Relativism in Scriptural Ontology

by Pastor George D. Cutler


Grace Gospel Ministry


Relativism generally expresses what some elements or aspects of secular experiences or cultures are relative to, i.e., as such are dependent on other ingredients or features of physicality. This vision expels tenuous and arduous statements of relativism, e.g., "What is true for you is not for me." "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." "You cannot judge other cultures by your standards." Secular relativism’s declaration is that humans grasp and evaluate their beliefs and behaviors best in terms of historical and cultural contexts. Channels of relativisms in various degrees of controversy endeavor to codify so-termed “truth relativism,” i.e., the doctrine that there are no absolute truths. Certainty is always provisioned in some distinct frames of reference, i.e., some specific language or culture. In scriptural review, this avowal is self-defeating if such is averred that all truth is subject to some physical frame of reference, as the statements are subject to reference frames and thus are not consistent themselves.  

Another widespread contentious expression is “moral relativism,” which also references mental poles of humans in its vision of orientation. For example, what was derived was quoted by Plato: "The way things appear to me, in that way they exist for me; and the way things appears to you, in that way they exist for you." Consequently, in this manner, however one sees a thing projects what is actually true….. for such one. If another sees things differently, then that is true ……….. for a different beholder. There is no separate or objective truth apart from how each individual happens to see things. According to this cogitation, there is no such thing as falsehood. Such flawed ethics are credulously embraced by many of God’s people but these professions are meaningless, since their authenticities elicit persuasion based on bias beliefs. Peculiarly, this deduces that what others believe may be valid but regardless, “conventional wisdom” is what qualifies and secures dependable doctrine as “consensual truth” by the majority interprets better than what is otherwise believed. 

Authentically reliable doctrines invoke the criteria of consistency and stability. Exploring arguments for allying relativism summons the "Turning the Tables" or “turning around" contention, which exclaims: "If the way things appear to me, in that way they exist for me, and the way things appears to you, in that way they exist for you, then it appears to me that your whole doctrine is false." In these indicia, since any or everything appearing may be true, it follows that such may be equally incorrect. Physical relativism thus has the strange illogical faculty of not being able to deny the truth of its own accord. Indeed, if there is no falsehood, then none can ever avert the opposite in contradiction that any doctrine is false. Hence, projections and assertions cannot possibly express in manners that there is no falsehood as though the denial of what is false is typical of relativism. If relativism simply denotes that whatever one believes is non-deniable in itself, then there is no superior persuasion to reflect other than what is predominately believed.  

So then, why bother even addressing relativism if it cannot compare opposing views? if a unique view “must be better" yet doesn't make any sense either, what is it better than? Better than opposing views? In the depraved arena of human mental poles there are no superbly ascending opposing views except by secular relativism's own principles. Even when identifiably opposing views juxtapose contradiction and falsehood seriously, what is "better" supposed to mean? Proposing that something is "better" than another always involves some claim about what is actually good, desirable, worthy, beneficial, etc. What is "better" in an authentic sense presorts production more of what is worthy, beneficial, etc. However, no such claims suffice unless their views authoritatively express what is actually true. If the claims about value are not indicative of such in the truest vein, then it makes no difference what the claims are, as they cannot exclude opposites as inferior. In other words, what is good and desirable in strictly secular/physical views don’t qualify the genuineness of such. 

It is characteristic of all forms of secular/physical relativisms that their desired wish/goal is the selfness preservation of the very principles that seek restriction in others. Hence, such relativisms basically display illusions as true doctrines, which misconstrue what will logically exclude its opposites (absolutism or objectivism) but no doctrines can logically exclude their opposites. Such seeks to avail for itself the very thing (objectivity) that it denies exists. Spiritually this is deemed "self-referential inconsistency," which translates the secular/physical sphere as inconsistent when considered of what actually constructs thereof. More familiarly in physicality, this is termed wanting to "have your cake and eat it too." Those who advocate such relativism, encounter problems recognizing how their doctrines are appropriate in numerous dishonest, intellectual and/or political arenas. 

I Corinthians 2:13 states, “ …..which things we also speak not in taught words of human wisdom but in doctrines of the spirit; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” This verse references the opposite sphere of what is derived from and taught in words of human wisdom (Galatians 1:11). In stark contrast, as it is conveyed by the strong adversative conjunction avll (ahll) rendered “but” genuine relativism’s messages identify in sphere of the teachings in spirituality. In other words, the spirit of God definitively teaches through the Grace Gospel, this reliably and relevantly proclaimed particularity (I Thessalonians 2:13). In this comprehension, this entails sugkri,nontej (seeg·kree·non·dehs) rendered “comparing,” combining and compounding teachings of the Spirit within spiritual entities.

