Absolute Truth vs. Relative Truth - Women in Apologetics (2023)

By Amy Davison

what is true This age-old question continues to be asked today, which is why we, as Christian apologists, must answer it...

In this month's edition of the WIA newsletter, we're going “back to basics” to reiterate some basic excuses. I don't know about you, but I'm always grateful when teachers have a review day. I always felt it brought something up that I missed on the first run, or updated an issue that started to come back into mental focus.

Today, the subject of truth is one that we must keep "ready for mission."[1]This is not just because the truth is under heavy attack in our culture, but because when we don't have the truth as a basis (or encourage our friends and family to have it), we have all the other apologetic issues and the gospel itself becomes one. problem. matter of preference. So let's take a few minutes and look at absolute versus relative truth.

absolute truth

Absolute truths are statements or beliefs that are true for all people, at all times and in all situations, and cannot be changed. These can come in moral and neutral forms such as: it's wrong to torment/kill/steal kittens for fun, 4 × 6 = 24, laws of logic, there are no square circles, the nature of God and this gospel are all absolutely true.

(Video) Is It True That There Is No Truth?

You will find that each of these[2]they were discovered, not invented, which means they are recognizable unlike the skeptic. There are such truths"independent of the knower and his consciousness", meaning that the truth

"The earth was before man was" was true even when there was no one to imagine it. They also have the necessary quality of being grounded in an omnipotent, omniscient, and uncaused First Cause. Why? Because they exist with or without humans. These truths come from somewhere, or more specifically from someone. Although absolute truth and objective truth are often used interchangeably, we must be careful to emphasize an important difference that arises when it comes to moral values.

For example, let's take the statement:lying is wrong.

At first glance, this appears to be absolutely true. If you're a parent, this is probably how you've shared it with your kids, but let's put it in context. Let's say the only thing standing between a Jewish family in hiding and Auschwitz is their ability to forge an identity so they can escape. Is it still true that lying is absolutely wrong?

The answer is obviously no. Hence the important distinction: if there was a lieabsolutewrong, you would be forced to extradite the family even if they were killed.

These are the moral truthsaim, rather than absolutes, as they allow for varied applications based on context rather than our preferences.[3]This may sound like we are falling into relativism, but saying that an objective truth is relative in application is different from the philosophical stance of relativism. It just means that they can be applied differently depending on the circumstances, not that they are based on our subjective opinions (subjectivism).[4]


(Video) Is Truth Relative?

If you've been watching the news lately, you've no doubt noticed that the postmodern movement is opposed to absolute truth:relativism. Relativism is the idea that truth is a socially or culturally agreed upon set of beliefs. This means that statements like "honor killings are okay" or "putting dogs down a flight of stairs is wrong" are just constructs of one's culture or society or, to narrow the scope a bit, are a matter of opinion, i.e. , subjectivism.[5]

No belief is more right or wrong than another, and trying to argue as such is seen as repressive or bigoted.[6]By denying the existence of objective truths, postmoderns offered the equivalent of "everybody's a winner!" in the form of a cautious "Everybody's right!"[7]That's partly why it's so attractive.

If truth is subjective, then each person is his own lawgiver, judge, and jury. Every culture, every practice, every belief plays on the same subjective playing field. There is no longer an objective standard because we no longer have an objective legislator, and without an objective standard, as the philosopher A.J. Ayer says, "Sheer public opinion...an emotional preference."

That sounds like the times we live in, doesn't it? We are already seeing the consequences of this belief in our nation, and they are not pretty.

Fortunately, this view collapses because it does not adhere to the absolute rules of logic, which it claims do not exist. It cannot be "absolutely" true that my truth and the exact opposite of my truth are equally true, because that violates the law of inconsistency. Furthermore, not all truth can be subjective, because this statement is not itself subjective! Perhaps one of the most ironic implications of relativism is that if people really believed in it, they couldn't argue that everyone should see things that way. Once they did that, they would take the position that relativism is objectively better than what the other person believes. Thus, relativism is self-defeating.[8]

Why should we defend the existence of truth

Apologetics is a God-honoring tool to provide arguments and evidence in defense of the gospel,[9]but what is the point if the Gospel is not less true than any other belief? Evangelistic ministries to Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and unbelievers would be unnecessary. Presentations for Intelligent Design would be useless, evidence for the Resurrection unnecessary, unplanned corroboration among the books of the Bible superfluous. Apologetics would be totally irrelevant outside of a personal desire to reaffirm one's beliefs.

