Religious leaders, especially those opposed to LGBTQ civil and human rights, narrowly define relativism as pop culture’s attempt to impose or project its values on God, thus undermining society. According to them, relativism is enabling political correctness to compromise sacred, timeless truths.
Evidently, it is possible to force the Maker of the Universe, the Giver of Life, the Big Kahuna who started the Big Bang, to accept social and societal whimsy. Just imagine, Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian can boss God around!
It is a flawed, illogical premise worth understanding because it contributes to the bigotry and prejudice injected into religion by men and women. Note, I wrote men and women. Do not confuse religion, humankind’s tool to enhance spirituality, with God. Incidentally, as is always meant in these columns, God is without gender, male, female, or a combination. Otherwise, God is limited.
Spiritual LGBTQ folks, especially Christians, also may find this brief, inadequate discussion of relativism personally useful in wrestling with nagging, often subconscious angst. In my travels, I encounter many LGBTQ people of faith who still wonder if living their personal truth might still in some small way offend God. The answer is no.
Several LGBTQ Catholics have suggested to me they might be living in sin, but God forgives and still loves them. This is spiritual self-abuse and unhealthy. You are not living a sin. Because a church teaching has been around for 1,000 or more years, written by men, does not mean someone knew the will of God or correctly interpreted the Bible. The Big Bang occurred over 13 billion years ago. Keep time and human history in perspective. Truth does not change, understanding does.
According to some church leaders, society is changing the Creator’s laws handed down by Moses, Abraham, the prophets, and Jesus. Catholic and Protestant leaders have huffed and puffed about relativism’s assault on faith, morals, and religion. They blame falling attendance and church closings not on their leadership or inability to balance logic, science, and common sense with faith, but to relativism encouraged, in part, by LGBTQ activism. This is less about changing God’s laws and more about their loss of control.
Relativism has religious, philosophical, and anthropological underpinnings going well beyond this article. The point is not to let the word stop you from challenging those using it and you can do it on their terms. Nor should you allow it to leave any doubt in your mind about living your truth.
Every day I wrestle with my faith. Is there a personal God engaged with my specific problems? Did God set life in motion with the Big Bang and walk away? What is the proper way to pray? I never waste time on guilt.
Stay focused on the larger picture. You are part of creation. Your grouping is not flawed. You may have quirky personality issues, as do we all, but your category of creation whether man, woman, Irish, Italian, Latino, gay, queer, lesbian, or transgender is not the problem.
I do not know the will of God and, by the way, neither does the Pope. I suspect, however, God is not losing sleep over anyone’s sense of guilt. There is a universe to run and you have a life to live. Get on with it. In the process, respectfully and confidently challenge religious leaders who too often instill fear by throwing around words like relativism. God is not changing. Instead, humanity is getting collectively smarter and more spiritually mature.
Paul Jesep is a corporate chaplain and author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”