7. Relativism is Unloving

So far, we’ve seen a number of reasons why relativism is intellectually suspicious. That is, we’ve seen reasons to doubt the truth of relativism. However, in addition to its logical problems, we should also consider the moral problems with relativism.

If you’re anything like me, you hate most of what religion has done in the name of God. Religion has led to some of the most horrific acts of violence and cruelty in human history. Let’s consider a few examples.

The Klu Klux Klan: This is a Christian terrorist group that believes that African Americans are under the curse of God (supposedly according to Genesis 9:24-27).

Hindu suttee: In this religious ritual, a Hindu woman voluntarily –or by coercion –throws herself on the burning funeral pyre of her husband! This practice began, because the goddess Sati burned herself at the humiliation of her husband Shiva.

Jonestown: In 1978, cult leader Jim Jones led a group to commit mass suicide and murder. This led to the death of 918 people. Besides 9/11, the Jonestown massacre was the worst loss of civilian life in United States history.

Heaven’s Gate: In 1997, cult leader Marshall Applewhite led 39 followers to kill themselves, convincing them that they would catch a spaceship that was travelling behind Hale-Bopp comet.

Are you prepared to bite the bullet and claim that these practices are equally valid expressions of spirituality? If, like me, you cringe at this thought, then why would you ever be a relativist? Let me put this more practically. Imagine if one of your family members was going to join a revived version of the Jonestown cult, would you let them, telling them that this was an equally valid form of spirituality? Or, would you do everything you could to talk them out of it?

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