(Video) Frank Turek - Session 1 - Does Truth Exist?

Sadly, many Christians have unwittingly allowed relativism and subjectivism to invade their spiritual lives. I saw this firsthand during an apology class for high school students at a Christian private school I was enrolled in.

The class was given a worksheet explaining how they were going to share the gospel with an unbelieving friend. As the class progressed, I was surprised to find that each group had no idea how to answer the question, "I mean, Christianity is true for me, but it might not be true for them, and that's inside." right?" One girl asked another.

Ten minutes later, the class was still debating what seemed like a simple question. My heart broke for her.[10]Therefore, we must understand and resist the undermining of the truth. Without it we will have difficulty conveying the majesty of the gospel and will be unable to affirm the divinity of Christ.[11]for the person who says that christianity is only truefor you.[12]

[1]A common expression used throughout my military career to mean ready to enlist at any time.

[2]And all unlisted.

[3]This is what distinguishes objectivity from subjectivism. Subjectivism is based on personal preferences and opinions, while objectivity is based on the existence of an objective standard.

[4] https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/objective-or-absolute-moral-values/The absolute is opposed to the relative, while the objective is opposed to the subjective.

(Video) What Is Truth?: The Classic Collection with R.C. Sproul

[5]subjectivists of

[6]Did you notice the fatal flaw in that line of reasoning? We'll get to that soon.

[7]Though they rarely practice what they preach unless you agree with them.

[8]Indeed, even arguing that objective truth exists is not seen as an act of aggression or an attempt at repression. It got so bad that apologist Abdu Murray argues that we have transitioned from a postmodern culture to a post-truth culture, where feelings are the basis of truth, not what exists in reality.

[9]Jesus argued with the Pharisees about the truth of Scripture, He provided evidence of His deity through miracles, and Paul and the disciples used this evidence to defend the rationality of the gospel.

[10]I ended up canceling the remainder of the class so we could cover this same subject. They were so eager to understand this topic better. Desiring the truth is probably a better description.

[11]João 14:16.

(Video) Albert Mohler: Postmodernism and Society

[12]This subject is beautifully addressed in the new book Mama Bear Apologetics. Make sure you get your hands on one!

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by individuals associated with this service or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the views of Women in Apologetics, Inc.


What is the difference between absolute truth and relative truth? ›

Relative truth is conditional, subjective, varying and contradictory, so it's capable of changing over time. In contrast, absolute truth is consistent and eternal; its meaning is universal and never changing.

What is the biblical perspective of absolute truth? ›

Where does absolute truth come from and who gives truth? Paul says every truthful thing in the universe is found in Christ as the Word, Wisdom and Knowledge belonging to God Himself. When we neglect him, we have no real truth and nothing ultimately makes sense.

What is an example of absolute and relative truth? ›

If Kenna had said, “the bird is beautiful!” and Nathan had replied, “the bird is ugly!” they could have both told the truth, because beauty is a matter of opinion; it's a relative truth. The existence of absolute truth is a necessary foundation of Christianity.

What is an example of absolute truth? ›

Absolute truth is something that is true at all times and in all places. It is something that is always true no matter what the circumstances. It is a fact that cannot be changed. For example, there are no round squares.

What is the difference between absolute and relative? ›

Absolute change refers to the simple difference in the indicator over two periods in time, i.e. Relative change expresses the absolute change as a percentage of the value of the indicator in the earlier period, i.e.

