Believing something to be the truth does not mean it is true.
In a relativistic age we are told that one thing may be true for me, but something else is true for you. There’s no underlying truth. Different individuals and cultures all have their own beliefs – so just respect them all. The problem is that some of these beliefs are wrong: they bear no relation to the real world. Not just “true for me,” but deluded. Sure – we should respect a deluded person; but we don’t have to give respect to his delusion.
William Gairdner writes, “Ordinary people believed the sun went round the earth for centuries until the opposite fact was proven. We should not say that ‘sun-around-earth’ and ‘earth-around-sun’ opinions were both relative until one of them was knocked out by a proof and then suddenly the ‘relativity’ disappeared. For the fact is one of the beliefs was always wrong, but its believers didn’t know it.” (The Book of Absolutes, p.34).
It is often hard to find a truth. It took centuries to discover that the earth was going around the sun, and it will still take centuries and lots of as-yet undeveloped skills to understand further truths that remain hidden behind our current misconceptions. It would be foolish to claim that in our present state we are the proud possessors of the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But the fact that we do not fully know the truth does not mean that the truth does not exist. While people believed that the sun revolved around the earth, earth stuck to the certainty of its course without being unsettled by our uncertainty.
Certainly different perspectives can be respected. But relativism has gone mad when it grants each perspective equal validity. Some beliefs are not true for me or you; they are simply untrue. Even if you or I believe they are true. As deluded as believing that I am the centre of the universe and that the sun revolves around me. Come to think of it, is that not the root of relativism? I can believe whatever I want and everybody else has to respect me and revolve around my foibles. This is insanity: being out of touch with the real reality that is really out there in God’s creation.
As Nebuchadnezzar experienced, “I looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshipped the Most High” (Dan 4:34). Sanity is getting in touch with Reality – the universe and God who are really out there; not getting in touch with my inner thoughts and feelings.