The New Age Movement:
What do you suppose the consensus understanding is about New Age thinking? I bet most people think about nature worship and deep peaceful thinking. They probably think about music like Enya. Maybe some think of a person like a more modern form of Jenny from Forrest Gump. I bet not many people know where it came from and where is taking us. I think it is important to realize what it really is because it is taking a huge influence in our culture.
How big is the influence? Let’s look at the major preachers of New Age doctrine, Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. Oprah gets 48,000,000 viewers each week. 55,000,000 books have sold since she started promoting them. 2 million people subscribe to her magazine. She is ranked by Forbes as being the third most powerful woman in the world, but she is probably the most influential (only Michelle Obama is close). Her story of a Christian upbringing, dissatisfaction with Christian exclusivity, and a path to happiness through inner spirituality typify the spiritual shift going on in the hearts of Americans.
While Oprah (and similar people of influence) may not be aware that she is rampantly spreading New Age doctrines, Deepak Chopra is more up front about his goal. Chopra stands as a middle man between Eastern philosophy and Western self help advice. You might think of him as the pagan equivalent to Ravi Zacharias. Surely, if you asked any Christian if they believe Hinduism and Buddhism, they will tell you “absolutely not”. But looking over Deepak Chopra quotes I’m not sure you could distinguish them from quotes from some modern “Christian” preachers. Have a look at these Chopra quotes to see what I mean:
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”
Don’t worry about what the world says, have faith in yourself. (Paraphrase)
“There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component. …But success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.”
I realize there are some elements of truth to what he is saying, but the route there is completely warped. The reason for saying it is also completely warped. For truth to be truth, it must be true at its core and at it foundation. The concept can be true depending on how it’s applied. You should realize after reading this, there is no true application to these within the New Age.
Unfortunately, Christians gobble up this self help advice as if it were biblical doctrine. In fact, to be a little more offensive, there’s a lot of Christians that I wish would know biblical doctrine as well as they know their secular self help doctrine. But these self help quotes and advice are not actually New Age doctrine at its foundation, but they serve at the gateway drug to deeper issues.
Let me try to map out new age doctrine, but before I do the couple things need to be realized. The New Age movement is not an established church, but a conglomerate of semi-religious movements and teachings. Some of the branches of the New Age movement are Transcendental Meditation, Eckankar, Wicca, and numerous holistic (spiritual and physical) health and self help programs. There is some disagreement within New Age itself, but there does seem to be a common core of ideas though.
Astrology is a branch in New Age thinking that forms the foundation of the term “New Age”. We are transitioning from the astrological time of Pisces into the age of Aquarius. This age will be characterize by peace and enlightenment. The doctrines of the New Age ushers this in.
The New Age doctrine of God is generally pantheism. Pantheism is the belief that the universe is God. A belief stemming from this is monism, the belief that all is one. Flowing from this is the belief that everything represents god, therefore we are effective representations of god when we tune in to our inner consciousness. Even though they will use the term “God”, the concept is much different from the monotheistic God. We should not be duped into thinking that we are talking about the same type of God.
What does New Age say about the world? The world was not created, it is eternal. Our world is progressing and evolving (an eternal thing can only progress for so long). Mankind is progressing and evolving along with it. The reverberating life force they call God is progressing along with it. God is impersonal, therefore is not actively deciding what direction the world ought to be going. Since God has not determined for things to be this way or that, the thought is that there are no absolutes.
This leads New Age belief into postmodernism. Postmodernism says that everything is relative. Truth is relative to the thinker. Morality is relative to the one performing the action. You’ve probably heard it said that we don’t have the right to call someone else’s beliefs wrong. Most have heard it said that a person should believe what works for them. This takes the pressure of justifying one’s own belief and makes it personal, unfalsifiable, and irrefutable. Of course postmodernism is supposed to be accepted universally.
What is the goal of man in the New Age movement? Since God is all in all is God then man is God. Why doesnt man recognize this? Man is ignorant of the levels of higher consciousness within them. Some call this Christ-consciousness. The goal of man is to attain this higher level of consciousness through yoga, meditation, psychics, tarot cards, fortune-telling, communication with the dead, and even drug use. When the new state of consciousness is achieved then the person can travel on different planes of existence than the physical world we see with our eyes. These are known as astral planes, and astral travel is a very common practice. Also done in this higher state of consciousness is channeling. Channeling is the inviting of spirits to come and indwell you and to give you guidance. This is common among psychics.
To summarize this section, the New Age movement is old Eastern religion, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, that has been given modern rhetoric. It is given the glamour of self help, calming exercises, and feelings of inner peace. For these reasons, along with postmodernism and the release from responsibility, the New Age movement is very enticing in our culture. As one continues in the New Age seduction and explores the depths the spirit realm, following it’s enticement, they are led completely astray. The enemy is out to steal kill and destroy and will use any message he can to start drawing people in.