The indoctrination of relativism


Now, I'm not going to go with the usual drumbeat of the media and how ideas of relativism have proliferated on our screens - all screens. Rather, I'm going to rant speak about the indoctrination of the whole idea of relativism.


In one of my earliest posts, The Rationale of Moral Studies (which was written some four years ago), I spoke about how lame our grade/high-school Moral Studies syllabus actually is. It doesn't do much to promote morality.

Today again, two years after I had to sit for my compulsory subjects in college - namely Malaysian Studies and Moral Studies, I speak about Moral Studies.

Now, Moral Studies seemed to be sort of a welcome change from the lameness that we had to put up with back in our high school years. Issues that were not addressed, including capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, disputes, divorce, custody and lots of things that are pretty much closely related to today's society were brought up in the class. We learned a lot from people with different schools of thought : Kantian ethics, utilitarianism, teleology, deontology, you name it, we had it all. We also revisited the teachings of all the faiths in Malaysia.

However, I felt disturbed back then. I didn't know why. I was indeed relieved that the Moral Studies class was conducted in English, unlike in high school. Yet, this is not the type of information you'd wanna show to your mom, let alone to your kids.

Utilitarianism, teleology and deontology were the three moral theories that were actually given emphasis in the syllabus, and that was as bright as day when I looked through the Moral Studies papers and saw how many people actually used these theories. Almost the entire class was swayed into doing it. And so was I.

In class, I tried wherever possible, with my moderately weak knowledge and grip on my faith, to be a minister to others. Where there were debates on capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia and other things, I tried my level best to stick to what I believed in, even if sometimes I ran out of words to explain why. Where we talked about the institution of marriage, I boldly proclaimed that marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman, and that divorce would only mean we are separating what God has joined. I championed reconciliation. I often felt disturbed from these disputes. But where someone would stand up for the truth, I made sure to give applause. Even if the person ended up using what verged towards profanity. But what was disheartening was that quite a number in the class were swayed by relativism.

Relativism is a direct contrast to unconditional love. *takes a deep breath*

"We kill our young in the womb just so that we can live free and easy. It's the lesser of two evils." Âllo, the greater of two evils is killing, regardless of whether we live free and easy or not. Also,  if we really love like we say we do, then we would willingly raise a child through a union of marriage. Not simply because we want to.

And this also opens the way for something along the lines of "We can turn off life support for our parents, since they're brain-dead." Just because someone has a disability, be it physical, mental or emotional, temporary or permanent, doesn't mean that he's any less than a person. Euthanasia and abortion are reminiscent of Hitler's Third Reich in that 1) an entire subgroup of humans beings is wiped out, 2) people who are considered "less than people" are wiped out too. There is no pre-personal or post-personal existence of a human being.

"In-vitro fertilisation is the way to go." Ugh, trust me, you wouldn't wanna live in a situation where the kid doesn't know who his father is, and revolts because of that. That only spells the instant breakdown of familial love.

"Sex is just something you do ; have fun and be safe." NO. Sex is sacred, just as the entire human existence is. It is an act of love between a man and a woman. When successful, it gives offspring. It's a beautiful thing, an intimate thing, which should not be overplayed by the media and relativists to make us look like nothing than mere animals.

"We're feminists, we have the right to kill offspring in our wombs." Âllo ! Did anyone even note that this notion was created by irresponsible men who wish to avoid taking care of the child ? Sure, the guy would convince the girl that she's a feminist, and on the pretext of exercising her rights, she goes to the abortion clinic. And whilst the guy goes away stock-free, the girl sits down and ponders upon what would've been had the child been alive, as well as the many birthdays the child would've had. Real feminism does not kill.

"Save the animals ! Go veg !" Well, if you've read Roald Dahl's The Sound Machine (and I'm pretty sure Dahl wrote this), he imagined a machine that can pick up the sounds of plants screeching in pain when they are cut. If this is true, and if plants can feel pain, so can the animals. And just because life can feel pain, are you going to cut off all your plants and vegetables and survive on... synthetic material ? Ultimately, all that we get comes from plants and animals. It all depends on how wisely we use them. I was veggie from my childhood years simply because I hated meat... but I learned to like it back when I was in National Service.

"What you believe is religious thought and should be confined to your four walls." Well, if that's the case, it contradicts the very essence of our declarations of rights : the freedom of speech. If what I say is going to be called hate speech by you guys, and if you guys speak like haters, shouldn't I be calling your speech hate speech ?!!!

"The cell blocks are gonna be overpopulated. He killed, he might as well die." For all you know, he could be innocent, but lost against a bunch of good lawyers who managed to render him speechless. The fight in any court, even a criminal court, in an adversarial system like in the UK, like in the US, like even here in MY, is one where the judge sits back and compares the better lawyer. I'm not saying that all cases are judged unjustly, no. A handful of cases are judged in this way, but imagine the precious lives wasted because of this. For those who are truly proven guilty, who are we to take another life, even if it's sanctioned ? In MY, we kill drug traffickers. And sometimes, even those who don't even know they had drugs with them are sent to the gallows. I lament on this whole idea of capital punishment and if I have to cite someone who really championed the abolition of the death penalty, it's gotta be Robert Badinter. His passionate statements led to the abolition of the death penalty in France (note that she's one of the last few nations to have abolished the death penalty in Europe). And not to mention that I actually listened to the excerpt ! Also, a life is a life. During the life of Jesus Christ, the Pharisees wanted to stone a woman whom they caught in the act of adultery. Jesus simply drew a line in the sand and said, "Whichever of you who hasn't ever committed a sin shall cast the first stone." Technically, we all know that Christ did not sin. But he didn't cast the first stone. All he said was "Go, and sin no more." Capital punishment is nothing but vengeance disguised as law, and those who try to abolish it are sometimes seen to be enemies of the state.

