You may have heard of the theologian John Martignoni. He has cds of talks he gives and debates he has regarding Catholic teachings. One talk he gave is titled “Was Hitler Right?” In the talk Mr. Martignoni discusses the issue of relativism. He uses the example of Hitler to prove his point.
Most atheists are relativists. If you are not familiar, relativism is a philosophy which says that morals and/or truth are relative. In other words, what I believe is good or true for me is only good or true for me. No one else is bound by my beliefs or moral code. Atheists come to this belief because they do not believe in God. The problem is that relativism is a self-defeating philosophy.
First there is the fact that if all things are relative, then so is the statement that all things are relative. Just because someone believes in relativism does not mean that relativism is true for me, according to relativist ideology. Relativism is only true for someone who believes in it. In other words, an atheist believes that each person must adhere to their own moral code (or none at all, if they so choose). Yet, a Christian believes that there is a certain moral code that all people must follow. According to relativism, both conflicting philosophies are true. Each person must develop their own moral code, but there is also a specific moral code which all must follow. How little sense does that make?
This also brings up the question: Was Hitler right? John Martignoni makes the point that if morals and truth are relative, then who can say that what Hitler did was wrong? He was elected chancellor of Germany. He was the authority in Germany. He became dictator because no one could stop him. Now you might say that Hitler was wrong to make himself dictator of Germany because it went against their constitution. There is a problem with this argument.
For those who believe in God, all humans have the same source: God. We all come from God. Atheists also believe that all humanity has the same source. It will vary between atheists, but many believe that humans evolved from something else. So whether you are a Christian or an atheist, it can be agreed that all humanity has the same source. This means that all humans are on an equal footing. No one person can tell another person what to do, or how to live their life. If there is no God it all depends on each individual. In other words, everything boils down to opinion. So there are only two ways to get others to believe what you believe, and to follow your moral code. That would be the force of persuasion, or the persuasion of force. The latter equates to might makes right.
Based on relativism Hitler was only wrong because he lost World War II. If he had won, then the whole world might have been under his authority. Relativism dictates that under this situation the eradication of the Jewish race (or anyone who disagreed with the Nazi philosophy) would be right. This simply does not make sense. If relativism is right, then only those who can force others to see things their way are right. Relativism is the philosophy of violence.
I think John Martignoni had the right solution to the problem. If relativism is true, then we Christians should feed atheists to sharks. Don’t like that idea? Think its an evil proposal? Well, prove me worng! If there is no God the only possible way to prove me wrong would be to force me to change my ideology. Then you still have a problem.
In relativism truth, not just morals, are also relative. This means that both atheists and Christians are, simultaneously, correct. In other words, God exists and does not exist at the same time. There is no idea more ridiculous! Nothing can be and not be at the same time. So either God does exist, or He does not. I think our discussion on morality and relativism proves that God must exist.
Peace in Christ,
David Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity