Fist-fights, Checkbooks and Absolutes
By James Walker
I remember when I was young I knew I would never run low on money. By watching
my mother at the mall, I had discovered a very thrifty way of shopping.
I found out that if you had a checkbook full of checks you could by all kinds
of "neat" things and never have to give up your money.
I pick up on things quickly, you know.
I noticed that if you scratched a few words on those magic pieces of paper,
the check-out lady would let you walk right out of the store without having to
turn over a dime.
This was even better than the Saturday matinee which would set me back six RC
Cola bottle caps.
But alas, part of growing up includes discovering and accepting certain
My youthful plans for a Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous were quickly shot
down when I discovered that each check represented an equal amount of money
that was first placed on deposit at the bank.
Every normal person (math majors and millionaires excluded) have experienced
the sick feeling that happens when this principle is accidentally violated.
A little pink slip arrives in your mailbox notifying you that your view of
your balance did not match the "real" balance.
Finances are based on principles or absolutes which cannot be altered through
wishful thinking. The ultimate reality was not what you decided to write on
the check, but what was first given to the bank.
You see, a checkbook is not subjective (based on what you think or would like
your balance to be). It is objective (based on what really exists at the
There is an emerging movement in America that would challenge this whole
approach to reality.
While most of these people would not balance their checkbooks according to
their doctrine, they do take their beliefs very seriously applying them to
areas of health, ethics, and daily living.
The belief has been described as Neo-pantheism and Westernized Hinduism, but
its most popular title is New Age.
For the New Ager nothing is true until he believes it to be true. Then it is
true to him, but it may not be true to his neighbor.
This view also extends into the realm of ethics. There are no absolutes
(rights or wrongs). If you believe it is right to commit adultery, then it is
right and good for you to do so. But it could be wrong for the next person.
This is called Situation Ethics and is certainly not an invention of the New
I remember a few years ago sharing for several months with a friend named Tom
who joined the First Church of Religious Science in Dallas.
He described me as "narrow" and "rule oriented," and he did not understand why
I could not join in his newfound enthusiasm.
Through "positive mental attitude" he could be healed physically and
spiritually by realizing and claiming that his sickness and disease is just an
He said that nothing exists except God. And God to him was a force, an "it"
that was a part of everyone and everything.
When I tried to talk to him about sin he countered, "I have no problem with
sin because there is no such thing as sin."
In reply I asked him, "Tom, if I hit you in the face with my fist right now as
hard as I can, would that be right or wrong?"
He hesitated for a moment searching my eyes to determine if he was in imminent
danger. After about fifteen seconds of silence (it seemed like 30 minutes) he
realized that it was only a theoretical question.
His whole body relaxed and he chuckled, "Well, I guess it would be wrong."
I replied, "It really doesn't matter if it is wrong." He looked startled.
I explained, "If I did hit you, it would do no damage because there is no such
thing as sickness, disease, -- or fists for that matter."
He laughed louder and said, "I see your point. I guess my answer would be I
haven't yet reached that state of enlightenment."
One approach in witnessing to New Agers is to point out the obvious flaws with
the system. It breaks down in real life.
A world view that doesn't work with checkbooks and fist-fights is probably not
true anywhere else.
Please pray for Tom that he will never forget that there are real absolutes.
This is the vital first step in facing the reality of sin, God's
righteousness, and judgment.
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