Are there absolutes or is everything relative?

Yes, there are such things as absolutes.  There are also things that are relative, but if everything were relative then it would be absolutely true that everything is relative, and that would be self-refuting.  So saying that everything is relative can’t be true.  Likewise, if everything were absolutely true, then we couldn’t have such things as personal preferences or things that change.  Relative truths can be things dependent upon each person.

That which is absolute is always true.  That which is relative is not necessarily always true.  For example, it is always true that the number seven is greater than the number five.  It's always true that something cannot bring itself into existence.

On the other hand, one person may believe that blue is a better color than green, where another person may disagree.  In this case, what is true for one person is not true for another.  Therefore, there can be truths that are relative, that change.  The person who believes that blue is a better color than green may change his or her mind later on.

Unfortunately, more and more people are not able to distinguish between absolute truths and relative truths, and they put their feelings and preferences above absolutes to make them more palatable.  A typical example is when someone would say that “It is true for you that Jesus is the only way to God, but to a Muslim, Mohammed would be the only way."  Such statements ignore the logical possibilities of having two "only-ways" to God.

So, there are absolutes and there are things that are relative.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.