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BRIEF OVERVIEW OF NEW AGE PRINCIPLES AND TEACHINGS

Written by: Clark, John J. II    Posted on: 04/24/2003

Category: Cults / Sects / Non Christian Religions and Topics

Source: CCN

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF NEW AGE PRINCIPLES AND TEACHINGS

Remember the old story of three blind men feeling an elephant and then describing to another blind man what an elephant is?  Very distressing, however, is the somewhat benign treatment NAM is given by many pastor's, which is often the result when someone does not understand the principles involved and their theological framework. When the shepherd's are ignorant, the sheep are soon deceived.

From a Christian perspective, NAM is not innocuous. It appears from the surface to be a network of people and organizations with interests in helping humanity, improving selfesteem, holistic health, ecology, and peace. While all these things are good, the underlying principles involved should be understood before you are tempted to start buying crystals or going in for a psychic reading.

While the people in NAM disagree over a lot of things, kind of like denominations, yet there some definate points of consensus among "true believers." Some of them are listed below and are universal in nature to true New Agers:

*      Monism  This is a belief that there is only one ultimate       substance or principle, whether mind (idealism), matter       (materialism), or some third thing that is the basis of       both. All reality is a cosmic or organic whole without       independent parts. Thus, there is no such thing as good or       evil (as in a dualistic principle), or that man has two       natures, physical and spiritual. This monistic Ultimate Reality       is neither dead matter or unconscious energy - it's Being,       Awareness and Bliss. It is as like the Hindu conception of God       as an impersonal, infinite consciousness and force.

*      Pantheism - The concept that all that is, is God. Because       man is a part of "all that is," he is also divine. All New       Agers believe that "all is one" - everything that exists       consists of one and the same essence or reality.

*      Man separated from God only in his own consciousness, a       victim of false identity. If all is one and that one is God,       then you must be God also. So why do we not feel like God?       Because we lack a true sense of Self-realization. Fortunately       there are methods of spiritual technology that will help you       become conscious of your true identity as God. We simply       need to enter an Altered State of Consciousness (ASC).

*      So what are ASC's? Mystical consciousness altering experi-       ences that are viewed as doorways to "personal transforma-       tion" - a lifelong growth process marked by increasing       wholeness and personal power.

      *    These ASC's include "channeling," "meditation (a.k.a.             "centering")," "automatism," sensory deprivation,"             "chanting," etc. Relaxation exercises, like "therapeu-             tic body work," mood music with relaxation exercises or             yoga, help to start you down the path to ASC's.       *    Experience and intuition are final authorities and serve             as subjective proof to the reality of any new revela-             tions encountered. One can not have objectivity if one             believes he's in a universe where nothing ultimately             exists but one solitary Self or subject and he is part             of it.

*      Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation.  Karma is an imper-       sonal law in the universe, not the personal judge of the       universe. By the law of karma, whatever a person does, good       or evil, will return to him in its exact proportion in new       incarnations until the bad karma has been balanced by the       good. Basically, this reincarnation concept is a "salvation       by works" approach to sin. It is also a nice way of saying       that "you are the cause of all your own problems." Were you       raped? Sorry, but it was probably your "karma" working       itself out. Brutal, this "karma" stuff.

*      Evolution is a key concept for NAM. It involves the progres-       sive development of the earth to it's present state with the       best yet to come. They have abandoned the original Darwinian       theory for a Neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium (PE).

      *    PE is new paradigm for understanding evolution, pro-             posed in 1972 by paleobiologists Stephen Jay Gould of             Harvard and Niles Eldridge of the American Museum of             Natural History. It suggests that the equilibrium of             life is "punctuated" from time to time by severe             stress. If a small segment of the ancestral population             is isolated at the periphery of its accustomed range,             it may give way to a new species. The population is             stressed intensely because it is living at the edge of             its tolerance. Gould says that a new species arises             suddenly in the geological evidence all at once and fully             formed, instead of gradual evolving. New Agers believe             that we are now in the edge of a new punctuated thrust,             the dawn of conscious evolution into the "Age of Aquari-             us." The earth (Tara or Gaia) is an evolving mind             poised to be thrust into a new era of punctuated             "consciousness". That is, if we don't nuke or pollute             ourselves into extinction before we get there.

