Father Dwight Longenecker
Lesson Eleven: The Truth Is There Is No Truth
Let me give you an example. I had a client who was a good Catholic boy. He had been taught that abortion was always wrong. One of our professors gave him a difficult case: "What if," he said, "a poor woman with seven children was told by the doctor that if she became pregnant again she would die, and then she did indeed, get pregnant? The early abortion would save her life and her seven existing children would still have a mother and her husband would still have a wife to help the family in poverty. Wouldn't it be better," suggested the professor, "for her to have an abortion?" My client didn't have an answer. He soon began to see how morals are really relative to the situation. It was only a small jump for him a week or two later to justify the abortion his own girlfriend needed.
The boy's fall into a delicious crime was certainly pleasant enough, and when he went on to be a professor of philosophy it was more pleasing still. I must say it is only one of my triumphs in many eons of tempting. It was even more pleasing when he shared the truths of relativism with generations of freshmen in his 'Foundations of Learning' seminar. That he imparted the truth that everything is relative to literally thousands of students meant he was doing our work for us far more effectively than we could do ourselves.
What's that Snort? Yes I did use the word 'truth' just a moment ago, however, what I meant by it was only metaphorical. I used the word 'truth' as if it might, in some metaphorical sense, have 'meaning.' I was not implying that there is any such thing as objective truth. You and I know that there is no such thing, and therefore my use of the word, was only, as it were, a turn of phrase.
Look here. I know you think yourself the star of the class just because I singled you out to help me with the rather difficult Glimwort, and you certainly did a good job with him down in the training chambers, but I'm not inclined to be challenged by you in this way! How dare you come up with that idiotic argument, saying, "But if there's no such thing as truth how do we know that the statement there's 'no such thing as truth' is true?" Snort, I thought you were cleverer than that. Why, that question is simply a case of semantics. You're playing with words and abstract concepts that have no meaning. It's sophomoric mumbo-jumbo and I won't dignify it with a response.
Let's get back to the point. Remember worms, relativism begins with moral relativism and moves to philosophical relativism. Get them to compromise their morals and before long they will compromise everything. This philosophy has become the foundation of the modern educational system, and those of you who will be lucky enough to move in those hallowed halls of our college campuses will find this to be the most basic tool in your toolbox.
Next session we'll discuss how to weave relativism into practically everything you touch in popular culture. It's a fine art, my dear flukes and annelids. Master it and you may pass the exams and move up to the crustacean class. Why, one day, you may even ascend to the heights of master like me, your dear professor. There's the bell. Class dismissed.
I say, Snort, stay behind will you? I need to have words with you.
Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. His latest book is Catholicism Pure and Simple. Visit his blog and sign up for Faith Works! his free, weekly newsletter on the practical practice of the Catholic faith here.