Relativism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "relativism" (showing 1-30 of 112)
Robert Anton Wilson
“Is," "is," "is"—the idiocy of the word haunts me. If it were abolished, human thought might begin to make sense. I don't know what anything "is"; I only know how it seems to me at this moment.”
Robert Anton Wilson, Nature's God

Ravi Zacharias
“With no fact as a referent, what is normative is purely a matter of preference.”
Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“It's God that's worrying me. That's the only thing that's worrying me. What if He doesn't exist? What if Rakitin's right -that it's an idea made up by men? Then, if He doesn't exist, man is the king of the earth, of the universe. Magnificent! Only how is he going to be good without God? That's the question. I always come back to that. Who is man going to love then? To whom will he be thankful? To whom will he sing the hymn? Rakitin laughs. Rakitin says that one can love humanity instead of God. Well, only an idiot can maintain that. I can't understand it. Life's easy for Rakitin. 'You'd better think about the extension of civic rights, or of keeping down the price of meat. You will show your love for humanity more simply and directly by that, than by philosophy.' I answered him: 'Well, but you, without a God, are more likely to raise the price of meat if it suits you, and make a rouble on every penny.' He lost his temper. But after all, what is goodness? Answer that, Alyosha. Goodness is one thing with me and another with a Chinaman, so it's relative. Or isn't it? Is it not relative? A treacherous question! You won't laugh if I tell you it's kept me awake for two nights. I only wonder now how people can live and think nothing about it. Vanity!”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Richard M. Rorty
“Truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with.”
Richard M. Rorty

Herodotus
“If anyone, no matter who, were given the opportunity of choosing from amongst all the nations in the world the set of beliefs which he thought best, he would inevitably—after careful considerations of their relative merits—choose that of his own country. Everyone without exception believes his own native customs, and the religion he was brought up in, to be the best.”
Herodotus, The Histories

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Greatness depends on where you are coming from.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

Rebecca Manley Pippert
“If you say there is no such thing as morality in absolute terms, then child abuse is not evil, it just may not happen to be your thing.”
Rebecca Manley Pippert

Christopher Hitchens
“[T]he very multiculturalism and multiethnicity that brought Salman to the West, and that also made us richer by Hanif Kureishi, Nadeem Aslam, Vikram Seth, Monica Ali, and many others, is now one of the disguises for a uniculturalism, based on moral relativism and moral blackmail (in addition to some more obvious blackmail of the less moral sort) whereby the Enlightenment has been redefined as 'white' and 'oppressive,' mass illegal immigration threatens to spoil everything for everybody, and the figure of the free-floating transnational migrant has been deposed by the contorted face of the psychopathically religious international nihilist, praying for the day when his messianic demands will coincide with possession of an apocalyptic weapon. (These people are not called nihilists for nothing.) Of all of this we were warned, and Salman was the messenger. Mutato nomine et de te fabula narrator: Change only the name and this story is about you.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Jonathan Sacks
“We should challenge the relativism that tells us there is no right or wrong, when every instinct of our mind knows it is not so, and is a mere excuse to allow us to indulge in what we believe we can get away with. A world without values quickly becomes a world without value.”
Jonathan Sacks

Daniel C. Dennett
“I should emphasize this, to keep well-meaning but misguided multiculturalists at bay: the theoretical entities in which these tribal people frankly believe — the gods and other spirits — don't exist. These people are mistaken, and you know it as well as I do. It is possible for highly intelligent people to have a very useful but mistaken theory, and we don't have to pretend otherwise in order to show respect for these people and their ways.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon

Tom Robbins
“Whether a man is a criminal or a public servant is purely a matter of perspective.”
Tom Robbins, Another Roadside Attraction

G.K. Chesterton
“The modern habit of saying "This is my opinion, but I may be wrong" is entirely irrational. If I say that it may be wrong, I say that is not my opinion. The modern habit of saying "Every man has a different philosophy; this is my philosophy and it suits me" – the habit of saying this is mere weak-mindedness. A cosmic philosophy is not constructed to fit a man; a cosmic philosophy is constructed to fit a cosmos. A man can no more possess a private religion than he can possess a private sun and moon.”
G.K. Chesterton

Walter M. Miller Jr.
“You heard him say it? 'Pain's the only evil I know about.' You heard that?"
The monk nodded solemnly.
"And that society is the only thing that determines whether an act is wrong or not? That too?"
"Yes."
"Dearest God, how did those two heresies get back into the world after all this time? Hell has limited imaginations down there. 'The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

Paul Graham
“At every period of history, people have believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you risked ostracism or even violence by saying otherwise. If our own time were any different, that would be remarkable. As far as I can tell it isn't.”
Paul Graham

John Piper
“Relativism poses as humble by saying: “We are not smart enough to know what the truth is—or if there is any universal truth.” It sounds humble. But look carefully at what is happening. It’s like a servant saying: I am not smart enough to know which person here is my master—or if I even have a master. The result is that I don’t have a master and I can be my own master. That is in reality what happens to relativists: In claiming to be too lowly to know the truth, they exalt themselves as supreme arbiter of what they can think and do. This is not humility. This is the essence of pride.”
John Piper, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

Lesslie Newbigin
“The relativism which is not willing to speak about truth but only about ‘what is true for me’ is an evasion of the serious business of living. It is the mark of a tragic loss of nerve in our contemporary culture. It is a preliminary symptom of death.”
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

Jacques Maritain
“The sole philosophy open to those who doubt the possibility of truth is absolute silence -- even mental.”
Jacques Maritain, An Introduction to Philosophy

R.C. Sproul
“I do not want to drive across a bridge designed by an engineer who believed the numbers in structural stress models are relative truths.”
R.C. Sproul, Choosing My Religion

