Ron’s #14: Relativism—Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-air by Francis Beckwith and Greg Koukl

For this review, I decided to use the questions from our Apologia study of this book last month. I hope that you or your group can use these as you discuss this excellent book.

1.    Define moral relativism and give examples of this worldview in practice. What were your thoughts on it before reading this book? How did reading this book help your thinking on the issue?

2.    Read the following quotation and discuss why this is the proper result of moral relativism’s worldview:

“What kind of world would it be if relativism were true? It would be a world in which nothing is wrong­–nothing is considered evil or good, nothing worthy of praise or blame. It would be a world in which justice and fairness are meaningless concepts, in which there would be no accountability, no possibility of moral improvement, no moral discourse. And it would be a world in which there is no tolerance” (69).

3.    Explain the difference between the moral ought and the rational ought and subject/object truths (26-27). Does this help frame the discussion?

4.    What are the three types of relativism as described in the book (36-39)? Describe each. Which one do you hear/see/read about the most in our culture?

5.    This book (and Tim Keller’s The Reason for God) discusses the story of the blind men and the elephant. What is the story indented to show, and how can we properly discuss it?

6.    What is the “reformer’s dilemma” (52-53)? How can this be an important discussion point?

7.    Discuss relativism’s seven flaws (61-69). Which would you find most powerful in your discussions on the topic? Least helpful?

8.    What is the difference between moral absolutes and values clarification? How prevalent is the values clarification model today? Are there modern examples?

9.    How is our politically correct culture and multiculturalism a natural offspring of moral relativism? How is it a contradiction of it?

10.  How are the hot-button topics like abortion and same-sex marriage used in this book to display the problems with moral relativism? In your opinion, are the authors effective in their use of the issues?

11. As we did with the seven flaws, review and discuss the four tactics to refute relativism (143-155). Which do you find strongest and weakest?

About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

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