Item description for Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air by Francis J. Beckwith & Gregory Koukl...
Overview "Relativism" offers a critique of moral relativism and suggests ways Christians can defend their moral beliefs. The authors survey the rising tide of relativism in recent decades, explore its inherent inconsistencies, suggest specific approaches that can be used in the course of dialogue, and consider its everyday implications.
Publishers Description "Relativism "offers a critique of moral relativism and suggests ways Christians can defend their moral beliefs. The authors survey the rising tide of relativism in recent decades, explore its inherent inconsistencies, suggest specific approaches that can be used in the course of dialogue, and consider its everyday implications. (48)
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.5" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2001
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0801058066 ISBN13 9780801058066
Availability 0 units.
More About Francis J. Beckwith & Gregory Koukl
Francis J. Beckwith (PhD, Fordham University; MJS, Washington University School of Law, St. Louis) is professor of philosophy and church-state studies, and fellow and faculty associate in the Institute for the Studies of Religion, at Baylor University. In 2008-09, he will serve on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame as the Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture. He is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case against Abortion Choice and To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview.
Francis J. Beckwith currently resides in Anaheim Hills, in the state of California. Francis J. Beckwith has an academic affiliation as follows - Baylor University, Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air?
Fascinating yet down-to-earth introduction solid moral theory Aug 24, 2006
The authors define moral relativism as the popular theory that there is no objective way of determining what is true or what is right and that morality is based one cultural norms or personal circumstances. This book rises to the occassion criticizing the foundation and legitimacy of moral relativism. The book's strength is that it is an easy read that keeps your attention by appealing to your inner humanity, intuition, common sense and rational.
The book is divided into three sections which is written by two authors. Francis discusses the foundation of moral theory and knowledge. Gregory discusses the political and cultural ramifications of moral relativism. Francis finishes the book by explaining how one can challenge moral relativist messages in their every day lives. Both authors are conservative Christian apologists, but one need not be a Christian or a political conservative to understand and appreciate this book.
Francis does quite an outstanding job exposing how moral relativist advocates often contradict themselves and hide their ulterior agenda by manipulating language and using false rhetoric in the public domain. Francis does a good showing why an objective view of morality that transcends culture and personal preferences is not only necessary but logical for developing a sound moral theory.
The book is not without flaws. I found the book doesn't maintain the quality in writing throughout, which is in part due to the book having two authors. In the second section of the book, Gregory reaches too far in trying to condemn certain policy initiatives without the proper justification. In one instance, Gregory tries to pass off a personal anecdote as 'proof' that supporters of affirmative action and multiculturalism rely on 'might is right' as opposed to intelligent discourse in pushing forth their agenda. While Francis does a good job helping readers recognizing moral relativism in society, Gregory unfortunately is premature in taking for granted that the reader assumes certain liberal political viewpoints (support for affirmative action, gay rights, etc.) are symptoms of moral relativism.
Nonetheless, both authors do a good job in allowing readers to consider the consequences of accepting moral relativism, which often consists of always trying to please everyone, mindlessly following public opinion, and legitimizing any ideology that comes out left field under the guise of tolerance. Both authors explain why true moral leaders need to be strong, confident, and unyielding in their beliefs and why its important to challenge those who advocate moral ambivalence and circular self-justification for one's personal desires and disguising it as morality. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who have been confused or worried our changing moral climate and want to begin a clear and focused path to approaching the topic.
Weak Feb 23, 2006
The authors do a decent job of explaining relativism in a manner designed for the layman but seldom do they allow more than a few pages pass before they start trotting out their conservative beliefs, ostensibly to stress a point about relativism but seemingly just to air their views on abortion and homosexuality (they're against both). It's a digressive approach, and remarkably amateurish (as is the jacket art, which looks like something that might've been cooked up by a high school sophomore learning to use a Mac circa 1986). If you took the politics and the smug assertions out of this already short book you'd be left with a pamphlet. There's just not a lot of actual information or serious discussion of relativism here.