*      Spiritualized doctrine of evolution - that personal transfor-       mation leads to planetary transformation and the New Age.       Hence, the evangelistic thrust of the movement.

*      Belief systems are worlds that we create to meet our cultur-       al needs. When these myths are no longer serving the culture       (such as the orthodox Judeo-Christian faith today), they       should be put away for the common good.

*      Values clarification:  Based on the assumptions of each       person having a Higher Self this concept holds that values       emerge from within and therefore should not be imposed from       without. It is a teaching method designed to help students       discover and clarify their own values. It is widely used in       public education under the rationale that it is an appropri-       ate approach to values in a pluralistic society because it       does not seek to impose any particular value system on the       children. There are no absolute truths as values are to be       subjectively determined.

Now, briefly, let's take a look at the direct differences between NAM and Biblical Christianity:

*      Biblical Perspective: Spiritual and personal growth is based       on increased dependence on Christ, conforming to His will as       revealed in the Word (2 Cor. 3:3-6; Jas. 4:13-16; Eph. 3:14-       15).

*      NAM Perspective: Spiritual and personal growth is a trans-       formation from being dependent to one who knows and feels       that he/she is in charge of his/her life.

*      Biblical Perspective: The distinction between Creator and       creation is absolute and permanent and the limited creature       must always depend on, and obey, the all-sufficient, sover-       eign Creator. There must be an increased independence on a       human level, but our relationship with God operates on       increased dependence.

*      NAM Perspective: Distinction between "creator" and creation       is illusionary. One must control one's own life. One must       "take responsibility" and "be accountable" in terms of self.       We have power to create our own reality, but it will be done       for us unless we take "responsibility" for what ever happens       to us (often human-potential-seminar graduates even blame       cancer and rape on the people who suffer from them); Unlim-       ited human potential and the shaping our own future both       individually and collectively

*      Biblical Perspective: We are responsible and accountable to       external authorities, beginning with God and then including       human authorities He has instituted (Rom. 13:1,2).

*      NAM Perspective: Hopes for the future are based on astrology

*      Biblical Perspective: Hopes for future are based on Biblical       prophecy

*      NAM Perspective: If all is One (God), there can be no sin       and death, making the substitutionary death of Christ for       our sins meaningless.

*      NAM Perspective: Jesus was a great man and God, but no more       so than the rest of us. He only realized His Christ potential       to a higher level than most after purging himself of "bad       karma" through many incarnations and is now only one of       several "master" who serve humanity from a higher (albeit,       not the highest) plane.

*      Biblical Perspective: People are being led away from a       sincere and pure devotion to Christ to another Jesus. 2 Cor.       11:3-4, 13-15; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Peter 4:5

*      NAM Perspective: Not all profess affinity with Christianity,       many are openly pagan in nature. Great attraction is given       to the "earth mother" deity. "A spiritual path is valid for       us if it is appropriate to our needs as we ourselves define       them" (emphasis original) by Mark Satin, a NA author.

*      Biblical Perspective: It's a return to the ancient pagan       concept of worshiping the earth, albiet, with an intellectu-       al twist to make it acceptable. 2 Pet. 2:22, (Note: "dog" is       what Jews commonly called Gentiles and here it represents       Gentiles returning to the idolatry of their distant past);       Rom. 1:18, 22-25. Interestingly, NAM devotees are attempting       to save the world by serving the author of its destruction       (John 8:34; 10:10).

New Agers are generally sincere, intelligent, humanitarian and, given their world view, rational and consistant. They are also wrong at their foundation, according to Biblical revelation. Before you hang that crystal around your neck for "good luck" or to "keep evil away," remember the one who put evil under his feet, Jesus Christ the Lord. If your church is so boring that you are tempted to try this stuff, then find a church with life, the life Jesus said the church should have.

