Imagine if the next time someone says to you, “Don’t be so judgmental,” you gently pushed back and said, “Excuse me. Are you judging me?”
Imagine the conversation going something like this:
Friend: “Don’t be so judgmental.”
You: “Excuse me. Are you judging me? I’m feeling judged right now. Are you saying I’m a mean, intolerant, judgmental person?”
Friend: “Uh, no … I’m not quite saying that …”
You: “But you just told me not to be judgmental.”
Friend: “Well, when you say something is immoral, it sounds like you’re judging others.”
You: “Look. You’re free to believe whatever you want. If you want to believe there’s no truth, no moral right or wrong, you can do that. I’ll disagree with you because that doesn’t make any sense to me. But if you want to have faith in moral relativism and believe that there is no moral order to the universe, you’re free to do that. But whatever you do, please do not impose your belief in no truth — your faith in relativism — on me! Please don’t make me have to follow your religion of relativism!”
You: “Now, tell me about your relativism. I’m curious: Do you really believe that there is nothing at all that is morally wrong for everyone? How about murder? Rape? Genocide?”
The benefit of this approach is that it quickly turns the conversation to a fundamental issue: Is there moral truth? Too often, we Christians are having to do all of the explaining — answering point by point people’s questions about our faith. Let’s turn the tables and start asking our relativistic friends to defend their position. “Tell me about your relativism. Explain to me why you think that there’s no real right or wrong in the universe. How does that work if each individual makes up his own morality?”
Listen to them.
Let them talk. After a while, ask them a question like, “If a man says, ‘For me, kidnapping is okay and rape is a good thing,’ does that make it okay for him to kidnap children and rape women?”
Most people have never stopped to think about their relativistic assumptions. It’s just something they’ve taken in from the culture. Fewer people have ever had to give a rational account for this position. So when they actually have to talk about and explain their relativistic worldview, they often admit at least some things are morally right or wrong (“You shouldn’t hurt other people”) or they start talking in circles and realize they are skating on thin ice. And when that happens, then they might be more open to hearing an alternative way of looking at the world.