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  #1  
Old Apr 29, '05, 5:49 am
norbert norbert is offline
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Default What is "Relativism"?

I'm no theologian or philosopher, and I want someone to explain what "relativism" really is, and why it is such a crime. Specifically what I do not understand is how certain issues like contraception can be deemed "against natural law." Where is this natural law? Where is it specifically written in nature that it's wrong to use condoms, for instance? It isn't written anywhere. Issues like artificial birth control didn't even exist 50+ years ago, and to claim that using condoms is a grave wrong is, I think, someone's interpretation of "natural law." I'm no theologian, again, but couldn't a good theologian reasonably interpret natural law in such a way that condoms may be acceptable?

And what about conscience and "natural law?" What should be the outcome what conscience conflicts with "natural law" (or someone's interpretation of it)? God gave me a conscience which for me exists as my most reliable moral compass. My conscience has me wanting to help the homeless downtown, and considering adopting a needy child with my wife in the future, and it makes me sympathize strongly with the suffering of those with AIDS in Africa, for instance - to the point that I think that whatever "grave wrong" would be perpetrated by the use of condoms would surely be outweighed by their ability to prevent deadly disease. If that's "relativist" thinking, then call me a proud relativist.
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  #2  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:10 am
Mickey Mickey is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
I'm no theologian or philosopher, and I want someone to explain what "relativism" really is, and why it is such a crime. Specifically what I do not understand is how certain issues like contraception can be deemed "against natural law." Where is this natural law? Where is it specifically written in nature that it's wrong to use condoms, for instance? It isn't written anywhere. Issues like artificial birth control didn't even exist 50+ years ago, and to claim that using condoms is a grave wrong is, I think, someone's interpretation of "natural law." I'm no theologian, again, but couldn't a good theologian reasonably interpret natural law in such a way that condoms may be acceptable?

And what about conscience and "natural law?" What should be the outcome what conscience conflicts with "natural law" (or someone's interpretation of it)? God gave me a conscience which for me exists as my most reliable moral compass. My conscience has me wanting to help the homeless downtown, and considering adopting a needy child with my wife in the future, and it makes me sympathize strongly with the suffering of those with AIDS in Africa, for instance - to the point that I think that whatever "grave wrong" would be perpetrated by the use of condoms would surely be outweighed by their ability to prevent deadly disease. If that's "relativist" thinking, then call me a proud relativist.
Simply put, relativism means that if it is true for you, then it is the truth.

Contraception was condemned by all of Christianity until the 1930 Lamberth conference (anglicans).

The sacred union of a husband and wife can produce a child. The husband and wife are cooperating with God to create life. When something is used to block this process, the married couple is in essence saying, "We are not ready for children, we know better than God". Contraception puts up a wall between man and God.

Contraception has been around much longer than 50 years. But perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I can comment on this. God Bless.
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  #3  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:13 am
Dredgemate Dredgemate is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
I'm no theologian or philosopher, and I want someone to explain what "relativism" really is, and why it is such a crime. Specifically what I do not understand is how certain issues like contraception can be deemed "against natural law." Where is this natural law? Where is it specifically written in nature that it's wrong to use condoms, for instance? It isn't written anywhere. Issues like artificial birth control didn't even exist 50+ years ago, and to claim that using condoms is a grave wrong is, I think, someone's interpretation of "natural law." I'm no theologian, again, but couldn't a good theologian reasonably interpret natural law in such a way that condoms may be acceptable?

And what about conscience and "natural law?" What should be the outcome what conscience conflicts with "natural law" (or someone's interpretation of it)? God gave me a conscience which for me exists as my most reliable moral compass. My conscience has me wanting to help the homeless downtown, and considering adopting a needy child with my wife in the future, and it makes me sympathize strongly with the suffering of those with AIDS in Africa, for instance - to the point that I think that whatever "grave wrong" would be perpetrated by the use of condoms would surely be outweighed by their ability to prevent deadly disease. If that's "relativist" thinking, then call me a proud relativist.
The problem with relativism is it refuses to recognize an absolute truth. Without recognition of an absolute truth, you can argue that since nobody is really right, nobody must be wrong either. Take it from there and you have chaos.

I submit that most of those people suffering from AIDS are victims of moral relativism, "sex outside of marriage doesn't hurt anyone, so go ahead enjoy yourself". Had these people been exposed to the absolute truth, they would have known it was wrong, thus preventing the spread of AIDS.
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  #4  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:16 am
Gilbert Keith Gilbert Keith is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Mickey


Simply put, relativism means that if it is true for you, then it is the truth.


