A NEW AGE OVERVIEW From time immemorial man has grappled with himself and his environment.

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

A NEW AGE OVERVIEW From time immemorial man has grappled with himself and his environment. Deep down, He knows something is amiss: men kill each other, children are maimed in a tornado and people starve to death. Some people have looked to the physical world alone to interpret these events (Secular Humanists, Atheists). Others interpret these same events with a larger frame of reference (Islam, Christians, New Age Movement). They include the possibility, if not the probability, of causes from outside of the physical world. That is, the ultimate reason for a particular event may lie in the realm of "metaphysics," meaning "above-physics". Usually, but not always, groups which adhere to a "metaphysical" or "supernatural" frame of reference not only interpret these horrible events but also suggest a solution which will rid us of them. Most of the time they call for the "transformation" of the individual and/or society. Sometimes they look forward to a time or period of bliss here on Earth. To this extent Christianity and the New Age Movement (NAM) are indistinguishable. That is, they both call for the non-physical transformation of the individual and consequently society to solve our problems. [Perhaps this is one reason why so much New Age thought has infiltrated the Christian community.] Also, they both look forward to an everlasting period of evil-free living. Christians call this the "Kingdom of God." The New Age Movement calls it the "New Age." However, while Biblical Christianity and the New Age Movement do share a common general thesis, 'if each of us would only accept the ultimate non-physical reality into our lives, our individual transformations would transform society as a whole and lead to an eternal, blissful human condition,' it must be underscored that the content of their common thesis could not be further apart. These tremendous differences are contrasted below for easy comparison. NAM: Only one kind of thing exists (Monism) This Eastern concept asserts that the physical universe and the non-physical universe constitute one eternal continuum. That is to say, there is no ultimate distinction between man, God and a potato. They are all reducible to the same reality or substance. Christian: More than one kind of thing exists (Pluralism) In diametric opposition to the New Age concept, the Bible declares God created the universe outside of Himself (Gen. 1). He should never be confused with creation itself. In fact there was a time when God was alone, before creation (Is. 37:16). Not only is there a great distinction between God and creation, there is also a great distinction between parts of His creation, namely man and the rest of creation. Man is eternal, whereas eventually even the sun will burn itself out (Gen. 2:7; Zech. 12:1; Eccl. 12:7). NAM: All is God (Pantheism) Following the necessary consequences of underlying the monism of the New Age Movement, it is argued that everything is God. Also an Eastern concept, this type of pantheism holds that you, I and the lowly potato, being parts of the one reality are all equally parts of God. Therefore, God is an impersonal force. Christian: God is the creator of the universe In sharp contrast to New Age pantheism, Gods word testifies to the fact that there is only one God (Is. 44:6). Furthermore, this one God, outside of creation, is personal, not an impersonal force (John 3:16). Instead of being God, creation is fallen, including man (Rom. 8:22, Job 9:2-3,20,29-31). This accounts for most of the evil in the world. NAM: All religions are in agreement Perhaps it is a public relations move to widen the appeal of the NAM, perhaps it is a real conviction, but frequently in the NAM it is argued that all religions, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc, are all saying the same thing - only in different ways. In this model Jesus is merely a man who attained the "Christ-consciousness," instead of the one Messiah ("Christ") for the entire world. Christian: Exclusive claim to truth The effects of this NAM concept are numerous. First it robs Jesus of his uniqueness. In total contrast, Jesus viewed Himself as entirely unique: "I am the way and the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6). Second, it robs Christianity of its exclusive claim to truth which it has espoused from its inception: "salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Third, it robs the key Biblical idea, "Christ," of its original meaning. While for the NAM "Christ" is redefined as simply a "consciousness" which anyone can/should attain, Biblical Christianity, on the other hand, retains its original meaning, i.e., "Christ" is an office which one and only one person can fulfill (John 4:25-26). To reject this fundamental Biblical concept identifies oneself as "anti-Christ" (I John 2:20-23). Lastly, this NAM concept robs one of logical reasoning. You cannot reconcile Hinduism, which asserts millions of gods, with Christianity, which believes there is only one true God, with some forms of Buddhism, which do not posit any god. NAM: Man is God Within the NAM there are several sub-groups virtually all of which conclude that man is God - but they arrive at this conclusion by different roads. One segment, which is under the in fluence of Eastern religions, argues that since all of reality is one and all of reality is God, therefore, we are God. Another segment, which unabashedly espouses occultism would simply argue that as it is in the supernatural so it is in the natural. Still another segment of the NAM, the self-actualizing psychologies, argue that everything we need, all power, all knowledge, etc., are inside us lying dormant ready to be awakened. While each sub-group of the NAM might follow a different path, they all arrive at the same conclusion, namely, man is God. Christian: Man is a creature Against the NAM, the Bible clearly states many times that man is "created" (Gen. 1:26; Is. 17:7; Heb. 2:7). Gods word records the origin of the New Age promise that man may become God. Satan himself tempted Adam and Eve with the very same promise: "ye shall be as God" (Gen. 3:1-6). In reality, the promise of the New Age is the very cause of our fall in the first place! NAM: Transformation via altered states of consciousness If we are all God, then why are there wars, sickness and death? Simple, reply the proponents of New Age philosophy. We have merely forgotten that we are God. We only need to "remember," "recognize" or "realize" that we are God through a personal "transformation." Here is where the political divergence of the NAM comes to the fore. Virtually every sub-group in the NAM has a different method for this transformation. For instance, it may be induced through an Eastern mystical experience (Self-realization Fellowship, TM, yoga), contact with UFOs (Aetherius Society), parapsychological experiences (ESP, precognition, self-hypnosis), Occultic practices (clairvoyance, mediumship, seances) or human potential seminars (EST, Lifespring, Silva Mind Control). The common thread drawn through each of these transformation experiences is the direction you look - namely, within. In each and every case the individual is the source for the transformation experience into God. Christian: Born from above While Biblical Christianity also calls for the personal transformation of the individual, it is quite different from any of the NAM techniques. Jesus described the Biblical transformation as being "born from above" (John 3:3,7). The Biblical new birth takes place when we, as individuals, accept Jesus into our hearts (John 3:16) beginning a personal relationship (Rev. 3:20) and give Him control of our life (Luke 14:25-33). Please note that while the NAM techniques point within, Biblical transformation points outside ourselves to Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith (Psalm 100, Heb. 12:2). NAM: One-World government (Man as king) By means of the the various NAM individual transformation techniques, the New Age Movement preaches that a "New Age" will be ushered in. That is to say, a "New World Order," or a new world-wide political structure will commence. All current political structures, United Nations, individual countries and political parties will all collapse before the new world transformation. Like the individual transformations, there are several different models of this New World Order within the NAM. Some believe that the countries of the world will unite under one hierarchical, centrally controlled, president. Others believe that the hierarchy will consummate with the appearance of "the Christ." Still others believe the new world order will be decentralized, with each individual connected to every other individual through a computer/communications network. Christian: One-World government (Jesus as king) Far different from the NAM world transformation model, the Biblical view clearly sees the return of Jesus as the beginning of the New World Order, New Age, or realized "Kingdom of God" (Matt. 26:64). Currently the "Kingdom of God" is with us only in the sense that it is inside us (Luke 17:21) or we are members of it behind enemy lines (John 18:36, II Cor. 10:3). However, when Jesus Christ returns (a very different one than the NAM Christ) He will rule with justice and mercy forever (Is. 2:2, 9:7; Matt. 16:27; Rev. 11:15, Rev. 20-22).

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank