Breaking Through the “Relativity Barrier”
How to Make Points Effectively with New Agers
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
RAMTHA: Now, if one believes in the devil and another doesn't, who is
right, who is true?
MASTER: Both of them are.
MASTER: Because each one of them has their own truth.
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 tolerance:
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
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
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 I've sovereignly 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 reality.
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 interfere.
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 Jesus.
A less consistent relativist might invoke a 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'
Permission kindly granted to Faith & Reason Forum by Christian Research Institute. Taken 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. Copyright ©
1994 by the Christian Research Institute, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000.
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