And worse : it has now crept into our law syllabus. What I saw in the case of Re A was relativism played out for all the world to see. It's UNSIGHTLY. Full stop. Rights groups have been swayed by relativism. The entire thing that we're learning is nothing but hypocrisy, and there needs to be a compassionate bunch of people who stand up against this.

But it's true that whenever people like me fight for what is the truth, we're seen to be enemies of the state. We're persecuted for that very "reason". If not, we're silenced by the people around us, in particular, the people with power. Given that our newspaper reports contain much falsehood, chances are that we'd never know the struggles and the life of an innocent being. But the Lord notices this happening all the time, and I'm pretty sure that as we fight for the many different causes in the world, a few people are being silenced right now for standing up for the truth.

The dictatorship of relativism begins with the disregard of human life in all its forms, as well as the suppression of freedom of speech. Once indoctrinated into our society, we seem to be nothing but puppets. I am aware that a silent majority is very much against this so-called "doctrine", but where the drumbeat of relativism echoes, we're silenced. The ugly head of relativism has been contained by Malaysians, in that we're ever vigilant not to let it go free, but it's slowly creeping into our society. The Moral Studies syllabus in private colleges is only evidence of this.

I'm sure there are people among you readers who want to go against this. I'm sure there are among you who desire to march to the beat of a different drum. From the bottom of my heart, this has been my desire. I want to do everything, say everything, think everything in unconditional love, and that oftentimes means "putting myself in the front line for others". I'm truly blessed when I think of the friends who have noticed this love in me. But quite a lot of people don't realise this. Regardless, I'm not just gonna sit there and do nothing if someone pushes me back. I'm armed with a drum, a pair of sticks and a voice. I want to touch hearts, touch lives. I'm going to fight back.


Joshua at: July 21, 2010 at 12:07 AM said...

Hehehe... I was just playing a game called "The Witcher", just having a conversation with an NPC, when he said this (in the picture)--which humorously reminded me of this post. :P :)

troisnyx* at: July 21, 2010 at 3:00 AM said...

*reads* Bahahahahahah, true. :D

Indeed, that's the biggest blight in our already broken road.

Theresa at: July 22, 2010 at 12:35 PM said...

"Relativism is a direct contrast to unconditional love."

"The dictatorship of relativism begins with the disregard of human life in all its forms, as well as the suppression of freedom of speech."

While the passion you have is admirable, the arguments which you muster are faulty at best. This isn't what relativism means. You have associated a myriad of issues with it, while ignoring the fact that relativism is not a single concrete ideology. Perhaps you don't mean to imply that relativism endorses all those issues above, but the way you've set out this passage inclines me to thinking so.

In particular, you haven't specified exactly what kind of relativism you're speaking about. Do you speak of the idea that what we believe about truth and morals is influenced by our cultural and social background? That there are no absolutes? That our cognitive biases prevent us from ever arriving at an objective observation? Relativism is a philosophical, epistemological and/or moral view, which can refer to all those and others. The concept that all ideas have some merit and deserve to be heard is relativistic, as is the idea of subjective beauty. By not specifying which you mean, you not only weaken your argument, but focus it on issues that are only tangential at best.

Even if we confine it only to moral relativism, this is a broad spectrum of ideas. I suspect you mean the common misconception of relativism: that is, all views are equally valid, no matter what. There are indeed branches of relativism which assume this, but it is no more accurate to assume that all or even a majority of relativists endorse this than it is to say that all absolutists believe that their views are utterly correct for everyone, and that a particular action (say, theft) is always immoral, and always to the same degree. Both views do exist, but they are in the minority. Largely, they are used in strawmen arguments.

There are many things that can be said against relativism: the idea that "everything is subjective" being used to escape the need to support a position, the degradation of scientific truth, and the confusion of "fact" with "opinion". I would certainly like to see a dissertation on those ideas, and have read a number of them. What this is, though, is not a coherent attack on relativism, but a number of current issues that you feel strongly about, weakly stringed together with a conception of relativism I can hardly fathom.

Let me be clear: my objection is not to your position as a moral absolutist. My objection is to this poorly constructed argument which villainises relativism without giving reasons, nor proper links, nor even an explanation of what you're attacking.


troisnyx* at: July 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM said...

I thank you.

Now, what I was writing was a general rant on society's adoption of the doctrine. And you know what happens when the doctrine is practised in this way. Point being, if everything were right, there'd be no need for principles and structure to govern us in our already lawless society.

Do the majority of people who uphold this doctrine in politics actually provide links or arguments ? In fact, no.

As much as my posts are a string of... ideas which actually lead nowhere (deadlock), it only goes to show that 1) this entire doctrine is going to a deadlock, 2) I need to perfect my essay-writing. Pronto. :P

Post a Comment