Well said. An example: When two homosexuals want to get married and call it natural, we know it is not. Never in the history of the world until modern times has it been called natural by anyone. Ergo, the people who call it natural are only the people who decide they want it to be true for themselves, regardless of what the whole world thinks and what nature has decreed.



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  #5  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:20 am
deb1 deb1 is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Hello,


It is certainly admirable for you to care about all such subjects. As far as condomns for AIDs. I don't know why, but the media does not talk about Uguanda. Uguanda is, I might be wrong, the only African country that has turned its Aids Crisis around. It did this by preaching abstinence(I can't spell) Here is an interesting website.

www.catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/se0074.html
Uguanda dropped its cases of aids in Pregnant women from 21.2% to 6.2%! Zimbabwa, a country passing out condoms, is not dropping its Aids cases.

As far as your other question, relativism is deciding what is right or wrong according to your situation. Therefore, the holocaust can't be condemned because there is no ultimate right or wrong, just everyone's personal opinion based on their individual circumstances. Can you imagine how chaotic that would be?
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  #6  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:24 am
Tom Tom is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
Specifically what I do not understand is how certain issues like contraception can be deemed "against natural law." Where is this natural law?
Natural law is fairly easy to identify. In regards to contraception, what is the natural consequence and biological purpose of sexual intercourse? Procreation. Anything which attempts to change this purpose, such as contraception does, goes against “natural law”.
In addition to natural law there is Gods’ law: Genesis 1:22 - And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 9:1 - And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
God nowhere says: “go , have sex like animals, make it a sport, use each other for your own sexual pleasures with no consequence”.
God also shows His displeasure to using contraception:
Genesis 38:9 - And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.
Here God punishes a person (by death) for disobeying the law given to man to “be fruitful and multiply”
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  #7  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:33 am
Tom Tom is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
Where is it specifically written in nature that it's wrong to use condoms, for instance?
The CCC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
AIDS in Africa, for instance - to the point that I think that whatever "grave wrong" would be perpetrated by the use of condoms would surely be outweighed by their ability to prevent deadly disease. If that's "relativist" thinking, then call me a proud relativist.
Aids cases have actually increased in countries spreading condoms not decreased. The only areas that have shown dramatic decrease are those teaching abstinence.
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  #8  
Old Apr 29, '05, 6:39 am
bengeorge bengeorge is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

You asked about natural law.


Natural law would be this:

"If you walk on thin ice, it will crack and you will fall in."

Is the ice's cracking a punishment? No, it is a consequence.

A positive law, meaning that it is positied, would be, "If you walk on the thin ice, we will write you a ticket and you will pay a fine."

You seem to think that the Church is saying: "Don't use condoms, or we'll write you a ticket." That's not it. The Church is saying:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Catechism, par 2366

Fecundity is a gift, an end of marriage, for conjugal love naturally tends to be fruitful. A child does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfillment. So the Church, which "is on the side of life"teaches that "each and every marriage act must remain open 'per se' to the transmission of life." "This particular doctrine, expounded on numerous occasions by the Magisterium, is based on the inseparable connection, established by God, which man on his own initiative may not break, between the unitive significance and the procreative significance which are both inherent to the marriage act."
Contraception blocks the primary purpose of sex, to procreate.
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  #9  
Old Apr 29, '05, 7:33 am
AlanFromWichita AlanFromWichita is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Momentarily side stepping the contraceptive issue and natural law discussion, I have been meaning to ask some of the same questions about "relativism."

I think the word is overused and disagree with the notion that relativism is somehow bad while "absolutism" or whatever is good.

In fact, Jesus constantly "adapted" rules which were being applied too rigorously by the Pharisees. He worked on the Sabbath, which was considered an absolute breach. He cleverly endorsed the absolute penalty of stoning the adultress in such a way as to condemn it. Sometimes he interpreted laws more strictly than their literal meaning, such as equating being angry with one's brother rather than killing.

That's because Jesus is not about giving us a million rules. We already had that before Jesus came. While many seem to think that Jesus just added onto the rules, what He really did was come so that we may be adopted into His family, transform our hearts, be healed, and then naturally follow His call as sheep to a shepherd. Therefore we quit worrying about the rules because we no longer desire anything unlawful. This is how He fulfilled the rules, not by demanding strict adherence to a static, written code.

If a static, written code could possibly guide us through all of our individual situations, then the Holy Spirit would be somewhat redundant.

Alan
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  #10  
Old Apr 29, '05, 8:24 am
norbert norbert is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanFromWichita
Momentarily side stepping the contraceptive issue and natural law discussion, I have been meaning to ask some of the same questions about "relativism."

