Religious relativism maintains that one religion can be true for one person or culture while untrue for another. Religious beliefs are seen as simply an accident of birth and are a product of historical happenstance and the argument goes that no single religious belief can be universally or objectively true. Moral relativism rejects any binding moral values for all maintaining that there is no objective ethical right and wrong and that morality is an individual or cultural matter.
Relativism is an assault on the truth but at the same time, it has its cultural implications. On the religious front, persuasion is prohibited and evangelism is seen as cramming your religion down someone’s throat. Sharing about Jesus gets people upset and evangelism implies that you believe that your news is true and you believe that your hearers should turn from their present way of life. Another implication “is to be exclusivistic is seen as arrogant.” The variations of religious beliefs in the world claiming to know something others don’t must be wrong-headed and erroneous. Another implication is that tolerance is the cardinal virtue implying that someone is wrong sounds terribly intolerant when tolerance popularity is defined as (being open or accepting of all ideas). For example, what homosexual activists call tolerance is an unconditional acceptance of their lifestyle as legitimate and right. A final implication of relativism perhaps best explains how disputes over truth can begin to feel like a war. “Absent the possibility of truth, power rules the day.” i.e.; once the truth is whatever we say it is, asserting power over others is a natural next step.
On the surface level, relativism sounds relaxed and easy-going. When we think through its implications and apply them rigorously to life, we see the pitfalls of being so accommodative.
Copan, Paul. True for You But Not for Me. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2009.