The relativisms in philosophies of humanisms hardily fail in respect of unreliability for referencing relevancy poles. The strongest logical response avers that nothing could logically refer to itself (termed the "Theory of Logical Types"). Such abides in defeat itself, since in its presentations, one can hardly avoid referencing something in the act of stating what can't be done or what doesn't make any sense in consistency. This necessitates merely considering the word "relativism" as to whether such refers to relevancy itself. In acknowledging that it does, this is more than a word that modern relativists in philosophy endeavor to pursue. The Grace Covenant’s declarations are consistently "better" rather than merely "true." This exudes authentically spiritual pragmatism, which is more concerned with what is true, as opposed to just what humanisms construe that "works."

“Relativism in Scriptural Ontology” focuses in on the contrast between human history’s struggles with taxing issues and complexities that are instantly contradicted by secular actions. Although secularity is void of scripturally notary value, it is in practice; perfectly content with extolling its hierarchies of factual superiority. Contentions vacillate between what they tenably (reasonably, plausibly) value in materialized appraisal and their rebuff of what is specifically viewed in “creationism.” This type “pragmatism” is in point of fact a “subjective relativism” with its strategy of ultimately construing that a thing “is better if it works." In this flawed view, a thing "works" indeed as it induces what the majority wants! Yet why do so many of humankind want what is merely mirrored rather than actualized? These espoused delusions postpone valid consideration of what is true, in the sense of what is actualized rather than what they interpret as good, desirable, worthy, beneficial, commendable, praiseworthy, laudable, admirable, valuable, precious, creditable, etc.

These despondences (pessimisms) are diversions; challenging and obscuring scriptural examinations of assumptions formulizing most views of physicality. It is easier to believe what one believes even if such is never called into questions of inconsistencies. This is just as true of material academia and philosophies, as it is for everything else. Naturally theologized “education” does not necessarily or correctly translate as to what are ones awareness but merely what one does and the implications of what one believes. That is why the precept, "know yourself" is just as irrelevant now as ever. Relativism turns up in many guises. Human cognitive relativisms distinguish secularized knowledge, i.e., moral relativism in matters of select subjective value. Relativism's authentic principle is one of cognitive relativism in its sole actualization in eternality, which exposes the conspicuous paradoxes of humanism. These engrossed models of “cognitive historicism” convey the initiative that truth is relative to given moments in history and actually modifies as history does.

This cogitation derives from the misconceptions that absolute truth resides solely in the “happenings” of those who think that all categories of intellectual structure, i.e., religion, philosophy, ethics, etc., are ascertained through etiological (cause) systems. This mode of production of historical periods’ claim to truth about anything in any area could then be dismissed once its source basis is identifiably determined. Labeling something in “ideology" dismisses addressing its actualized contents, however, an absolute truth at its definitive basis in society permanently establishes what it communicates. Modes of what secularly notarize the miserable and terrible failures documented in absorbing the historical modules comply with the relativisms poled in Humanisms. The conjecture that there is an "end" or absolute purpose in human history unfortunately creates the typical relativistic paradox that one’s own theory of history forms the basis for one’s claim of truth for all of history.

However, the center or standard of relativism must be securely established in reliability of what constitutes it anchor. In this light, the Word of God exhibits the sole reliable entity entrusted as consistently fail safe. Another humanistic cognitive relativism imbues linguistic relativism, which avers that truth is formed in the grammatical and semantic systems of particular languages. This idea in philosophy derives from and is instilled in the so-viewed independencies of linguistics in the secular “relativities’’ theories. In these views, the world really has no structure of its own except that structure, which is entirely imposed by the configurations of human languages. Thus, learning different languages denotes in effect creating a world where absolutely everything is completely assessed as the prevailing consensus dictates. Hence, different world views compete as the rules established in particular languages. As the majority “plays" this "language game," they indulge in secular/physical "forms of life." Linguistics’ theories have mostly superseded as the views that are "universals," i.e., structures common to languages. This conveys that even as languages prevail in etching secular constructs, such are never creative in reliability of reality beyond universally constant constraints.

