Thursday, June 16, 2005

From the e-mail bag

I'm in correspondance with a lightweight who regulalry condems Reform Jews because they don't accept the "absolute" truths of Judaism; yet, in almost the same breath she'll say we must respect those Christians who express hatred of Jews via statments like, "Jews don't get into heaven," because, well, that's their religion.

That, friends, is moral relativism. How odd to see it from someone (my lightweight correspondent) who is normally such an absolutist.

P.S I am not a relatiavist. I'm a pluralist. Here's Isaiah Berlin, explaining the difference:
"I came to the conclusion that there is a plurality of ideals, as there is a plurality of cultures and of temperaments I am not a relativist; I do not say "I like my coffee with milk and you like it without; I am in favor of kindness and you prefer concentration camps" -- each of us with his own values, which cannot be overcome or integrated. This I believe to be false. But I do believe that there is a plurality of values which men can and do seek, and that these values differ. There is not an infinity of them: the number of human values, of values that I can pursue while maintaining my human semblance, my human character, is finite -- let us say 74, or perhaps 122, or 26, but finite, whatever it may be. And the difference it makes is that if a man pursues one of these values, I, who do not, am able to understand why he pursues it or what it would be like, in his circumstances, for me to be induced to pursue it. Hence the possibility of human understanding." [More]