By now you may have heard about the Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko who has been sulking because he lost the gold medal to American Evan Lysacek. Plushenko has taken a fairly audacious strategy to elevating his claim to superiority: his website apparently announced that he has won the “Platinum Medal” at the Vancouver Games.
I am not the guy to analyze the judges’ scores in the event, but when I heard about Plushenko’s self-designed award, I couldn’t help but remember something that I heard Alistair McGrath say at a lecture:
“Reality is what faces you when you are wrong.”
You may believe earnestly that the moon is made of Cheetos, but that doesn’t mean that it “really” is. You may believe that the check you have deposited in the bank was worth a million dollars, but if the check writer’s account does not hold such funds, your check is worthless, no matter how genuinely you may believe otherwise.
I don’t want to be too hard on Plushenko (particularly since I’m not sure how seriously he has proposed this medal), but the story has provided us with a really nice example of the problem with the kind of relativism and solipcism that permeates contemporary culture. As good as our Jedi mind tricks may sound in our heads (“I won the medal!”), we delude ourselves if we think that they will work in the real world. These kinds of self-serving lies are rooted in the original Jedi mind trick offered in Eden: “Did God really say . . . ?” (Gen. 3:1).