                        NEW AGE MOVEMENT DICTONARY

Just as a new Christian is bewildered with the new terminology that he hears, so the terminology of the "New Age Movement" or (NAM). The following definitions will be a helpful tool to acquaint you with these new terms. It is not at all exhaustive, but a beginning point of departure.

Definition of Terms:

Age of Aquarius: A time, deemed imminent, by NAM where mankind and       the world mind will enter a more enlightened astrological age       of advanced spiritual consciousness. For some New Agers it is       little more than a convenient symbol for the anticipated       order, but for others, a firmly help religious belief. It's       basis is not upon Biblical prophecy, but on astrology.

Altered States of Consciousness (ASC): Because New Agers believe       in "pantheism" (see below), they must somehow deal with the       fact that most people do not feel to be one with God. New Agers       explain that man is separated from God only in his own       consciousness. Thus he has a false sense of separate identity       which blinds him to his true unity with God. ASC is the spiritual       technology used to alter the consciousness to obtain "self-       realization" (See below). Techniques for ASC include meditation,       chanting, ecstatic dancing, sensory deprivation, etc.

Aquarian Age: See "Age of Aquarius"

Astrology: A pseudo-science based on the belief that one can       foretell the future by studying the supposed influence of the       relative positions of the moon, sun, and stars on human       affairs.

Automatism: A form of "channeling" (See below) which is a most       clear-cut form of possession by a nonhuman source which       bypasses the mediums' mind and communicates via direct control       of his or her body. Automatic writing, the Ouija board, and       the use of pendulums are all in this category.

Cartesian: An analytic method of reasoning, largely originating       with Rene' Descartes, the seventeenth-century French       philosopher and mathematician. It consists of breaking up       thoughts and problems into pieces and in arranging these in       their logical order. Thus, the whole is equal to the sum of       it's parts. New Agers reject this type of reasoning in favor       of an intuitive awareness of our connection with the whole.       The holistic approach sees the universe as one indivisible,       dynamic whole whose parts are essentially interrelated and can       be understood only as patterns of cosmic process.

Centering: A term used instead of meditation when the later is       considered an unacceptable concept for teaching in the public       schools. When resistance to meditation is encountered they       pushers of New Age methodology will switch terms to get the       same ends. These techniques include yoga, guided imagery,       chanting, mandalas (visual symbols used as aids to meditation,       and fantasy-role-playing games. Many have been led by these       to encounter spirit guides called Wise Ones through these       techniques.

Channeling: A word to describe spiritistic communication in various       forms. The idea is to communicate with beings in distant       dimensions. This is a practice common in pagan religions of       the past and distinct from biblical prophecy and inspiration.       It's modern influx began with the work of medium Jane Roberts       and her entity "Seth." Seth has been trailed by thousands of       new  entities, the most well know are "Ramtha," channeled by       J. Z. Knight, and "Lazaris," channeled by Jach Pursel. The       influence of Actress Shirley MacLaine has given it a lot of       press. (See also clairaudient, light-trance, full-trance,       full-body).

Chanting: A method used to attain a consciousness altering       experience (See "psychotechnologies").

Clairaudient: A form of "channeling" (See above) a message is       believed to be dictated telepathically to and repeated by the       human "amanuensis" or "messenger,"  who remains fully conscious       and in control of his/her faculties.

Cosmic consciousness: A term popularized by a turn-of-the-century       psychiatrist R.M. Bucke to describe the awareness one receives       as a result of "Altered States of Consciousness" (See above).       It is an awareness or consciousness of the nature of the One.       This could be because at the peak of the mystical state about       all that can be experienced is "consciousness." It describes       the mystical state of "transcendence" of individuality and       identification with everything.

