We are more relativistic and pluralistic in our culture today than we ever were; we have also never been more individualistic and centered on the self.
Is there a correlation?
The reason i ask this is because it is really something that I have never thought about: relativism’s connection to self-centeredness. The truth is that our general approach to life dictates how we will approach all the specifics.
In this case, our self-centered culture turns to a new way to view life – everyone has their own personal truth rather than all understanding one, unifying objective truth. Even if we discover ‘the truth’ in our culture, we dare not share it with anyone else because it might offend them, and put us in an uncomfortable position. Thus, personal comfort and convenience trumps our desire to share with others and correct them in their false thinking.
An example of this is our approach to talking about politics and religion. Regardless of the fact that these are some of the most important topics of life, these are the two topics that people say that they never talk about. Why not? If you have a reason that you believe the way you do, should you not be able to reasonably discuss these things with your peers?
If you perceive that you understand something that another person does not understand, isn’t a discussion of the issue the most caring and loving thing that you can do to this person? Yet, in the name of ‘love’ and ‘peace’ we avoid conversations of the most important issues of life.
It seems to me that there is much more than ‘love’ and ‘peace’ at stake here. Indeed it is love that is the issue, but it is not love of the other as much as it is a love of self that prevents us from talking. We love ourselves and our reputations too much to step out of our comfort zones and expose our inner lives and thoughts to the people around. After all, what will they think? What if I sound stupid? What if they prove me wrong?…
Thus we elevate personal comfort and convenience above all else, and isolate ourselves from the people around. King Solomon was right when he wrote, “He who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement.” (Proverbs 18:1). Our love of self and fear of the opinions of others gives rise to a culture of people who claim to have a solid worldview and direction, of which we are afraid to talk about.
I do not dismiss the reality of this fear. My question here is – why the fear? Why are we scared of the judgement and opinion of others? What are we all hiding? Does this point to a deeper issue in our hearts?
Its quite interesting to observe that they very first time we see this fear exhibited, is in Genesis chapter 3. The first thing that Adam did after he sinned against God’s set plan for life is he ran to the bushes and hid. He was scared to have a conversation about what he had done. To this day, we run and hide because in our hearts we know that we do have something to hide. The impulse to hide is the result of a soul that knows that it is guilty against a mighty God.
Sooner or later we will all come to a realization that our fear of others is a manifestation of our fear of our guilt before God. Acknowledging this fear now and finding the answer in faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ takes care of this heart problem now. For the person who ignores this fear, there will come a day when they stand before the piercing gaze of God, and be reminded of it once again.
“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”” (Rev. 6:15-17)