Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Relativity => Relativism: Annihilates Conscience

"Einstein's relativity theory properly concerns the physical cosmos. But it seems to me to describe exactly the situation of the intellectual/spiritual world of our time. Relativity theory states there are no fixed systems of reference in the universe. When we declare a system to be a reference point from which we try to measure a whole, it is we who do the determining. Only in such a way can we attain any results at all. But the determination could always have been done differently. What we said about the physical cosmos is reflected in the second "Copernican revolution" regarding our basic relationship to reality. The truth as such, the absolute, the very reference point of thinking, is no longer visible. For this reason, precisely in the spiritual sense, there is no longer "up or down." There are no directions in a world without fixed measuring points. What we view to be direction is not based on a standard which is true in itself but on our decision and finally on considerations of expediency. In such a relativistic context, so-called teleological or consequentialist ethics ultimately becomes nihilistic, even if it fails to see this. And what is called conscience in such a worldview is, on deeper reflection, but a euphemistic way of saying that there is no such thing as an actual conscience, conscience understood as a "co-knowing" with the truth. Each person determines his own standards. And, needless to say, in general relativity, no one can be of much help to the other, much less prescribe behavior to him." Ratzinger, On Conscience, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007, 27-28. (Online as "Conscience and Truth," Dallas Texas Address, February 1991).

In a word, if there is no truth, no absolute point of reference by which everything must be seen by everyone, then there can be no right or wrong.
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