Crystals: New Agers place a lot of stock in vibrations. Everything in       the spiritual realm is supposed to operate according to exact       scientific law, so spiritual energy or healing energy is       thought to transmit at definite, very high vibration levels       or frequencies. Aware that crystals serve as good energy       transmitters in electronics (as in watches, radios, computer       chips, lasers, etc.), New Agers assume that they must be good       for transmitting and amplifying other kinds of frequencies as       well. They can attract desirable forces, repel undesirable       forces, help in weight loss, confidence. They can also absorb,       stimulate, amplify and focus every spiritual and healing       force. A NAM form of "good luck charm" with a pseudo-       scientific backing.

Demonic energy: A Christian description of what New Agers would       call psychic energy such as seen in the belief that crystals (see       above) can transmit such energy.

Dissociation: A psychological way of explaining channeling, the       word is used to describe the appearance of a separate       personality during a channeling session in which, in reality,       part of the mind splits off from the whole to take on the       other character.

Dualism: The theory that the world is made up of two basic       entities, as mind and matter. Theologically, it is a doctrine       that there are two mutually antagonistic principles, good and       evil, and, that man has two natures, physical and spiritual.

Earth Mother: A New Age concept of seeing the earth as deity, a       maternal goddess instead of a paternal God.

Ego death: A New Ager term to describe a state of mind where the       individual increasingly becomes identified with God within       rather than the objective person without.

Emergent evolution: The supposed self-organizing force behind the       universe inherently moving toward higher organization, bringing       assorted objects into increasingly complex relationships. It       borrows from G.W.F. Hegel's philosophical concept of       explaining history as a process moving mankind ever forward       by thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

Enlightenment: Coming to an inner understanding the oneness of the       universe through inner consciousness (See Alternate States of       Consciousness, ASC above).

Eschatology: A Christian term to describe the study of end time       events.

Evolution: A basic cornerstone for NAM, it involves the progressive       development of the earth to it's present state with the best       yet to come. They have abandoned the original Darwinian theory       for a Neo-Darwinism and Punctuated Equilibrium (See Below).

Full-trance channeling: A step deeper into channeling than "Light-       trance" (See below) in which the subject has no recall on       resuming normal consciousness. The voice and personalities       usually undergo more noticeable changes than light-trance       channels because they have fully vacated the seat of       consciousness.

Full-body channeling: Also called incarnational channeling, it is       similar to deep-trance channeling, except that instead of       unconsciousness, the channels report experiencing something       like the New Age conception of the death state, in which the       spirit leaves the body and moves toward a distant light. It       is believed that the channels have fully vacated their bodies       and the entities have moved in, which is what gives this type       of channeling its name.

Gaia: (or alternately, "Terra") after the Earth goddess of Greek       and Roman mythology, is the name given to the emerging and       evolving world. (See "global brain").

General Systems Theory (GST): (See also "Holistic"). GST proposes       that there are several natural laws that determine the       functioning of all systems (physical, organic, psychological,       social, and even conceptual). It is believed that an       interdisciplinary study of systems would yield a       mathematically precise, experimentally verifiable description       of these laws. For example: Present day economists tend to       dissociate the economy from the fabric in which it is       embedded, and to describe it in terms of simplistic and highly       unrealistic theoretical models of efficiency, productivity,       GNP. This is to narrow a look to be accurate. One must also       see it in the wider social and ecological context. When GST       is combined with mysticism, the New Ager feels that one can       not look only at the physical world as separate from the other       dimensions. Thus reality is more of a process or energy than       a substance of a "thing."

Global Brain: Humanity is evolving toward a coherent global form       where each person is an important neuron in the emerging       planetary brain constituted by myriad "networking" among       people. The idea that all lives will be translated into some       spiritual form of information that will make the entire globe,       and the human family, a single consciousness. While most New       Agers believe a global brain is forming, they are divided as       to whether the globe itself is now a conscious being or that it       will eventually evolve into one. Where the world consists of       a lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, man is       the new "thinking layer" called the "nooshere" (Gk. nous,       meaning "mind")

God: New Agers tend to see God as more of a pervasive Energy (the       "Force" of Star Wars) than an objective entity; and they       generally identify the world with God. God is seen as a very,       not a noun, proper or improper. (See also "pantheism").

