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Breaking Through the "Relativity Barrier"

How to Make Points Effectively with New Agers

from the Witnessing Tips column of the Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1988, Volume 10, Number 3, page 7. The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal is Elliot Miller.

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 and entirely 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 your truth."

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:

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 tolerance:

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 everything 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.

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.

Copyright 1993 by the Christian Research Institute.

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