Philosophically, humanist’s poles are still regarded by many as the greatest relevancies but such creature theories cannot avoid stumbling into obvious breach in self-referential inconsistencies. Scripturally, the manifestly reflective nature of linguistics clearly doesn’t comprise the actualized structure of the world as supposedly created by the structure in human language. Hebrews 11:3 states, “by faith we understand the worlds to have been prepared by a Saying of God, in regard to the things seen not having come out of things appearing.” This verse conveys enlightened knowledge of the unseen as configured by or through God’s r`h,mati (ree·mah·tee) rendered “Saying,” (Decree), having formulated solely everything that exists. Other than what is scripturally declared, all theories about the nature of such are merely “creations” in linguistics’ principles, whereof the world has an independent structure wherein whatever they say is just as true as whatever exists. Thus, like every kind of relativism, no theory can protect itself from its own contradiction nor can it avoid giving the impression of claiming for itself the very quality, objective and truth that it denies exists apart from its mental pole.

God’s Decree formulates the sole principle of cognitive relativism, which chief interest imbues its consequences in eternal matters of value. Genuine relativism applies that truth of right and wrong, good and evil and the beautiful and the horrid is solely relative in constructs of Divine Moral Relativism. This is inherently the more plausible presumption than a general cognitive relativism, as individuals disagree much more about matters of value than they do about matters in fact. In consideration about more abstract things like justice and goodness, it is much more difficult even to chart what such is about than it is when chronicling things that are physical. Materialized entities point to and assume that others perceive them but it invokes a much tougher task pointing to and perceiving what is non-materialized. Nevertheless, moral relativism suffers from the same kinds of self-referential paradoxes as cognitive relativism, even when such is divorced from cognitive relativism and placed in a world of so-called “objective factual truths.” This transpires in most modular forms, whether moral relativism or cultural relativism, such arduously can’t be averred, as there is no valid differentiation of them in Scriptural Ontology.     

Cultural relativism solely exhibits subjective reservations, as such convey truth autonomously in human cultures, which vary from each other and often embody very different values. The essentiality factor of truth requisites uncompromised consistency because its assessment is never couched and fixated between alternatives. Any entities that can alter or eliminate congruity, especially if such is geared in conformance formatively of debate eliminate its vital essence of single sourced derivation. Whatever is codified through consensuses simply reflect human attitudes as descendent from its conclusions, which simply confirms the views of depraved humanism. Any culture instituted in its inherent system of values can never claim access to any absolute beyond that of their confines. Consequently, anthropologies construe cultural relativisms whose dignities are merely proceeds from philosophical theories and scientific discoveries. Resolute avowals in relation to cultural relativisms are associated in experiential evidence, which is acceptably regarded as the strongest support for the impetus of positioning such as principled relativisms.  

There are several things wrong with this. Fundamentally, secular/physical "encounters" in and of themselves proves to be profoundly flawed. However, in spite of what should connote unreliability and dubiousness in erratic ill functionalizes; prideful credulity yet prevails in dominant perceptions. The veracity of entities singularly exudes exactness in unfailingly coursing their foundation of causality. Such unswervingly rebuff the deceptive formats that failed to perceive actuality. Highly prized secular panaceas ascertain very little contributory-wise as such surreptitiously characterize merely illusionary underlying. That is anomalous in inner recesses of ascertaining that such does not imbue a reliable sense or kind of causality. It also evolves that human cultures are rather far from being on-going. Anthropologically, the world uncompromisingly has not come to grips with this as such impinges on the prestige and weight of its ideological conclusions. What thus adjourn are the entire anthropologist notions and cultural attitudes in varying divisions rather than the complimentary and more importantly, approving course of consistency.

It might elicit secular potentiality to rationalize physical diversities of data but the peak of such episodes simply displays how ideological presuppositions fail to perceive actuality. Such physically eccentric aspects exhibit that they are actually "scientific evidence," i.e., untrustworthy fixations and sweeping conclusions drawn from human speculations. If an anthropological study is going to prove a fundamental point about the nature of value, such must be aligned in actuality, as opposed to what are provisionally misconstrued. What is presumptuously viewed, supported and codified by physical evidence imbue diverse cultures. Immense dilemmas induced by “logics” of specula "discoveries" extract secular cultures exhibiting very different values, thus disapprovingly dismantling cultural relativisms. Humanly acceptable premises aver that all values are relative to a particular culture, i.e., absolutism that endorses postulations that values are relative to particular cultural universals.

