since I graced, or burdened, the front page of ACL with a post regarding practical application of our Christian worldview. So with a fresh deadline approaching I quickly mouse-clicked to my most assured source of material; Facebook. In the last couple weeks I’ve noticed the image below making the rounds on social media.
Sharers of this image are quick to use it as a kind of ‘proof’ of the “true for you but not true for me” mantra that moral relativism often repeats. It’s basically a simplified version of the parable of the five blind men describing an elephant; a parable which originated in the India subcontinent and popular among many eastern religions such as Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In short the parable, and this image, teach that all our perspectives are different, and we can each be viewing or describing an aspect of the truth that might be different than an aspect of the same truth that someone else is viewing or describing.
The image itself is an accurate depiction of pieces, or shadows, of THE truth. The problem arises when people use this image to attempt to prove that moral relativism is true. They believe having the shadows of a part of the truth are the same as having the truth fully, and when another view on the truth comes along that contradicts theirs they quickly adopt this “true for you but not for me” defense. I’m not completely familiar with the “Coffee Party Movement”, and there’s enough wiggle room in the original post that they may not be championing relativism, but many comments in the thread suggested there are many who believe that two things can be contradictory and still both be true simply because it’s “true for me”. This is where relativism leads, and this is where relativism fails before even getting out of the starting blocks.
You cannot hold the view that’s it’s absolutely true that there is no objective truth. Or proclaim “that may be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” Do you see how that claim is logically invalid? The foundation for defeating the claim is built into the claim itself. Someone could simply say…
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