Well, there you have it. Our new Pontiff is a crusty old white guy. Pope Benedict XVI made the scene today as the choice of a new millenium of Catholicism. It’s tough to figure out what to make of him. With his wide, friendly face he could be your own grandfather. With his sunken, cold eyes he could also be Skeletor. By most accounts, this fellow seems to be a hardliner, not the sexual and social reformer some people were hoping for. I don’t think we should be at all surprised by the results. I mean, the electorate in this case was made of an elite, people with vested interest in maintaining power. Shaking up the status quo is not going to be high on their agendas.
With Pope Benedict’s opening speech, there came out a great buzzword for our time, “The Dictatorship of Relativism”
Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as a fundamentalism,” he said. “Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, looks like the only attitude acceptable to today’s standards
Now, so-called liberals and forward-thinking individuals should take note at this quote, and that word, “relativism”. It’s going to be the new insult against people who try to challenge established power structures for the greater good.
When people come up with questions against doctrine of any church, Muslim, Christian, or Jewish, it’s now going to be thought of as “relativism” because if the precious absolute truth of the Bible, Koran, or Torah is challenged, “oh-ho,” the devout would say, “this means you think there is no absolute truth, because MY holy book is the one absolute truth.”
Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Without critical thinking we become little more than base animals, automata ripe for slavery. Blind faith alone cannot make for a virtuous society. If we cannot examine or question the pre-conceived notions of our society, we cannot figure out if we’re living up to the ideals of our society.
By not examining the use of contraceptives in the context of AIDS prevention, millions have been infected. If we took a serious look at the concept of priest celibacy, the church might not have had to deal with the allegations of sexual abuse. The whole idea of the church is being sacrificed to the idea that religion is supposed to be the unquestioned and perfect truth.
For better or for worse, the Bible and the New Testament have defined western society’s ideas
about love, sacrifice, and morality. Whether the events of the Bible are true or not is irrelevant. The ideas and truths carry beyond the words of the text, and when the text itself is used as an excuse to abrogate the search for truth, that is true relativism. If we give up the search for absolute truth, it will be as if there is no absolute truth at all.