“Their answer to the great question is different from ours … Using logic and reason isn’t enough. You have to be a dick to everyone who doesn’t think like you.” –South Park

I’ve been dealing a lot with thoughts along the lines of “no idea is better than any other idea” or “who is to say what you believe is right?” I’d like to give the proponents of these feel good, squishy intellectualism the benefit of the doubt. I have plenty of people in my world dancing around the idea of moral relativism, but, I’m sorry, I believe there are bad ideas out there. And, wait for it, some people are just plain wrong.

However, since apparently no idea is any better than any other idea, I’m declaring that my ideas are better than your ideas. In fact, your ideas suck. Since I’ve come to your side of things, and I have to live with my worldview, let’s see what this means.

Nothing is ever good or evil, right or wrong. I mean, who is to say what is right or what is wrong. Sure, some people might say that this is an unliveable way to go through life. Life, in this paradigm, has no meaning. We have no standard to measure it by, nothing to judge whether things are good or bad, it’s just … a life. A morally neutral, morally ambiguous, ultimately directionless life. If that is what existence has been boiled down for you, more power to you and your worldview. But your ideas suck.

Okay, this point of view is giving me a headache.

My position is that relativity only works in a universe of constants and absolutes, so by extrapolation, that there are absolute truths. I may be guilty of a kind of tent pole thinking, but I believe you have to have certain tent poles in your life and thought, to act as moorings. Saying that 2+2=4 because you don’t want to invalidate those people who may hold that 2+2=5 is, well, silly. There’s a big difference in saying I respect your right to have that position and I accept that position.

If what these folks are getting at is simply for people to be more tolerant, graceful, or thoughtful, that’s one thing. They are probably reacting to dogma, fundamentalism, or absolutism. However, the answer is not relativism.

***And now a brief excuses into why postmodernism sometimes sucks***

I’m already on record saying that I’m uncomfortable with the postmodernist (read: hypermodernist) tendency to make all truth an individual truth, but truth (note the small ‘t’) does have perspective. And if you don’t think truth changes over time or within a given cultural context, once again, let’s look back at the theology of slavery.

However, there does seem to be this distrust of truth (and metanarratives) within postmodernism; replaced with a kind of radical subjectivism wherein truth or right is as you define it. It’s all a perspective of our own moral compass with no external objective reality. It’s individualism at its extreme – Descartes with a fresh veneer (“I think and that’s all I know”). Moreover, it smacks of merely being the opposite pendulum swing from the modern extreme of being a radical object in a world without subject.

This “truth according to me” position is also a withdrawal from community and opposes how we learn in the first place. Everything we know we know together. We’re born into family. We attend schools. Instead, it’s like we want an “all ME” trying to figure out the world without regard to any sense of tradition.

***Excursus over. Which isn’t to say that postmodernism isn’t a valid viewpoint. But sometimes it sucks***

True searchers of truth are rare. Be passionately engaged in the subjective aspects of life, walking by faith, living by faith. Live life on the edge of risk, trusting God in the darkness and silence. Many say that they want to grow, learn, search, and wrestle, when mostly what they want is to affirm their biases and justify their bad decisions. They’re trying to argue that you can’t tell who’s right or who’s wrong–a sudden and selective myopia–and I see that as an intellectually vacuous position. Which is a long way of saying that their ideas suck.

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