New Age Relativism: What and Why.

As I was reading a book recently, I came across a part where they describe the beliefs of the New Age. Although I disagree with much of the book, I have never before seen the beliefs of New Age listed so well. The book states it as follows:

  • There’s no such thing as objective truth. We make our own truth.
  • There’s no such thing as objective reality. We make our own reality.
  • There are spiritual, mystical, or inner ways of knowing that are superior to our ordinary ways of knowing.
  • If an experience seems real, it is real.
  • If an idea feels right to you, it is right.
  • We are incapable of acquiring knowledge of the true nature of reality.
  • Science itself is irrational or mystical. It’s just another faith or belief system or myth, with no more justification than any other.
  • It doesn’t matter whether beliefs are true or not, as long as they’re meaningful to you. [1]

It’s easy to see that all of these claims are illogical when applied to themselves. All one has to do is ask, “Is it objectively true that there is no objective truth?” or “If my reality is that the realities presented in this book are false does that make it true or false?”

Yet it’s interesting that they underlie many of our culture’s beliefs today. Elsewhere in the book it explains why they have gained such ground. It states:

“Absolutism is considered morally objectionable because it leads to intolerance. After all, weren’t all persecution in history perpetrated by those who believed in objective reality and knew that their view of it was the correct one? Relativism, on the other hand, is supposed to foster tolerance, implying that different views are entitled to equal respect because they’re equally true?” [2]

So the reason many people believe these obviously irrational truths is because of a moral reason instead of an intellectual one. It is true that there are so many opposing viewpoints that are constantly causing unhealthy conflict. I could see why many people would get tired of it and try to find neutral ground. I could also see how exciting these ‘new’ inclusive ideas could be. They are certainly interesting at the very least.

Yet at the same time it isn’t possible to consistently live this way; morally or existentially. Truth is too important (even to those who claim it isn’t). And as Christians, if we believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, to abrogate truth would be to abrogate God and ourselves.

 


 

[1] Schick Jr., Theodore and Lewis Vaughn. “Introduction: Close Encounters with the Strange.” How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age. (New York: McGraw-Hill) 2008. 4. Print.

[2] Ibid. “Relativism, Truth, and Reality.” p. 309
 

 

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