Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Relative Confession

I was thinking earlier today about a conversation I had with a friend in high school. I described to him what I thought was the ultimate goal of intellectual pursuit: to align one's personal conception of reality as closely as possible with cosmic Truth. I understood that we, as humans, are inevitably bound to our limited perspectives, so we are forever faced with the challenge of pinning down that elusive Truth.

I find that I have been endorsing relativism a lot lately, and I feel like I need to make clear why that is. The reasons are simple. First, that is how I understand the world. When I consider difficult problems--moral, theological, and otherwise--I find that I think that way. Secondly, that is the direction that our culture is heading, so it is something that the church has come to terms with. If Christianity wants to be vital well into the 21st century, it has to learn to speak the same vocabulary as the people it wants to reach. It's not that I consider relativism to be superior to or more valuable than other frameworks for theology--it's that we need to learn how to situate ourselves within relativism in order to speak coherently to our culture.

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