Relativism is a theory in philosophy that says that the truth of a statement is based on conditions. The same applies to these conditions. The start of this chain some arbitrary definitions or persuasions of an individual. For this reason, there can be no statements that are unconditionally (or absolutely) true, as there is no unconditional or absolute truth. In the same way there are no absolute ethical values. There are similar ideas in Nihilism, Scepticism and Amoralism, but these fields do not use a chain of conditions to show this.
The Church and some philosophers define relativism as the denial of absolute truth. They say that without absolute truth, there can be no moral values. If there are no moral values, there might not be sin, and God may not exist. In their view, relativism constitutes a denial of the capacity of the human mind and reason to arrive at truth. Truth, according to Catholic theologians and philosophers (following Aristotle and Plato) consists of adequatio rei et intellectus, the correspondence of the mind and reality. Another way of putting it states that the mind has the same form as reality. This means when the form of the computer in front of someone (the type, color, shape, capacity, etc.) is also the form that is in their mind, then what they know is true because their mind corresponds to objective reality.
The denial of an absolute reference, of an axis mundi, denies God, who equates to Absolute Truth, according to these Christian philosophers. They link relativism to secularism, an obstruction of religion in human life.
Pope Leo XIII (1810–1903) was the first known Pope to use the word relativism in the encyclical Humanum Genus (1884). Leo XIII condemned Freemasonry and claimed that its philosophical and political system was largely based on relativism.