Consequently, what is believed in consensus encompasses viewing verities initiated by the entire categories of values, although if there is not even one that is common to all, then “cultural relativisms” are refuted in their inconsistencies. Such humanized entities generate subjections for empirical studies although much more grueling ones. But the profoundest problem encountered in cultural relativism is its anthropological vindication, whether considered as to what it is supposed to be or such purports to solidify. As a methodological principle for anthropology, cultural relativism is unobjectionable, as it is basically supposed to describe what a culture intimates. It isn't purposely maintained in expending judgment of cultures or trying to modify them, as such reversions expand to other postures. The bottom line imbues cultural relativism‘s intrusion into the essence of abiding actuality with contingencies for alterations and/or adjustments due to the whims its instabilities. 

Colossians 1:17 states “and He is before all things and all things is (are) held together by Him.” In regards to relativity, the Greek phrase kai. auvto,j evstin pro. pa,ntwn (keh ahf·tos ehs·teen pro pahn·don) literally rendered “and He is before each, every of all (things), conveys the prominence of Who constitutes such distinction. The pronoun and verb auvto,j evstin pro. pa,ntwn (ahf·tos ehs·teen pro pahn·don) literally rendered “He, Himself is before all else” certifies this actuality and reality. The Greek preposition pro. (pro) is literally rendered “before” denoting above, beyond, in advance of and prior to, which unequivocally declares Christ as the standard and focal point of each and every created entity. Hence, “He” exudes the eternal existence all, everything in and by His Word. Here, “before” denotes initiation in vestibule of the foundation or beginning of the universe. In this comprehension, the literally context of this verse is collaborated in the concluding phrase kai. ta. pa,nta evn auvtw/| sune,sthken (keh tah pahn·dah ehn ahf·to seen·ehs·teek·ehn) literally rendered “and all things having been, are held together by Him.” The perfect tense of the verb sune,sthken (seen·ehs·teek·ehn) literally rendered “having been and are held” is indicative of all things completed and existing in Christ as their origination and source. Accordingly, each instance of relativism is referenced in the sphere of having been divinely decreed ………… germinating in “Him!”           

Anthropologist definitions don’t codify actuality in descriptions instituted by secular/physical culture relativisms. All scientific knowledge flowing in conformity to such yet in contrast to scriptural enlightens are patently flawed. Human cultures’ diverse valuations incessantly detaches them from genuine actuality, even in their age alluring impressions of easygoing ways as better in avocation of depraved cultures. It develops that secular cultures’ notoriously clashing customs definitively eliminate any synchronizations or validations of primarily sourcing.    Evolutions of what results in their curious positions or prior claims about what generate beneficial kinds of cultures are valueless, regardless of their origination. Such simply embrace what is humanly misconstrued in a “better world.” More importantly, cultural relativisms are merely what anthropologists conjugally elevate from methodological principles for scientific disciplines into moral codes that are presumed to apply to everyone. Since all values are specific to a given culture, then none scripturally has the right to impose values from their culture on to any other culture or to tell any culture that their traditional values should be different …….. other than what is in conformity to deified relativism!

Moral principles induce familiar problems of “self-referential inconsistencies” as the moral values from which moral cultures” yield “cultural relativisms.” What is lacking in these analyses is that such flawed beliefs result in illusions of cultural moral abilities.  Such tenets foist how cultural relativisms actually impose novel values on traditional cultures. The antithesis to this unreliable nominal, of course, is that cultural relativism is initially the value of anthropologists or cultural relativists in human generalities, where there is no inherency of such. Even virtually, no traditional cultures are capacitated to exert anything except a delusive sense of cultural relativism. Primitive mirages exude their inhabitants within associated designations in relegations of resembling sentiments.  It is from these subjections to human relativity objects that various enemies of actuality yield what is freely used to translate comparably acceptable terms. Traditional cultures tend to regard themselves as the insignia of "reality" or "beings" while everything else is obtuse, imperceptive, dull-witted, naive, etc.