Michael Novak
“During the next hundred years, the question for those who love liberty is whether we can survive the most insidious and duplicitous attacks from within, from those who undermine the virtues of our people, doing in advance the work of the Father of Lies. “There is no such thing as truth,” they teach even the little ones. “Truth is bondage. Believe what seems right to you. There are as many truths as there are individuals. Follow your feelings. Do as you please. Get in touch with your self. Do what feels comfortable.” Those who speak in this way prepare the jails of the twenty-first century. They do the work of tyrants.”
Michael Novak

Sergei Lukyanenko
“How wonderful it would be if everything could always be as clear and simple as it used to be when you were twelve years old, or twenty years old. If there really were only two colors in the world: black and white. But even the most honest and ingenuous cop, raised on the resounding ideal of the stars and stripes, has to understand sooner or later that there's more than just Darkness and Light out on the streets. There are understandings, concessions, agreements. Informers, traps, provocations. Sooner or later the time comes when you have to betray your own side, plant bags of heroin in pockets, and beat people on the kidneys—carefully, so there are no marks.”
Sergei Lukyanenko, Night Watch

Roger Scruton
“A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is 'merely relative,' is asking you not to believe him. So don’t. Deconstruction deconstructs itself, and disappears up its own behind, leaving only a disembodied smile and a faint smell of sulphur.”
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy: An Introduction and Survey

Peter Kreeft
“It is reasonable to love the Absolute absolutely for the same reason it is reasonable to love the relative relatively.”
Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock

Robert Anton Wilson
“You know the difference between right and wrong,' he repeated finally. 'Man, why did you need Initiation—by the Golden Dawn, or by anybody else? You are a genius, a sage, a giant among men. You have solved the problem which philosophers have been debating since antiquity—the mystery about which no two nations or tribes have ever agreed, and no two men or women have ever agreed, and no intelligent person has ever agreed totally with himself from one day to the next. You know the difference between right and wrong. I am overawed. I swoon. I figuratively kiss your feet.”
Robert Anton Wilson, Masks of the Illuminati

Lev Grossman
“The idea of some kind of objectively constant, universal literary value is seductive. It feels real. It feels like a stone cold fact that In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust, is better than A Shore Thing, by Snooki. And it may be; Snooki definitely has more one-star reviews on Amazon. But if literary value is real, no one seems to be able to locate it or define it very well. We’re increasingly adrift in a grey void of aesthetic relativism.”
Lev Grossman

L.E. Modesitt Jr.
“The only absolute truth is change, and death is the only way to stop change. Life is a series of judgments on changing situations, and no ideal, no belief fits every solution. Yet humans need to believe in something beyond themselves. Perhaps all intelligences do. If we do not act on higher motivations, then we can justify any action, no matter how horrible, as necessary for our survival. We are endlessly caught between the need for high moral absolutes—which will fail enough that any absolute can be demonstrated as false—and our tendency for individual judgments to degenerate into self-gratifying and unethical narcissism. Trying to force absolutes on others results in death and destruction, yet failing to act beyond one's self also leads to death and destruction, generally a lot sooner.”
L.E. Modesitt Jr., The Parafaith War

G.K. Chesterton
“Whatever we may think of the merits of torturing children for pleasure, and no doubt there is much to be said on both sides, I am sure we all agree that it should be done with sterilized instruments.”
G.K. Chesterton

Zadie Smith
“But I cannot be worrying-worrying all the time about the truth. I have to worry about the truth that can be lived with. And that is the difference between losing your marbles drinking the salty sea, or swallowing the stuff from the streams. My Niece-of-Shame believes in the talking cure, eh?" says Alsana, with something of a grin. "Talk, talk, talk and it will be better. Be honest, slice open your heart and spread the red stuff around. But the past is made of more than words, dearie. We married old men, you see? These bumps"--Alsana pats them both --"they will always have daddy-long-legs for fathers. One leg in the present, one in the past. No talking will change this. Their roots will always be tangled. And roots get dug up. Just look in my garden - birds at the coriander every bloody day...”
Zadie Smith, White Teeth

“I do not have it in for relativism. In many respects I find it a fascinating, even attractive, alternative. It engenders epistemological humility, defeats an arrogant pomposity in belief, even promotes a sort of democratic ideal in matters of knowledge. Perhaps its most comforting feature is that it requires no hard work at all in the matter of justifying beliefs.”
David L. Wolfe, Epistemology: The Justification Of Belief

Frithjof Schuon
“Relativism reduces every element of absoluteness to relativity while making a completely illogical exception in favor of this reduction itself. Fundamentally it consists in propounding the claim that there is no truth as if this were truth or in declaring it to be absolutely true that there is nothing but the relatively true; one might just as well say that there is no language or write that there is no writing. In short, every idea is reduced to a relativity of some sort, whether psychological, historical, or social; but the assertion nullifies itself by the fact that it too presents itself as a psychological, historical, or social relativity. The assertion nullifies itself if it is true and by nullifying itself logically proves thereby that it is false; its initial absurdity lies in the implicit claim to be unique in escaping, as if by enchantment, from a relativity that is declared to be the only possibility.”
Frithjof Schuon, Logic and Transcendence

Eugène Ionesco
“Når det kommer til stykket, er jeg ikke sikker på om De har moralsk rett til å blande dem i saken. Dessuten tror jeg fremdeles ikke det er noen fare på ferde. Etter min mening er det absurd å gå fra konseptene fordi om noen mennesker har fått lyst til å skifte ham. Det får bli deres egen sak. Det står enhver fritt for.”
Eugène Ionesco, Rhinocéros

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