Copyright 1993 by the Christian Research Institute.
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"Breaking Through the 'Relativity
Barrier.' How to Make Points
Effectively with New Agers" (an article from the Witnessing Tips
column of the Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1988,
Volume 10, Number 3, page 7) by Elliot Miller.
The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal is Elliot
Ever wonder what trying to communicate with
someone from a
different planet would be like? Christians who try to share their
faith with New Agers may have some idea. This communication gap
runs deeper than mere terminology: it involves outlooks on the
world that are themselves _worlds_ apart.
One major reason for this is what I have
termed the "relativity
barrier." Underlying much New Age thinking is a relativistic
assumption that _anything_ can be true for the individual, but
_nothing_ can be true for everyone.
To many New Agers, truth is intensely personal
subjective. In their view, it is the height of presumption to think
that one knows _the_ key truth for all people. On the other hand,
it is the apex of love to "allow" others to have their own "truth."
"Thou shalt not interfere with another's reality" might be called
the First Commandment of New Age revelation. Thus, the New Ager
views him or herself as open-minded, tolerant, and progressive,
while viewing the Christian evangelist as narrow-minded,
intolerant, and repressive.
The "relativity barrier" is therefore
a great obstacle to
Christian evangelism. No matter how carefully the Christian directs
his or her testimony, it is deflected with the reply, "That's
It is important first of all to demonstrate
that the difference
between Christians and New Agers is not a question of tolerance. A
conversation between the channeled spirit "Ramtha" and one of his
"masters" (disciples) will help the reader see what I mean:
*RAMTHA:* Now, if one believes in the devil
another doesn't, who is right, who is true?
*MASTER:* Both of them are.
*MASTER:* Because each one of them has their own
*RAMTHA:* Correct. Correct.
Up to this point we are witnessing classic
New Age relativism.
But in the comments which immediately follow Ramtha gives away the
larger metaphysical context behind this seemingly impeccable
*RAMTHA:* Now, the devil was a masterful
ploy by a
conquering institution to put the fear of God, most
literally, unto [sic] the hearts of little ones --
that God had created a monster that would get them
lest [sic] they be good to Him. The devil was used to
control the world most effectively and even today it
is still feared and believed. Someone conjured it up
-- a God -- and thus it became, but only to those who
believed. _That is how it is._ (emphasis added)
("Ramtha" with Douglas James Mahr, _Voyage to the New
World_ [Friday Harbor, WA: Masterworks, 1985,] 246.)
Ramtha's explanation illustrates what is generally the case in
New Age thinking: it really isn't a matter of each person's "truth"
being _equally_ true. At a deeper level, we are all gods creating
our own realities. Some, blind to this truth, have created some
rather unfortunate "realities." When they become "enlightened" they
will drop these creations and see things as New Agers do.
By bringing this larger picture to the New
Ager's attention we
can demonstrate that the New Age world view is based on an absolute
"truth" after all -- pantheism (i.e., God is all). This just allows
them to acknowledge multitudinous private "truths" at lower levels.
It turns out that it's impossible to make
relative. Some ultimate view of reality must be assumed, and
whichever we choose (including pantheism) will necessarily exclude
all others. Therefore, the real question New Agers and Christians
should be addressing is not whether there _is_ a universal truth,
but rather, _which_ "universal truth" is true, pantheism or theism?
One good approach to determining this is
to ask ourselves if
either one is compatible with life and the world as we find them.
Can they be consistently lived out?
After securing the New Ager's approval of
this approach, the
Christian can proceed to demonstrate that 1) we all _inescapably_
live by a belief that certain things are right and wrong, and 2)
New Age pantheism cannot supply sufficient basis for this belief,
while Christian theism can.
Since New Agers often avoid critical thinking
in favor of an
intuitive approach to truth, the Christian should not expect cold
logic to suffice. To make a point, it is important to impact their
emotions as well as their minds. This explains the rather shocking
and disturbing approach of the following demonstration.
*CHRISTIAN:* Do you mean that there are
no moral principles that
are absolutely true and right for everyone?
*NEW AGER:* We each create our own reality and have our own truth.*
*CHRISTIAN:* OK, let's pretend I'm a "pedophile"
-- it's part of my
reality to "love" children in every way possible, including
sexually. So, while you're at work I'm going to invite your
children into my home to play a "game" that I've made up. Is that
all right with you?
*NEW AGER:* It most certainly is not! It
would be part of my
reality to report you to the police.
*CHRISTIAN:* Why? After all, it's the reality
chosen to create for myself. What gives you the right to interfere
in the reality of another god?
*NEW AGER:* Simple. Your reality is infringing
on my children's
*CHRISTIAN:* But according to your belief,
before they incarnated
_they_ chose you as their parent and they also chose whatever
happens to them, including my act, and you've no right to
*NEW AGER:* I do too, in _this_ case.
*CHRISTIAN:* Can you see my point now? Something
within you _knows_
that such an act is wrong in and of itself.
*NEW AGER:* You're right.
*CHRISTIAN:* But that can _only_ be so if
there are absolute rights
and wrongs _independent_ of our personal realities. Yet, try as you
may, you will not find a ground for such moral absolutes in your
world view. Your God is impersonal, "beyond good and evil." And,
since in your view we are all _equally_ gods, my truth about any
subject is as good as your truth. So, New Age beliefs fail the test
of human experience. But Jesus said in John 14:6 "I am _the_
truth." As the unique, infinite, and holy God incarnate He provides
a sufficient basis for saying that certain acts such as child
molestation are _absolutely_ wrong.
*NEW AGER:* Hmmm. I see your point.
*CHRISTIAN:* Now let me share with you what
the Bible says about
* A less consistent relativist might invoke
universal law of love or karma. To this the Christian
could reply: "First of all, if there are such
universal laws which are absolutely true for everyone,
why should you take offense when I say the gospel is
not just my truth but _the_ truth? But second, if
everything is God, then karma is as much an illusion
to be transcended as the world, and there is
ultimately no one for my Self (which is God) to love.
So why should I take such illusory 'absolutes'
End of document, CRJ0007A.TXT (original CRI file name),
"Breaking Through the 'Relativity Barrier.' How to Make Points
Effectively with New Agers"
release A, September 6, 1993
R. Poll, CRI
(A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat
Hunter for their help
in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.)
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