“There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
"...Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”" (John 18:38)Many secularists, particularly post-moderns, have all but given up on the idea of justifying absolute truth, and thus find a home in Relativism. Like other epistemologies, Relativism takes many forms, but all share a common belief that there are no absolute truths. Everyone believes what is the case. Relativism is the ultimate result of other secular theories of knowledge like Empiricism, which cannot objectively experience the sense experiences of other people; Idealism, which cannot objectively ascertain the perception in the minds of other people; and Realism, which holds that knowledge is simply the result of impersonal material laws. Protagoras epitomizes the Relativistic worldview when he asserts that:
"Man is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not". (Protagoras in Plato's Theaetetus, 152a)Socrates countered Protagoras with what has been dubbed the “recoil arguments”, which shows the following problems with relativism.
1.) Relativism is self-defeating: The statement "there are no objective truths" cannot possibly be true.
2.) A relativist must acknowledge the equal validity of those who deny relativism. In other words, if everyone believes what is the case, then those who deny that everyone believes what is the case also believe what is the case. Clearly this violates the logical law of non-contradiction.
3.) Truth becomes meaningless, subject to the whims of each individual. Any truth claim becomes tantamount to shooting an arrow into a barn door and then painting the bull's eye around it. Such actions do not make one a skilled archer, but rather makes the shot meaningless.
Ultimately, no one truly lives according to the ideals of relativism. Relativism reduces all truth claims to mere belief, and really satisfies no one, including relativists. We all live our lives as if there were absolute truths, though secular worldviews either deny such truths, or show themselves unable to justify such truths.