Joseph Ratzinger rates relativism as the greatest challenge of the Church today. What he describes is not a new phenomenon but his theology highlights its origins and magnitude. Stanley Hauerwas fights the same battle on the Protestant side. This book attempts to discover and streamline their deliberations, showing their meeting points and where they differ, and remedies they offer to combat the crisis. It seeks to argue out the best response to relativism that can most appropriately benefit both Western and African Christendom. Despite being a Western phenomenon, relativism is no longer an exclusively Western problem. It is, rather, imposing itself as the new world culture, depicting all other cultures and perspectives as inferior. Ratzinger christened this ‘the Dictatorship of Relativism’, while Hauerwas calls it ‘Policing of Christian Values’. While Ratzinger’s greatest worry is relativism’s denial of Truth (mostly from outside the ekklesia), for Hauerwas, relativism is not a force from without (of the Church) but part and parcel of the peoples’ modern ways of life, in which Christian values are persecuted in the name of peaceful existence. Both perspectives point at a crisis of cultures where the past is rejected and the future disconnected from the present, which trend inevitably leads to disintegration – a leap into the dark. While the pre-Modern world sought God, the Modern world sought knowledge. The contemporary world seeks relativism. But all is not lost. The truth can still be found through the word of God and Christian culture.
About Charles Ssennyondo, STL, STD
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Published December 17, 2012
Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference.