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Dictatorship of Relativism

December 12, 2010

I am reading the newly released “Light of The World” a conversation between Peter Seewald and Pope Benedict XVI.  Seewald asks Pope Benedict penetrating questions, which took place in October 2010, spanning over a series of personal interviews.

My hope is to absorb as much as I can from the encounter, as Pope Benedict responds as a witness of faith, so I may incorporate them in my life as a Catholic man and use the knowledge to help those around me.

I am very elated so far into the reading. I am currently on Chapter 5 “The Dictatorship of Relativism”. Pope Benedict’s reply to Seewald’s question of the urgency to address the danger of relativism:

It is obvious that the concept of truth has become suspect. Of course it is correct that is has been much abused. Intolerance and cruelty have occurred in the name of truth. To that extent people are afraid when someone says, “This is the truth”, or even “I have the truth.” We never have it; at best it has us. No one will dispute that one must be careful and cautious in claiming the truth. But simply to dismiss it as unattainable is really destructive.

A large proportion of contemporary philosophies, in fact, consist of saying that man is not capable of truth. But viewed in that way, man would not be capable of ethical values, either. Then he would have no standards. Then he would only have to consider how he arranged things reasonably for himself, and then at any rate the opinion of the majority would be the only criterion that counted. History, however, has sufficiently demonstrated how destructive majorities can be, for instance, in systems such as Nazism and Marxism, all of which also stood against truth in particular.

More quotes will be forthcoming as I highlight, underline, and comment in the margins, gems that I find! I’m trying to be cautious by keeping all writing utensils away from my fingers [I have failed miserably] lest I mark everything since I find all Pope Benedict XVI thoughts very enlightening.

I will write a review once I finish “Light of The World” and perhaps will inspire me to write a series of essays/personal thoughts.


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