There's a great need for a book written for a general audience that explains why moral relativism is a poor, even dangerous, approach to the world. This is not that book.
Page 74 Aug 24, 2005
Walk into a book store; read the conversation between Elizabeth and her teacher on page 74 (paperback) and you will have a fair idea as to whether or not relativism makes a person more open minded or close minded.
What kind of person you want to be will probably determine whether or not you read this book.
Simplistic mischaracterization of relativism. Aug 14, 2005
When the authors of this book say "relativism" (or rather, MORAL relativism, don't you love the connotations?), what they are really referring to is that bane of conservatives and Christians alike, the politically-correct, uber-conciliatory capital-"D" Democratic wing of modern-American culture. This is a gross mischaracterisation. Real relativism is a complex and thoughtful philosophical argument, not a bunch of burnt-out hippies reassuring themselves that everything is groovy. Anyone who reads this book and feels that relativism has been dismantled cannot possibly truly understand relativism.
You cannot "dis-prove" relativism. Relativism is not a truth-value system. Relativism is not a hypothesis or a theory. You cannot, as these authors attempt, to employ logic puzzles and make generalizations about what "relativists do" or "say", or point to "inconsistencies" in relativist's actions, and say that you have refuted relativism. Relativism is not a platform or party line. Relativism has nothing to do with abortion.
Introduction to an Important Topic Aug 2, 2005
It was the late, great Francis Shaeffer who spoke of a group of people "who have both feet firmly planted in mid-air." This phrase brilliantly describes people in our society who adhere, as much as anyone can adhere to such a system, to moral relativism. For one can only be planted so firmly on a system that has no foundation. Relativism, written by Greg Koukl and Francis Beckwith, critiques moral relativism and explores the myriad inconsistencies inherent in this position.
The authors launch a five-pronged attack on relativism. In the first part they help the reader understand relativism and see the three different types: "society says," "society does" and "I say" relativism. In the second part they critique relativism, exposing seven of its most fatal flaws before turning in the third part to an exposure of the impact of relativism on education. In the fourth part they examine relativism in public policy, and specifically its application to homosexual marriage, abortion and euthenasia - three of the pressing issues of our time. The final part provides some tools to refute relativism.
The final part was the one I found most helpful. Having explained the background and dangers of relativism, the authors suggest some tactics that are helpful in arguing against relativism. First, they suggest showing the contradictions inherent in relativism, for in practice, this position is self-refuting. One effective tactic, then, is to show people that many of their positions depend on some type of absolute stance. They suggest the best way of dealing with the charge of "don't force your morality on me," is to simply ask "why not?" What gives him the right to impose his morality on you when you are not able to do the same to him? Second, they suggest pressing the person's hot button. Find that person's pet issue and relativize it to undermine his position. Third, force the tolerance issue. Force the person to examine why he cannot tolerate what he perceives as your intolerance. And fourth, have a ready defense. Know the issues and know the best ways to defend your position while casting doubts on the relativist's position.
While a book on this topic could easily become deeply philosophical and difficult to understand, Beckwith and Koukl do a good job of making it accessible. There are a few parts I had to read a few times to thoroughly understand them, but on the whole they write in such a way that they make their points clear without requiring extensive background in philosophy. Several points could have received more attention, but I understand the need to keep the book short enough to be attractive to a wide array of readers. In fact, my only real complaint with the book would be their use of the tiresome cliche of Adolf Hitler representing all that is evil in humans and Mother Teresa representing all that is good. The authors might plead that they use Mother Teresa only because people immediately understand what she represents, but I think it is time we stop using such a poor example of all that is virtuous. Koukl and Beckwith know better.
Relativism is a solid introduction to a topic with which we are all far too familiar simply because it pervades our society. Yet few positions do more to undermine the truth, the "true truth," of Scripture. It is critical that we have a ready defense of the absolutes that underly the truth of Christianity. This is not the type of book that is likely to change the minds of those who are already firmly-entrenched in their position, but neither is that the book's primary purpose. This book is a helpful tool to equip Christians in that which we know to be true.