I think the word is overused and disagree with the notion that relativism is somehow bad while "absolutism" or whatever is good.

In fact, Jesus constantly "adapted" rules which were being applied too rigorously by the Pharisees. He worked on the Sabbath, which was considered an absolute breach. He cleverly endorsed the absolute penalty of stoning the adultress in such a way as to condemn it. Sometimes he interpreted laws more strictly than their literal meaning, such as equating being angry with one's brother rather than killing.

That's because Jesus is not about giving us a million rules. We already had that before Jesus came. While many seem to think that Jesus just added onto the rules, what He really did was come so that we may be adopted into His family, transform our hearts, be healed, and then naturally follow His call as sheep to a shepherd. Therefore we quit worrying about the rules because we no longer desire anything unlawful. This is how He fulfilled the rules, not by demanding strict adherence to a static, written code.

If a static, written code could possibly guide us through all of our individual situations, then the Holy Spirit would be somewhat redundant.

Alan
That's very well said, and echoes much of what I have been thinking lately. "Relativism" is considered an evil scourge by many, but I think unyielding, unthinking absolutism is not necessarily better. We all have the ability to develop a well-informed conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit, and I think this has to play some role - an important role - in our own moral decision-making in life.
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  #11  
Old Apr 29, '05, 9:27 am
Maranatha Maranatha is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanFromWichita
Momentarily side stepping the contraceptive issue and natural law discussion, I have been meaning to ask some of the same questions about "relativism."

I think the word is overused and disagree with the notion that relativism is somehow bad while "absolutism" or whatever is good.

In fact, Jesus constantly "adapted" rules which were being applied too rigorously by the Pharisees. He worked on the Sabbath, which was considered an absolute breach. He cleverly endorsed the absolute penalty of stoning the adultress in such a way as to condemn it. Sometimes he interpreted laws more strictly than their literal meaning, such as equating being angry with one's brother rather than killing.

That's because Jesus is not about giving us a million rules. We already had that before Jesus came. While many seem to think that Jesus just added onto the rules, what He really did was come so that we may be adopted into His family, transform our hearts, be healed, and then naturally follow His call as sheep to a shepherd. Therefore we quit worrying about the rules because we no longer desire anything unlawful. This is how He fulfilled the rules, not by demanding strict adherence to a static, written code.

If a static, written code could possibly guide us through all of our individual situations, then the Holy Spirit would be somewhat redundant.

Alan
The Pharisees were obeying the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law and they were not repentant.

The adulteress disobeyed the letter of the law but was repentant and was given forgiveness.

In neither instance and on no occasion did Christ say we can disobey his new covenant which is a stricter moral code than the old law. He also never said that we can interpret the law so that we can do what we want and still say we are obeying Him.
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  #12  
Old Apr 29, '05, 9:44 am
chadwilliams chadwilliams is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanFromWichita
While many seem to think that Jesus just added onto the rules, what He really did was come so that we may be adopted into His family, transform our hearts, be healed, and then naturally follow His call as sheep to a shepherd. Therefore we quit worrying about the rules because we no longer desire anything unlawful.
Do you honestly no longer desire anything unlawful?
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Old Apr 29, '05, 9:45 am
chadwilliams chadwilliams is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
That's very well said, and echoes much of what I have been thinking lately. "Relativism" is considered an evil scourge by many, but I think unyielding, unthinking absolutism is not necessarily better. We all have the ability to develop a well-informed conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit, and I think this has to play some role - an important role - in our own moral decision-making in life.
But if your "well informed conscience" tells you that contraception is ok, or abortion is ok, or homosexual "marriage" is ok, then that ain't the Holy Spirit telling you that.
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  #14  
Old Apr 29, '05, 9:48 am
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
That's very well said, and echoes much of what I have been thinking lately. "Relativism" is considered an evil scourge by many, but I think unyielding, unthinking absolutism is not necessarily better. We all have the ability to develop a well-informed conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit, and I think this has to play some role - an important role - in our own moral decision-making in life.
Read this - LIBERALISM IS A SIN
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"A man of conscience, is one who never acquires tolerance, well- being, success, public standing, and approval on the part of prevailing opinion, at the expense of truth."
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Old Apr 29, '05, 9:50 am
Mickey Mickey is offline
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Default Re: "Relativism"

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
That's very well said, and echoes much of what I have been thinking lately. "Relativism" is considered an evil scourge by many, but I think unyielding, unthinking absolutism is not necessarily better. We all have the ability to develop a well-informed conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit, and I think this has to play some role - an important role - in our own moral decision-making in life.
As a Catholic, obedience to the Church (the bride of Christ), is how you will develop a well-informed conscience.
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