The result of this credulity is that such establish moral principles in respect to the values of popularly dominating cultures. When instituted strictly on the basis for their individual principles, such disrespect values of other cultures, with exceptions. These mindsets of actuality are what allows and in varied rationales isn't too difficult to legitimize a list of exceptions, i.e., slavery, human sacrifices, torture and other mutilations in criminalities. These are specified as those things that are necessity principles ingrained in organized sociality. The tasks of instilling justifiable moral relativisms are clearly more difficult and sobering than when contemplated through impulses of cultural relativisms. On the other hand, inherent tenants of such attempt their preservations by denying the genuineness of moral principles scripture-wise. Of course, as this is so, such doesn’t actually concern entities other than human epicenters in cultural relativisms. In these views, there isn't anything wrong with one culture conquering and/or subjecting another, especially since that has actually been the traditional practice of countless cultures during the ages.

Consequently, scripturally subjective principles of cultural relativisms rarely enter public debate except as moral principles to forbid altering or even criticizing some or all values of specifically domineering cultures. As a practical matter then, it is meaningless to try to subject cultural relativisms scripturally by erasing their misaligned “moral contents” that are usually claimed in their imaginary “innate righteousness.” Cognitive relativisms, of course, will always imply some kind of moral or cultural relativism. Historicism always contends through linguistic relativisms, which actually presents fastidious terminologies for relative systems of value, e.g., "forms of life." The problematic part of these illusions exhibits in simply inquiry of their own "forms of life," which are different but not actually better or worse than others. Only an ideologue, infatuated with human relativisms would answer: "we represent the genuinely moral principles of life ……. of course, nothing is wrong with us defeating and killing when such benefits our purpose and welfare.”

Other than through deified scopes of the Scriptures, there isn’t any authoritative moral right to endeavor to complain about striving to impede others in terms of their own "form of life," which are not aligned with other cognitive relativisms. On the other hand, those who talk about "forms of life" and even might answer "yes" to this type query, inevitably craft the same repositioning by averring that their "form of life" is "better" than others, as the entire cycle of humanly cultured paradoxes commences again. Romans 3:9 states, “What then? Are we better? Not at all, for we have previously charged that both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are all under sin.” Here, the Greek phrase ti, ou=n (tee oon) rendered “what then,” conveys conclusively in query: proeco,meqa (pro·ehkh·om·ehth·ah) rendered “are we better,” which is derived from pro (pro) and eco (ehkh·o)and utilized solely in this verse. Ploddingly, the question is specifically, are the Jews any better in or of themselves better than the Greeks (Gentiles)?

Generally, the query is: are any cultures in and/or of themselves held before, preferred or superior to others in the sense of their representations of moral relativity? The terse answer is ouv pa,ntwj (oo pahn·dos) rendered “not at all,” as this phrase is also stated in I Corinthians 5:10’s conveyance: “not at all,” not altogether or not entirely. Hence, the emphatic avowal is Ioudai,ouj te kai. {Ellhnaj pa,ntaj u`fV a`marti,an ei=nai (Ee·oo·theh·oos tee keh Ehl·leen·ahs pahn·dahs eeph ahm·ahr·tee·ahn ee·neh) rendered “both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are all under sin.” This statement confirms cultural relativisms as irrelevant, in that none can declare themselves as the pivotal basis of moral principles in and of their innate culturists’ establishments. In continuity of the posed issue, it is clear scripturally that none can avow their form and formats of existence as the standard and foundation from which such are assessed in valuations abode. Specifications of inane human culturists merely collaborate in domination of depravity’s insufficiencies.                 

Such predicaments induce recognition of the self-contradictory and self-defeating characters of human relativisms. Cultural relativisms solely exude thereby that there are no absolute and objective truths and values in origination other than what is singularly sourced according to scriptural revelations. Hence, secularized speculums don’t codify what subsistence imbues, how such exists or how such are actualized. Dependencies of “self-referential” simply affirm that not one iota of such illusionary cogitations result closer to providing answers to these questions. The burden of proof in human historical philosophies provides none of answers for any claims that might be made in matters of fact or value. Although such are misconstrued as genuinely authentic, the defects in theory are misunderstood and immediately entangled in cultural issues in a sense that can never be untangled aside from scriptural explications. Most philosophers would probably state that there has been progress in understanding all these issues but then the inconsistency is that they mostly could not agree about just in what the “progress” consists. The relativists still suppose that progress is to return to what humanized thoughts exhibit in “originalities.” Wherefore what they lack in spiritual intelligence discharge their necessity to face the awesome tasks of justifying or discovering the accurate character of being and valuing Relativism in Scriptural Ontology.