Though it appears the New Age Movement appeals to many people, experts cannot agree as to how pervasive it really is. Some, however, claim that it is present in every form of mass communication – even in children’s cartoons with their emphasis on magic and “spirit guides.”
The following is the first of two articles explaining the movement and its fundamental incompatibility with Christianity.
The New Age movement should be of concern to readers of The Interim. It undermines family values. If the god you worship is within you – as the New Age spirituality maintains – then there are no revealed norms of morality to which families need assent, and there is certainly no reason to believe that things like contraception and abortion are evils.
The New Age Movement that we hear talked about so much today is a very deceptive one. It uses Christian and scientific terminology and its initiates may call themselves Christian, but its message is anything but. Many are lured into thinking that the title “New Age” is synonymous with the New Age of Christianity that dawned with the coming of Christ. This is not so.
The New Age Movement is a worldwide coalition of literally thousands of networking organizations and individuals, bound together by common spiritual experiences. Its purpose is to bring about a new world order consisting of a one-world government under a one-world religion. This religion envisages the coming of the last and greatest “Christ” – or Avatar – called Lord Maitreya, who will fulfill the prophetic requirements of all religions for a savior, prophet or teacher.
New Agers claim that Lord Maitreya will solve all the environmental, religious, social, racial and economic problems in the world, leading us out of the so-called Picean age of ignorance into the Aquarian age of enlightenment. He will accomplish this by teaching us how to save ourselves. Sound like a big order? It’s no problem, because the “leader” of the movement, Lucifer (the fallen angel of the Old Testament), will have complete control over Lord Maitreya, literally possessing him.
The ancient pagan pantheistic belief in the power of “Crystals” and “Metals,” as seen for example in witch-craft, comprises part of the movement. Another important role is assigned to following the horoscope calendar. The ultimate purpose is the establishment of the “divine self” as God. The “divine self,” or power of the mind over matter and circumstances, is emphasized in Silva Mind Control, E.S.T. (Erhard Sensitivity Training) – also known under its new name “The Forum”, “Achieving Your Full Potential,” T.M. (Transcendental Meditation) and Lifespring.
Other components of the New Age Movement are guru-led cults such as the Ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. But there are many others. They include the Unity School of Practical Christianity, Unification Church, The Church Universal and Triumphant of Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Inner Healing Groups, “Christian Healing” groups, “contemplative” prayer groups using T.M., and Centering Prayer Groups using a form of self-hypnosis and relaxation exercises.
There are other supporting organizations which have adopted New Age methods and a New Age mentality. Among them are some ecological and environmental groups. For example, the Friends of The Earth support limiting the world population – by abortion if necessary.
New Age finds fertile ground among esoteric philosophy groups such as Rosicrucians, the Society of Emissaries, the Lucis Trust and Intentional Communities such as the Findhorn Foundation in northern Scotland.
New Agers believe that at the time of the cataclysmic destruction of the mythical continent of Atlantis, the “White Lodge” of “Ascended Masters” withdrew from the earth and left the planet temporarily in control of the “Black Lodge.” They teach that the “Black Lodge” is the source of the Judeo- Christian tradition and the “White Lodge” is the source of their own doctrine.
In 1875, Perrovna Blavatsky, a Russian princess, founded what is today a worldwide organization, the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky linked the old mystery teachings of gods and goddesses to her philosophy that human beings can create their own divinity.
In her books, Isis Unveiled and Secret Doctrine, Blavatsky refers continually to the mythical continent of Atlantis, and to the restoration of a “plan,” to establish a new world order with Lucifer at its head.
Another New Age leader, Alice A. Bailey, wrote twenty-four volumes of esoteric spiritualism, channeled through her, she claimed, by her Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul. Her works are followed slavishly by committed initiates of the New Age movement.
Bailey also refers to a “plan,” and the evolution of a new world order. In her book The Initiations: Human and Solar, she also describes Atlantis as an ancient, mythical world. In her book The Externalization of the Hierarchy, she claims that Lucifer is the over soul of “the great collective consciousness of mankind.”
For our own day one of the current prominent leaders in the New Age Movement is David Spangler, who lives in northern Scotland at Findhorn, a spiritualist community. In his book Reflections on the Christ, Spangler states that “Lucifer works with each one of us, to bring us to wholeness, as we move into the New Age.” In another book, Discipleship in the New Age, he asserts that “It is necessary to take a `Luciferian Initiation’ if one is to enter the New Age alive.”
Other New Age `authorities’ also emphasize the purported role of Lucifer in mankind’s future. New Age futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, in The Book of Co-Creation – an evolutionary re-interpretation of the New Testament – casts Lucifer as a holy and good personality. Similarly, New Age leader Elizabeth Clare Prophet uses Catholic terms to preach Satanism in her book, My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord. She borrows ideas drawn from the medieval pseudo-mystic Meister Eckhart, and concludes that we can all be `mothers of God.’
Uninitiated adherents of New Age spiritualism are not told of the “plan,” but, nevertheless, are encouraged to reach their `divine potential.’ A distinction should be made between the Christian belief that persons can, by God’s grace, become partakers of the divine nature and the spurious New Age doctrine that we ourselves are divine.
Christianity teaches that through Baptism, we share in the divinity of Christ. We share in Christ’s divinity by dying with Him to sin and rising with Him to eternal life. But we are not gods. We are creatures, willed into being by the creative love of God. New Age spiritualism, however, maintains that each person is divine from the beginning. A `divine’ human being makes his own good and evil. Thus, persons redeem themselves by their own efforts.
The New Age movement has little sympathy for the `primitive’ faith of Christians. Redemption from sin, eternal life, the Church, Judgement, the resurrection of the dead, heaven and hell – all these Christian doctrines the New Age movement either re-interprets out of all recognition or dismisses entirely.
For a New Ager, the only `sin’ is failing to realize one’s full divine potential.
Transcendence and immanence
The Christian faith teaches God is transcendent, above his creation, all-powerful and all-loving. Although New Age also speaks of God’s transcendence, they mean that He is His own creation, dispersing Himself throughout the expanding universe, and becoming every living and non-living thing.
The Christian and New Age teaching-on the immanence of God also differ. Where Christians believe that God comes to live in us if we believe in Him and are reconciled to Him, New Age holds that man has all the attributes of the godhead within himself, including the power to create, but hasn’t yet realized it.
Michelle Fleming is a freelance writer living in Willowdale, Ontario.