Gnosis: Positive knowledge in spiritual matters claimed to have       been mystically acquired.

Harmonic Convergence: A gathering, in August of 1987, of thousands       of chanting and meditating New Agers to "sacred sites" around       the world to prevent global disaster and bring in the New Age.

Healing energy: (See "Crystals" above).

Higher Self: The word education comes from the Latin word educare, "to       lead out from within." What teachers are now interested in       leading out from within is the expression of the self--the       highest qualities of the individual student's unique soul. God       has been "disposed and sealed" in the illusory identity of the       student and it is the teacher's responsibility to "unbury" or       awaken within each child this sleeping Self (also called "God       within," "Inner" or "Higher Self," "Inner Wisdom," "Infinite       Potential," etc.) It is believed that each student already has       all knowledge and wisdom. He only needs to be taught (through       meditation, etc.) how to tap it. See also Values Clarification.

Hinduism: A pantheistic religious originating in India the serves       as a foundational philosophy for many of the NAM concepts and       ideas about karma, reincarnation and meditation.

Holism: (See "Holistic")

Holistic: In contrast to the Cartesian (See above) approach to       reasoning, the holistic approach sees the universe as one       indivisible, dynamic whole whose parts are essentially       interrelated and can be understood only as patterns of cosmic       process. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Thus       the old Cartesian paradigm is to be done away with in favor       of the new paradigm known as the "systems view" and embodied in       the General Systems Theory (See above). The systems view looks       that the world in terms of relationships and integration.       Instead of concentrating on basic building blocks of basic       substances, this approach emphasizes the basic principles of       organization. Every organism is an integrated whole and thus       a living system. The systems are not confined to individual       organisms and their parts, but also by social systems and eco-       systems. Anything that effects the part also effects the       whole.

Incarnational channeling: (See Full-body channeling)

Inner Wisdom: (See Higher-Self above).

Karma: A ancient Hindu concept of an impersonal law in the       universe, not the personal judge of the universe. By the law       of Karma, whatever a person does, good or evil, will return       to him in its exact proportion in new incarnations until the       bad karma has been balanced by good karma. Basically it is a       salvation by works approach to sin. (See "Reincarnation")

Light-trance channels: A common contemporary "channeling" (See       above) in which the subject does not enter a deep-trance       state, they are only partially conscious when channeling, and       have some memory of the experience afterward. Jon Klimo also       calls it a "temporary cohabitation of the seat of       consciousness."

Mandalas: Visual symbols used as aids to meditation.

Mantra: The name of a Hindu deity that one is to mentally repeat       in order to enter into a meditative state. A TM word drawn       from Hinduism.

Masters, ascended: Those who have broken the Karma cycle and no       longer require being reincarnated. These ascended souls have       achieved their goal and now communicate through channels (see       above) instructions as to how we may do the same.

Maya: A traditional Hindu concept adopted by NAM. The world is       considered maya (illusion) and is thus an obstacle to eternal       bliss. In the enlightened state, all is seen as God (see       pantheism).

Meditation: A mental process whereby one can get in touch with his       or her inner-self (see above). It is used to obtain Self-realization       (see below).

Medium: (See Channeling above).

Metanetwork: A network of networks. One network can exist within       a larger network, which in turn can exist within a still large       one (that is, a metanetwork). See "Network".

Metaphysics: Meaning literally "after-physics", it is the study of       the nature of being or reality that is beyond Aristotle's       concept of physics with dealt with external nature.

Millennium: A Christian term referring to the coming rule of Christ       over earth for 1,000 years.

Mobius: The name of a firm exploring the practical uses of psychic       abilities.

Monism: The doctrine that there is only one ultimate substance of       principle, whether mind (idealism), matter (materialism), or       some third thing that is the basis of both. All reality is a       cosmic or or

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