Pope Benedict XVI once said that we are living under a dictatorship of relativism. I agree wholeheartedly with his statement, but I would like to add a thought or two about it.
This dictatorship did not take power through a spectacular coupe, ousting objective truth through a glorious revolution. Rather, relativism has come to power through a war of attrition or a drawn out war to see who gets worn out first. The tricky part is that relativism is underhandedly not even fighting in this war. Rather, all of us who are pursuing truth are the ones fighting. Thus, exhausted soldiers (human persons) are worn down and battered by so many differing claims to ‘truth’ that they collapse out of exhaustion into the open arms of relativism. In an age of books, articles, and movies about the “real story behind…,” “the true story of…,” “the secrets behind…,” “what really happened…,” and “the untold story of…;” how can we not be battle weary in our pursuit of truth?
This is why Pope Francis is proposing a change in our rules of engagement. He sees that we are losing soldiers not to the ‘other forces on the field,’ but to the illusion of rest and comfort under a dictatorship of relativism. This is why he wants us to change our tactics, not abandoning Truth, but starting first with Love, Goodness, Compassion, and Mercy. There are too many weary people out there who are too gun shy to talk about truth, but are hungry for love. I wonder if we can start first with love in order to dialogue about truth. Not to reduce objective truth to subjective relativism, but to recognize that right now our collateral damage is costing all of us too much. Let’s call a Christmas truce, like in 1914. Not because the Truth is unimportant or not worth defending, but because far more will be drawn to the table discussing truth, than the battlefield fighting over it. And without love, many will bow out to the side of relativism long before anyone can ever win the war.