New Age beliefs: a Christian response
The New Age movement runs very deep in our culture. It is bringing the West a form of eastern mysticism. It is probably the predominant world view among those people that say they want to be spiritual but not religious (as if the spiritual doesn’t have behavioral implications).
It is touching Christian churches also. The Emergent Church movement seems to be compromising with postmodernism. The name it and claim it churches act as if our words can alter reality. And a whole wash of people inside Christian churches believe in tuning in to their inner consciousness, as if ultimate goodness was found inside of us. They believe in dreaming big, but not submitting their dreams to the will of God. They believe in speaking positive things over their life, but lack time on their faces in prayer. They run the danger of basing truth on what is experienced rather than on the Word of God.
The first area of New Age believe that I will tackle is the area of truth in postmodernism and relativism. Second Timothy 4:4 says that people will turn away from the truth because of their itching ears. I suppose there’s no more effective way to turn away from truth then to say that there is no truth. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the truth (John 14:6)and that all the words of God are Truth (John 17:17). Truth is absolute and unchanging because God is absolute and unchanging.
There are all kinds of philosophical problems with post modernism and relativism also. If truth was always changing, then it would be a constant truth that it’s always changing. The only way for truth be consistent and logical is if it is absolute and unchanging. People try to push their belief on me that truth is relative. But if it’s relative, then I don’t have to accept that is relative, and I am just as correct. The only way they can get away with making such a statement is if the truth is absolute. If truth is not absolute, it would be an absolute truth that it isn’t absolute. If we can’t at least follow the basic laws of logic, then our conversation can go nowhere. Postmodernism and relativism are completely unlivable.
The next topic I want to cover is the New Age believe about the nature of God. They believe God to be pantheistic, and the universe to be uncreated. At least they are consistent with this one, but science and logic fly in the face of this also. Science clearly demonstrates the universe has a beginning. Logic demonstrates that the universe, as the sequence of events, must have a beginning. You can read the cosmological argument blog for a more in depth look at this. It gives the reason for a monotheistic God based on the start of the universe. It is impossible that a god that is the universe also be the cause for the universe. The cause cannot also be the effect.
The Bible plainly teaches against pantheism. Genesis 1:1 puts God as a separate entity from the universe. While a pantheistic god requires that things exist for its existence, Colossians 1:17 says that God (Jesus) is before all things. God is the necessary creative power to cause universe. The Bible continually calls God holy. What does this mean? Holy means set apart. God cannot allow unholiness in his presence. God is also described as perfect. This means that evil can happen and God can still remain pure. A pantheistic God cannot be Holy and pure while evil is taking place, because its taking place within the deity itself.
The New Age God is impersonal, more like a force of nature. Clearly, the Bible teaches God as being personal. He has thoughts and intentions, He has will and emotions, He has love and compassion. Since God possesses personhood necessarily and limitlessly, He is able to give personhood to other beings. How would an impersonal God give rise to personal beings? Can God create something he does not first possess? Can he grant anything without will and intentions? If God is impersonal, what is the point of persons being in tune with such a god? God would not care whether you were in tune with (it?) or not, because the New Age god has no feelings or emotions. With this idea of God being a type of resonating force, why call it God? Why not refer to it as some law that coexists with the universe like atomic forces? The title “God” belongs to a deity that acts and works intentionally.
The New Age movement considers man to be good. Actually, this is an understatement, they consider man to be the highest form of being. Man is able to attain the same level of Christ-consciousness and Jesus himself. Man can be God to themselves. The Bible says that the heart is desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). In Romans 3 it teaches that man is not good. It teaches that we all fall short. It teaches that we do not naturally seek after God.
The New Age movement teaches that we are the solution to our own problem of ignorance. We are ignorant of the different levels of consciousness, even Christ-consciousness, that we can achieve. We can achieve these levels of consciousness through meditation, calling on strange spirits, and welcoming them in.
The Bible shows us that Jesus is the unique Son of God, the only begotten, the first born over all creation, the one mediator between God and man, and the only way to know God. The Bible teaches us to meditate on the Word of God, not on our self-consciousness. It teaches to rely on one spirit, the Holy Spirit, which testifies of Jesus and glorifies Him. We are not to simply be empty, but be filled with the Spirit of God- not welcoming any other spirit. The Bible warns us about the strange spirits in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 and 1 Timothy 4:1. The spirits that come through channelling and communicate through New Age practices are nothing more than demons and demon possession.
Reincarnation: about 25 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation. That means a good chunk of Christians accept reincarnation. If the US is 85 percent Christian of some sort, and not all non-Christians except reincarnation, then somewhere between 10 and 20 percent American Christians accept reincarnation. Have they not read Hebrews 9:27? It says ” it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment”. Not sure why the belief in reincarnation would have gotten started, but I suspect it might have something to do with a person’s dissatisfaction with their modern life.
Universalism: universalism is the teaching that everybody will be saved. They might say that there are many paths up the same mountain. I would compare it more to an airplane pilot setting his coordinates and trajectory to land on a specific landing strip. What is needed is narrow, truthful, and absolute. In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says that the path that leads to destruction is broad, and that many people find it. He says the path that leads to eternal life is narrow, and few find it. Later, in John 14:6, he says that he is the only way.
We can see that there are plenty of contradictions between Christianity and the New Age movement. We Christians need to be a discerning people, taking every thought captive and submitting it to the obedience of Christ. I know there are a lot of Christians that are not exercising discernment like they should. I hope some of them are waking up as they read this. I hope and pray that they learn to block out deceptions that try to lead them astray. We need to know what the final authority, the Word of God, says in order to filter out lies. We also need to exercise accurate thinking.