Written by: Christopher Sernaque
Question: What Are the Consequences of Relativistic Atheism?
Dear Brother A,
“Come now, and let us reason together”, is the call of Isaiah 1:18. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy make it very clear that, “From the very beginning of the great controversy in heaven it has been Satan’s purpose to overthrow the law of God.” (GC 582.1, Revelation 12:7-9,12,17; Isaiah 14:13-13-Psalm 103:20, Deuteronomy 17:18, Psalm 94:20, Matthew 4:9, Revelation 13:15-17). Satan has attempted to overthrow the law of God through many avenues and let us now turn to his chief tactic, namely placing the traditions and philosophy of men over the Word of God. (Matthew 15:9) We have inspired counsel from the Apostle Paul on the subject of philosophy:
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”-Colossians 2:8
This warning can be rightly applied to the philosophy of relativism.
Relativism is the philosophy that teaches that there are no moral absolutes. This poisonous, and highly dangerous philosophy is easily refuted by using elementary principles of logical reasoning. A fundamental principle of logic is the fact that contradictions are self-refuting. To provide a basic example, the equation “2+2” cannot equal both 4 and 5, as the statements, “2+2=4” and “2+2=5” are contradictory as both equate the sum of two and two to two different numbers. If it can be shown that relativism is a contradictory philosophy, then it can be shown that relativism is a self-refuting philosophy. Below is a logical refutation of the philosophy of relativism:
1. A contradiction is necessarily false, or a contradiction is self-refuting.
2. For relativism to be true, several contradictory scenarios would arise, namely: a. For relativism to be true it would have to be absolute that there are no absolutes. b. It would have to be true that that there is no truth. c. It would have to be certain that we cannot know anything for certain. d. It would have to be self-evident that nothing is self-evident.
3. As seen in the above examples, relativism is self-referentially incoherent.
4. Because relativism is a contradictory philosophy, it is a self-refuting philosophy.
To return to Paul’s warning about the philosophies of men, we must beware of the philosophy of the French Revolution, or the philosophy of atheism. (Not to say that atheism originated with the French Revolution, but that atheism was thoroughly established in France during the Revolution.)
Atheism is the mother philosophy of relativism, as shown by the logical chain of reasoning below:
1. If atheism is true, then there is no God.
2. If there is no God, then there is no absolute moral authority.
3. If there are no absolute moral standards, then the concepts of right and wrong are subject to opinion, whether it be the opinion of an individual or the opinion of a society of individuals.
4. Therefore, if atheism is true, then relativism, or the belief that there are no moral absolutes is true.
5. Thus, if atheism is true there can be no absolute moral standards, and everyone can do what is “right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
Atheists commonly like to straw-man this argument, claiming that the argument states that “atheists are not good people.” This is a misrepresentation of what the argument is stating. The claim is not that atheists cannot abide by good principles, or that atheists are not good people, but that if atheism is true there are no moral absolutes. In other words, atheists that abide by some form of absolute moral code, are acting inconsistent with their own worldview, as the atheistic worldview cannot logically account for the existence of morality. Theists have rightly utilized a form of argument for God’s existence from Absolute Moral Laws, but this present author would like to refute atheism using the moral law argument. Below are logical chains of reasoning that refute the relativistic claims of atheism:
1. If atheism were true, then absolute moral values and duties would not exist.
2. Relativism, or the belief that there are no moral absolutes, is a self-refuting philosophy.
3. Therefore, absolute moral values and duties exist.
4. Thus, atheism is false.
1. If atheism were true, then absolute moral values and duties would not exist. ie. relativism would be true.
2. Evil would be the departure from absolute moral values and duties.
3. Evil is undeniably present in our world.
4. Therefore, absolute moral values and duties exist.
If absolute moral values and duties exist, then atheism cannot be true, as it leads to the conclusion that absolute moral values and duties do not exist. (This style of reasoning is called a “Reduction ad absurdum” argument, or where one demonstrates that a statement is false because it leads to an illogical conclusion, or contradiction.)
Therefore, atheism cannot be true.
There are many other dangerous philosophies out in the world, and these philosophies lead to contradictory conclusions. How true it is that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy understanding.”-Proverbs 9:10
Post Script: This post script will contain links for additional resources and more useful information.
For those interested in proof of God’s existence, please see the article, “The Existence of Free-Will Proves the Existence of God” and the first episode of Genesis Under a Microscope:
For those interested in more information on the Spirit of Prophesy, please see: http://ellenwhitedefend.com/
For those interested on the French Revolution and its relationship to atheism please see: http://www.great-controversy.org/Online-Eng-GC/gc15.htm