What are the three absolute truths? ›

Throughout history, many religious, ideological, political, and even scientific truths have been shown to have no basis in fact.
These are three of those absolute truths:
  • We all will die. ...
  • We're all created from the union of a man and a woman. ...
  • We are all born from a woman.
Jan 15, 2017

Do Christians believe in absolute moral truth? ›

Despite 72% of Evangelicals identifying God as the source of truth, 46% reject absolute moral truth while 48% accept it. Similarly, 69% of born-again Christians point to God as the source of truth, but only 43% embrace a standard of absolute moral truth.

Is based on the doctrine there is no absolute truth? ›

Alethic relativism (also factual relativism) is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cultural relativism).

Who said there is no absolute truth? ›

Friedrich Nietzsche Quotes

There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths.

What does truth being relative mean? ›

Declaring that something is true for one person, but not for another, is to claim that the truth is relative to or dependent on the subject being considered.

Is God absolute or relative? ›

God is absolute insofar as he is eternal, cause, activity, creator; he is relative insofar as he is temporal, effect, passive (having potentiality in his nature), and affected by the world.

What is the first absolute truth? ›

This moral compass is built around four absolute truths. The first absolute truth is that there is a loving Father in Heaven, and His Son, Jesus Christ, is our personal Savior—a more certain truth than any worldly fact.

What did Socrates believe about absolute truth? ›

Socrates did not have his own definition of truth, he only believed in questioning what others believed as truth. He believed that genuine knowledge came from discovering universal definitions of the key concepts, such as virtue, piety, good and evil, governing life.

Is truth absolute or relative justify? ›

According to the relativist, there is no absolute or objective truth; truth is relative and subjective. For example, a relativist can't consistently claim that 2 + 2 = 4 because the answer 4 is neither right nor wrong. It just depends. Your math teacher likes 4, but you like 6; so for you, the answer is 6.

Who is the Supreme absolute truth? ›

The Upanisads and other Vedic scriptures clearly state that Brahman is the Absolute Truth and the possessor and source of multifarious energies. In the Bhagavad-gita (14.27) this Brahman is said to be the bodily effulgence of Krsna (brahmano hi prastisthaham).

Why is absolute better than relative? ›

Relative is always in proportion to a whole. Absolute is the total of all existence. 2. Relative is dependent while absolute is independent.

Are morals relative or absolute? ›

The truth or falsity of moral judgments, or their justification, is not absolute or universal, but is relative to the traditions, convictions, or practices of a group of persons.

What is the difference between relative and absolute path give examples? ›

An absolute path is defined as specifying the location of a file or directory from the root directory(/). In other words,we can say that an absolute path is a complete path from start of actual file system from / directory. Relative path is defined as the path related to the present working directly(pwd).

What is relative truth vs absolute truth in Buddhism? ›

The relative or conventional explanation of reality is what we know and experience, while the ultimate or absolute truth is inexpressible, empty (sunya), and lies outside of conventional experience and language. The conventional truth about something is its dependence on conditions. The ultimate truth is its emptiness.

What is the meaning of truth is relative? ›

Declaring that something is true for one person, but not for another, is to claim that the truth is relative to or dependent on the subject being considered.

What are the two truths in Buddhism? ›

The Buddha's teaching of the Dharma is based on two truths: a truth of worldly convention and an ultimate truth. Those who do not understand the distinction drawn between these two truths do not understand the Buddha's profound truth.

What is absolute truth according to Socrates? ›

Socrates made a clear distinction between true knowledge and opinion. Based upon his conviction about the immortality of the soul, Socrates defined true knowledge as eternal, unchanging, and absolute compared to opinions which are temporal, changing, and relative.


1. My Truth versus Your Truth| What is Absolute Truth?| What is relative Truth?| That Christian Fam
(That Christian Fam Channel)
2. Is truth relative?
(Faith from Evidence)
3. Relativism: The Worst Belief Ever, with Greg Koukl
(Alisa Childers)
4. The Power of Proper Thinking
(Alistair Begg)
5. The Question that Stops Christians in Their Tracks
(Stand to Reason)
6. Live and Let Live: Respecting Others' Beliefs
(Heaven & Healing Podcast)
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